Isn’t it awesome when you nab a top for under $10 at the mall or get like, $1.75 leggings from your fave online website? Well, "The True Cost,” a documentary is exposing how textile workers and the environment pay the price for our quick, practically disposable clothing purchases, hopes to change our fast-fashion bargain mentality. With little changing in the industry after the Rana Plaza factory collapse and subsequent worker safety and environmental disasters, the film challenges us as consumers to set fashion on a new, sustainable, and safe path.
Director Andrew Morgan’s dramatic footage, cutting from stylized runways to horribly rundown factories and scenes of environmental waste is truly difficult to watch. But he’s not out to shame us into not buying clothes. Morgan simply wants to highlight the abstract price we pay beyond our wallets with “the cycle of mass production, consumption and disposal" that many successful fast fashion companies are grounded upon.
The film reveals how every single fast-fashion purchase we make enables the unsustainable structure to maintain dominance just a little bit longer. Stella McCartney points out how “consumers have to know that they're in charge … If you don't like it, you don't have to buy into it." Those words are going to make me think twice next time I reach for a handful of discount tank tops that won’t even last three weeks.
“The True Cost” hits theaters in select cities this Friday, and will be showing all week long in New York and Los Angeles. Morgan hopes we “take a step back from this incessant process of consuming mediocre stuff” after leaving the film, and “go back to a place where we invest in pieces of clothing that we love, that we're going to wear, that we're going to hold on to." So next time your shirt costs the same amount as a pack of bubble gum, think about the cost beyond the price tag.
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