A couple of months ago, I met an incredibly inspiring woman who co-founded a platform to collate organic, eco-friendly, and ethically-produced fashion, beauty and homeware products. During the interview I conducted with her, she mentioned having seen The True Cost Movie, which was what gave her the push to live a more sustainable life and create a company that could make a change.
Directed by Andrew Morgan, The True Cost Movie was actually released in 2015 but for some reason didn´t make it onto my radar at the time. However, I recently discovered it on Netflix and due to the recommendation, I decided to give it a watch. Focussing on the fashion industry, it explores all aspects of production, from farming in Asia to mass consumption in the West. It’s become quantity over quality and we don’t realise the true cost of this. Along with the psychological effects our consumerism tendencies and shopping culture have on us, the impact it has on the outsourced workers as well as the environment is brought under scrutiny in the documentary.
The truth is absolutely catastrophic.
Facts & Figures
After the oil industry, the fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world.
Over 250,000 cotton farmers in India have committed suicide within the last 18 years due to pressure from Western producers. This is the largest wave of recorded suicides in history.
More than 50 million litres of toxic water contaminated with heavy chemicals and dye from factories pollute the Kanpur river in India every day.
In the Bangladeshi Rana Plaza workhouse collapse in 2013, roughly 4000 workers were killed and injured, and this is only one of many lethal incidents in the poorly maintained factories.
Around 80 children in every village in the Punjab region (the largest user of pesticides and fertilisers on cotton farms in India) are riddled with birth defects, diseases and disabilites.
And somehow, influential leaders at the head of the fashion industry obnoxiously justify inhumane working conditions by saying “it´s better than other options available for them like working in the coal mines”, or naively saying “sewing isn´t dangerous”. One would think that disasters such as the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 would shake people up a bit, but companies concerned only about profits are still putting more pressure on the workhouses and workers every day.
And what is the reason for all of this pressure? – To keep up with the demands of the fast-fashion, greedy consumerism of our society in the Western world.
Watching this documentary was a harrowing experience. It is crucial that more people become aware of how severe the situation is and alter their shopping habits, so I implore you to watch it too.
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