The documentary by Director Andrew Morgan called The True Cost depicts a problem that extends itself into corporations, their supply chain, factory workers (in 3rd world countries) and us (the consumers). It’s all about clothes, clothes and more clothes. Who makes them? What is the story behind them and what is the price we are actually paying when we purchase a $5 t-shirt.
I had the opportunity to see a screening of this film at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio (hosted by Reelworld Films), where we were introduced to the panel group: Andrew Morgan (Director), Kate Black (Author of Magnifeco) and Tasha Lewis (Assistant Prof at Cornell University for Fashion Design Management). We were told that those who are featured in the film chose to speak EVEN IF it meant their life is now in danger. That statement alone says a lot.
Some key notes I took from the film:
- We used to live (1960s) in a world where 95% of our clothing were made here. This is no longer the case.
- Fast fashion has been redefined. Much like the fashion industry has. It used to be 4 seasons but now has alluded to 52 seasons (new items coming out every week of the year!)
- Marketing is a form of corruption, which makes you feel that the solution to all problems is to feel the need to buy something (consumerism).
- In the Youtube world, the new generation of teens are showcasing a “Shop Haul” craze. Search it in Youtube and you will find 1.25 million videos on teens going on about all the latest items they have bought (and how much they adore it or just “had to” buy it. It’s insane and alarming!
- There once was a difference between things that you use vs. the things that you use up. In the fast fashion world now, we have been brainwashed to act as everything is something that can be easily tossed away/”used up”
- Our economy is based off of consuming. We can’t stop consuming or it crashes. What can we do? We can make right choices and choose/demand what we want.
- Who pays the price? The workers do. Halfway around the world and so far removed from our own bubble. We don’t see how they struggle to have a living wage, difficulties in raising their families (let alone seeing their own children) and the conditions in which they have to work in (with extra long hours). In the film, you see their story. I don’t think they would appreciate ours very much.
Andrew Morgan is a very optimistic individual. It’s a refreshing change. He kept re-iterating it is not a “blame and shame game”. We do all have a role to play. I found that most people do like to point fingers. Most people feel helpless. Some have the mindset of being more ethical but their wallets say otherwise. It is a very complicated situation. We are trying to ignite multiple catalysts of change in different areas and have failed to fully unite but as Andrew had mentioned we have to “focus more on the players than the system”. The system is hard to change without the right people in it or the influence of the audience members.
One key thing to note from my end…we cannot simply target corporations. There are parts of the supply chain most of us cannot understand – the complexity behind it where even key players can be blind sighted by deception. We all have a role to play. The government does too. Educate yourself properly. At the same time stop being controlled by the “need” or “want” to buy clothing without understanding the story behind it first. Keep asking yourself…who is actually paying the price for it? If we don’t fix it soon, it will come to bite us back one day and it will be too late by then. #filmswithimpact #whomademyclothes #truecost
We were robbed of fashion. We lost what it really means. – Andrew Morgan
To Ponder On: Watch the film (available online for $3.99 or on Netflix!). Many thoughts come out of it in the end.
Photo Source: Sustainable Brands