We all love a bargain, but behind that five dollar steal, there are a lot of people paying the true, and painful, cost.
I don’t think it’s terribly surprising for anyone to admit that they love a 70% off sale. It always feels great when you’ve just got a jacket, shoes, and a new pair of jeans for the full price of just one of those items. However, this obsession with ‘getting the look’ for less is the driving force behind a terrifying industry.
This season’s look is shades and neutrals (eg. grey, black, navy and white), but not so long ago it was geometric neon shapes and things that look like highlighter squiggles – I don’t need to be a stylist to know the drastic difference between those two. So as our wardrobes change rapidly throughout the year, we buy more and more clothes and outfits are thrown out. Clothing prices are pushed down as brands fight to fill our new wardrobe space and the people who lose pay are not the retailers, they’re the manufacturers and producers who cannot afford to accept anything else. This whole devastating process is called ‘fast fashion’.
‘The True Cost’, a film about fast fashion and the clothing industry, has recently been released. It will break your heart, challenge you, and inspire you to change the world. This post is really just an encouragement for you to go and see it. You can check it out online at http://truecostmovie.com/ and purchase it for $10 to show it in your workplace, school, university – anything. This movie is about helping the world understand the story behind your clothing and making a difference to the people who work so hard to really put together your favourite outfit.
Fashion Revolution, a movement started around the world in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, has been showing the film and getting people to ask the question of their favourite brands: ‘Who made my clothes?’ No one really wants to wear clothes made by children in a sweatshop, or cotton that cost the farmer his life with cancer from the pesticides. ‘The True Cost’ and the question ‘Who made my clothes?’ is about uncovering the relationships, people, movements and costs in our everyday wear.
The beautiful thing about fair trade is, you don’t have to do the digging. Whenever you buy fair trade you know there is a positive story to tell, it will be easily accessible and there will be no exploitative practices. That’s why we love fair trade, and hopefully, that’s why you love it too. If you want to understand the world we wear and live in, watch the movie, do some research, and you choose the true cost of your next pair of shoes.