*I’m not a professional film reviewer. This is my first one actually, and my goal of this blog entry is really to inform you about this film and encourage you to go watch it and form your own opinion. I will tell you my thoughts on it, but I’d love to open up this topic for a broader conversation so that we can all continue to learn and grow.*
The True Cost, is a documentary film about the fashion industry that exists today. It’s about where our clothes come from, who makes them and how their lives are affected by it. For better or for worse. And much more. Can you answer all those questions just by picking up a t-shirt in the store? My guess it probably not. I connected with this film on a personal level because of my passion for the art of making clothing as well as my background in the industry. I’ll tell you a little but about the film and the feelings it stirred up.
The True Cost, directed by Andrew Morgan, was released in 2015. I believe this topic is just as relevant today as it was 4 years ago, if not more important. I also believe it was a very well made and informative movie. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would give it a 9.
While researching for my last blog post, Defining Ethical Fashion and It’s Importance, I stumbled across this film and put it on my “to watch” list. Then a few days later in a mastermind group, my friend Crystal mentioned she started watching it. She made it about halfway through before she had to stop, because the content was so intense and moving. I started watching it with my boyfriend, Myles who has no background in the fashion industry and probably doesn't care that much, but he was a good sport to sit through it! We too, made it about halfway before hitting pause.
After seeing inside the factories oversees and the conditions they have to work in, I felt physically nauseous. The images of the Rana Plaza collapsing on April 24th 2013, killing more than 1,100 people and injuring thousands more, are imprinted in my mind. Children crying out for their parents lost in the rubble, walls of “Missing” people who will never return home all because of the desire for profit. That day money was valued over people’s lives. Writing that sentence just sent chills down my spine and I don’t know how it’s possible to go on knowing this is happening every day.
I like how the movie dove into every aspect of the process. Because there are steps within manufacturing that unless your working in the industry, you may not even consider or know about. Like how the cotton is grown, who the farmers are affect, how their families are affected. How is the planet affected? The water, the land, the air, the animals, etc. Where do the seeds come from? How is it cultivated, cleaned and woven? What is used to dye the fabric? How do those chemical affect us?
There are so many different layers to think about and while the idea of trying to improve upon the process may seem overwhelming, I know its possible.
What I liked most about this movie was that it made everything very easy to understand. I asked Myles his opinion of it, because I wanted to see how it was interpreted through the eyes of someone not involved in the industry. He was shocked by the small things like the pesticides that the cotton field are treated with. Those chemicals going straight onto our bodies. The overall tone of the movie felt like it meant to illustrate and educate. The interviews with factory owners, workers and former-workers described the reality of their everyday lives. Lives that the average American couldn’t even imagine living. There are many different sides to take on this issue and I felt like this movie did a good job of not taking any side, but instead laying all the facts out on the table for you to see.
I’ve worked in the fashion industry for almost a decade now. It is a very mysterious thing and many of the major brands/retailers don’t want you to know the process. Where your clothes are coming from, how they are being made or by whom. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but if I had to guess, I’d say it has something to do with money Because at the end of the day fashion is a business and business is all about money.
My call to action for this blog post is very clear. Go watch The True Cost and let me know your opinion. Comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about how you can help/join the fashion revolution, visit www.fashionrevolution.org