The True Cost: A Fashion Documentary Behind Manufacturing--
While many see fashion and the industry at large to be frivolous and superficial, it's actually a billion-dollar market with many very serious issues. Garment production is one of the most serious--especially when it comes to the working conditions employees are subject to.
The fast-fashion niche, you know--the likes of Forever 21, H&M, Zara, etc.--have created their own place in the industry. This segment has many positives, particularly for young shoppers, shoppers on a budget, and anyone needing something trendy in a hurry. However, negatives have come along with this market, too. They've been on the receiving end of lawsuits for infringement on high fashion/designer styles, discriminatory hiring practices, and the labor conditions of their factories. Fast-fashion is all about filling the racks in a hurry. Someone has to make those garments--often under harsh conditions.
Things have changed drastically over the last few decades. In the 1960s, 95% of American attire was made right here in the states. Now, that number is flipped to about 97% produced overseas.
Executive Producer Livia Firth of The True Cost, a documentary digging deep into a number of these issues, noted at the NY screening "We are sold this myth that to buy a dress for under $10 is democratic--but it's democratic for who? We discard faster and faster, and that is how the consumer becomes poorer and poorer. 2 of the 10 richest men in the world are the owners of Zara and H&M. I think it says a lot about how they make their money."
Her film delves into the realities of factory workers in places like Bangladesh and Columbia. It puts a face behind the garments so many throw on and throw away. Stepping far behind the scenes of your favorite mall stop, you'll see a story behind every thread, of people who can't afford what they make, and what they endure during production.
Check the trailer. This is a must-see.
The True Cost is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, DVD, and Blu-ray.
For more on labor issues in fashion, click here.