**This post was written April 2015 but for some reason it was sitting in my drafts. Forgive me for the lack of images, but I think that this is a post important to read through**
A Youtube fashion/beauty guru recommended this documentary to her viewers and I was curious to find out what the hulabaloo was about. The True Cost is a documentary directed by Andrew Morgan, a filmmaker and visual storyteller who wanted to expose the “true cost” of the fashion industry, namely fast fashion. If you aren’t aware/familiar with the term fast fashion, it simply means fashion that you can buy cheaply and in huge amounts. The film explores the inevitable consequences of producing mass amounts of cheap clothing from the likes of huge fashion retailers like Forever 21 and H&M. In order to keep up with seasons and the high demand of consumers across Western nations, they outsource workers from 3rd world countries such as Dhaka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and of course, China.
The film touched upon many things that concerned me deeply. However, the issue that unsettled me the most is the nature of capitalism, which breeds heavy consumerism, and how that directly affects people and valuable lives overseas. As a human, it is easy to desensitize human life when you want something, or when you don’t have a pair of eyes to look deeply into and empathize with. When I saw the tragedy that occurred in Bangladesh (1,100 people killed in a building collapse at a garment factory), I was hurt. When I saw a baby sleeping next to her mother, right under unsafe tools and conditions, I was pained. These people are forced to work in these conditions because nothing else is an option. I won’t go into too much of the details of the documentary or the whole issue because if you really care about this, then you can go and do the research yourself. I, however, will share my thoughts on this matter.
I am guilty. I have a closet filled with fast fashion items and have gone back many times to these stores despite the fact that their products are cheaply made and never last. When Forever 21 has a glitzy new banner on their website, or when H&M flashes their huge red sale signs around the end of a season, the Pavlov conditioning that social media and advertisements have ingrained into my mind, thrusts into full work mode. It’s shameful, really. The film made a comment about how consumption of materials is prevalent among a society that is trying to feel like they are loved, that they matter, that they are important. In essence, you buy and accumulate stuff so that you can feel better, prettier, and more worthy of other people’s attention. But I should know better. I am a follower of Jesus and I know full well that even if I didn’t own one shred of clothing other than what is on my back, I am priceless and loved unconditionally by my Creator. More importantly, having someone be crushed under a building just to fulfill my selfish need of wanting to look “chic” or “cute” for a photoshoot is absolutely preposterous and I don’t see Jesus in that situation at all. Therefore, I shall remove myself from it.
Human life needs to be valued more. If I am for social justice, and the #blacklivesmatter movement where I advocate for the value of each person deserving a fair and justice filled life, then I need to rise up above the hypocrisy of wearing an unethically made top while screaming black lives matter. So I officially declare myself off of all fast fashion retailers. That is a call for me. Of course, I understand that not everyone shares my sentiments and sees it as stark hypocrisy, and I also understand that boycotting and changing bad habits that a society has taught you is hard to do, and it takes a lot of time. So this post isn’t to condemn those that still wear the collections of fast fashion retailers. Trust me, it’s hard to resist when you’re walking down 3rd Street Promenade.
As for me, helloooooo thrifting.
P.S. If anyone has any advice on how to go about this journey of supporting fair trade clothing please comment below or email me. I would love to hear your story and take some advice.
P.S.S. The documentary is also on Netflix
P.S.S.S. Future posts will feature certain pieces from fast fashion retailers, but these are purchases made prior to me viewing the film. From here on out the transition begins.