Saturday, September 12, 2015

Review of the True Cost Movie

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
A couple of months ago I saw the True Cost movie. It's more of a documentary about the impacts of the fast fashion industry. Stop reading if you haven't seen it yet - this post contains spoilers.

True Cost movie - review
Photo courtesy of True Cost

On a daily basis my sister works with chic fashion, and trust me, we've had many debates about consumerism. Conscious consumerism. The first thing my sister said when she saw the True Cost movie today, was that it was "disturbing". I immediately knew that the movie had triggered questions in her head. 

And that's exactly what the documentary shows: the disturbing effects of our consumerism and the fast fashion industry. 
Ask the question: who made your clothes?
Ask the question: who made your clothes?

Some of the things that hit me most was:
  1. the social and environmental effects of our consumerism and 
  2. the fact that most of the clothing we donate to thrift stores, isn't sellable in thrift stores. Instead, unsellable clothing is exported to developing countries like Haiti and sub-Saharan Africa, affecting the local production in these countries. 

If you want some hard facts to go with this, check out:

You maybe think: Great! It's good that poor people can use my old clothing! And you can check it off the list and this gives you a good conscience. But is it that simple?

I do support the re-use of clothing, but not at the cost of the development of developing countries. To me it's a matter of principle: why has it become a habit to dump our shit somewhere else? It's my shit. Your shit. Everyone's shit.

Our economy is based on materialism. Consumption alone is not a big deal - the problem is the mindless consumption, where we consume stuff even if we don't need it.

We need to ask ourselves tough questions; why are we consuming? Why are we buying this stuff? Is it worth buying a dress for $8 and then discard it the next day because you don't need it more?

Also read: Eco-alternatives to skinny jeans.
Dress by People Tree
Photo courtesy of People Tree.

If we start asking these questions and identifying our behavior, we can maybe act more responsibly and be more conscious about the next purchase.

The fast fashion industry should also be asked some tough questions from their consumers. Because the consumers do have the power to affect the industry, as Stella McCartney mentioned in the movie. Without the consumers, the fashion industry can't exist.

And then you have the sustainable fashion brands like People Tree and Stella McCartney who offer the consumers the opportunity to make conscious choices, through their fairtrade and sustainable clothing collections. According to them, they're introducing a new type of economy. The green economy.

Sustainable brands are trying to show the world that it is possible to have a sustainable fashion industry, or at least that the fast fashion and slow fashion can co-exist. That there is a better choice - for the environment and for the people who made our clothes.

As several pointed out in the movie, we need to look at our environment as the basis of our life, and not a commodity which we can profit from. Because we can do better than this. 

Any drawbacks?
I felt that the movie lacked nuance and was one-sided focusing on the 'good guys' in the industry. It would have been more interesting if some of the large fast fashion brands had their say in all of this.

If I remember correctly though, the staff behind True Cost tried to get interviews with the large fast fashion giants. 


Overall I think the movie is pretty good as it sheds light on the problems of the fast fashion industry. You don't have to be an environmentalist or work in the fashion industry to appreciate it. I do think that the movie will be an eye-opener for many watchers.

So, where you can you watch True Cost?
- Netflix
- Buy online $9.99 or rent the movie at $3.99. Read more on the True Cost homepage.

Continue to read:
Fashion Revolution Day - who made your clothes?

Practical guide: How to stop shopping for a while. 

Have your say about what you just read :)

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