Conscious clothing consumers know about the human rights issues that fast fashion poses—those cheap, trendy t-shirts everyone cops at retail chains were most likely made by mostly-women garment workers doing their jobs in terrible conditions for astonishingly little pay. The fires and building collapse at factories in Bangladesh raised the profile of the inhumanity of fast fashion, but I haven’t seen anything as devastating and stark as the footage used in the trailer for The True Cost, a new documentary about just that: the true cost of unethically affordable clothing in a world where globalization has made the economic gap untenable and unsustainable.
In the clip, images of women working in factories are juxtaposed with shots of lavishly dressed street style stars, being snapped at fashion week in the clothing that was presumably at some point produced by their more impoverished counterparts. The film, made by Andrew Morgan, came about when he discovered the working conditions via the New York Times; as he describes in this video, “There are hands, physical human hands that touch the things that we wear, and those hands are lives, and they matter... when we buy something, it is a moral act, and there are a chain reaction of consequences, so let’s begin to be more mindful and choose things that support life, not take it away.”
The True Cost is out in theaters, VOD, DVD and Blu-Ray on Friday, May 29.
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