“The True Cost” is a documentary that examines the impact fashion has on people and the planet. A friend recommended I watch it. I really enjoy documentaries that expose the hidden side of industry. I expected a barrage of interesting facts and an in depth look into the fashion process. I did not prepare myself for the onslaught of tears and anger I felt.
It’s a very powerful film, but something you should ABSOLUTELY watch. You can rent or buy it here. It’s difficult seeing what you’ve created; what we’ve created; what I’ve created. Every time we buy one of these products we’re basically condoning slave labor. We’re condoning gross profits by greedy CEOs. Our nation has become so obsessed with profit that we don’t care what we destroy, whether it be human life or the planet. Profit is good, but you can't sacrifice human life and destroy the planet in the process. You can make a profit ethically. Fashion has no regard for human life or the planet. It is the second most polluting industry in the world, closely behind oil.
People are suffering and dying in every chain of the process. Monsanto sells GMO cotton seeds to poor farmers. They go into debt. As they try to pay it back, they’re forced to buy new patented seeds and pesticides each year causing them to go deeper and deeper in debt. The suicide rate is the highest in the world. The dirt has become so full of pesticides and chemicals the cotton plants can’t grow. The pesticides have even effected the population. 80% of the babies in the region are born with severe physical and mental disabilities. Most families don’t have the money to treat them.
The cotton is laced with pesticides and chemicals, then it goes through a larger chemical process to turn it into cheap fabric. The fabric is then sewn by slave labor in hot, unventilated warehouses causing fires, sickness, and even death. The left over fabric is discarded to sit in landfill waste forever. Poison from the fabric drips down after a rain. It’s contaminating drinking water, the ocean, and the ground. It is making large areas inhabitable. Unsurprisingly, no one in the corporate world cares. Their only concern is more profit. The fashion industry is worth more than 2.5 trillion dollars.
I assumed culprits were low end quality stores like H&M and Forever 21. But, no. It’s high end designers too… like my favorite designer – Lacoste. Finding this out has been devastating. I will never, ever buy anything Lacoste ever again.
I buy mostly second hand. But if I have to buy new, I vow to only shop sustainable. Here’s a list of some awesome sustainable brands. You should check around your town too. You probably have some super hip stores beyond just Goodwill. We have some super cool ones in my area, that I can’t wait to hit up!
We can solve this problem with awareness and by living our values. I’m sure no one wants to buy their clothes paid for in blood. We can make the change. We can call for change. If we stop buying their products and start buying sustainable products they’ll get the message. We’re essentially voting with our money. And, that’s the most valuable vote in the world.
Vote with your dollars - Vote for change