“We have the ability to be a part of the kind of world we want to have or to be part of the destruction that we say we’re against.”
When I was a kid, shopping for new clothes was a treat. A special, infrequent occasion. Why? because even inexpensive garments challenged our middle-class family budget. By comparison, the mega-conglomerate retailers of today — Target, H&M, Gap, fill in the blank — allow the average, penny-pinching consumer to fill a closet for a $100 or less.
How and when did clothing become an essentially disposable product? What exactly is going on?
The answers to these questions will shock you.
Andrew Morgan is the young, talented filmmaker behind the beautiful and heartbreaking documentary The True Cost. Premiering at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, it’s a movie about the untold story of fashion. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the garment industry is having on the world we share.
The film centers around the human rights and environmental implications of fast fashion — a term used to describe the increasingly rapid pace at which fashion houses push new trends at deflated prices made possible by global market ascendency and the comprehensive export of almost all manufacturing to the developing world. As a result, designer lines and trends once seasonal now move from factory to store shelves in a matter of mere weeks at a fraction of historical prices.
It goes like this: prime the latent pump of consumer desire with hypnotic marketing campaigns featuring lithe models draped in the latest and greatist. Throw kerosene on the addictive must-have impulse with impossibly low prices. Obscure production transparency by shipping manufacturing to a far corner of the world. Then, before anyone discovers the product’s troubling genesis and poor quality, light a match, sit back and watch the shopping frenzy ensue. Repeat to the tune of $3 trillion annually.
There’s only one problem — cheap is actually expensive. Because we’re ignoring the true cost.
Any accurate accounting of fast fashion must include the priceless expense of systemic and severe worker exploitation rife across the developing world. It must take into consideration the incalculable environmental damage caused by its very processes of manufacturing. And it must contemplate the mistreatment and slaughter of billions of animals.
Without a doubt, fast fashion is an extremely expensive, unmitigated free market failure. But Andrew isn’t interested in the good-guy-bad-guy narrative. He sees no purpose in shaming anyone nor pointing fingers.
Andrew’s wish for us is simple: Ask better questions. Demand better solutions.
Do I really need this? Who made this and how? What exactly went into this getting from wherever to here?
In other words, what is the true cost of our daily and often subconsciously or unconsciously motivated consumer choices?
I was quite impacted by Andrew’s stirring film; moved by this wise and thoughtful young man’s commitment to positively impacting the world. As such, it is my honor to share his important message with you today.
This is a conversation about the inextricable connectivity that unites us all. It’s about our collective responsibility to be informed and to act. It’s about conscious capitalism over mindless consumption. And it’s about how every single day, every single one of us can make a tangible, positive difference in the world.
Because in the words of Andrew, the greatest lie of all is that you can’t contribute.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
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Connect With Andrew:
Watch The True Cost
Background, Context & Reference:
- The True Cost on Twitter: @truecostmovie
- The True Cost on Facebook: @truecostmovie
- Andrew’s 1st doc: After The End: A Journey Through Loss To Hope
- PsychologyToday: The True Coast of Fast Fashion by Christine Louise Hohlbaum
- Industry of All Nations: industryofallnations.com
- TheGoodTrade: 35 Fair Trade And Ethical Clothing Brands That Are Betting Against Fast Fashion
- ElephantJournal: 7 Eco-Friendly, Humane Fashion Brands That Are Both Stylish And Affordable
- ManRepeller: 5 Brands That Really “Get” Sustainable Fashion
- MarieClaire: 21 Stylish, Eco-Friendly Brands That You Need To Know About
- FastCo: A Must-Watch Fast Fashion Documentary Is Now on Netflix
- NYTimes: A Clothing Clearance Where More Than Just the Prices Have Been Slashed by Jim Dwyer
- NYTimes: Review: ‘The True Cost’ Investigates High Price of Fashion Bargains by Jeanmette Catsoulis
- NYTimes: ‘The True Cost,’ a Different Kind of Fashion Documentary by Vanessa Friedman
- Eecosphere: Know Your Clothes: An Interview with The True Cost Director Andrew Morgan by Daniel Culotta
- TheGuardian: Why not all fashion documentaries should be pretty by Lucy Siegle
- HollywoodReporter: ‘The True Cost': Film Review by Frank Scheck
- LATimes: Review ‘The True Cost’ exposes hidden cost of cute, cheap fashions by Martin Tsai
- LATimes: ‘The True Cost’ documentary tallies global effect of cheap clothes by Booth Moore
- HuffPost: The True Cost of Fashion: Andrew Morgan on His New Documentary by Nell Minow
- HarpersBazaar: ‘The True Cost’ Seeks To Expose The Consequences Of Fast Fashion by Julie Kosin
- Book: Conscious Capitalism: Liberating The Heroic Spirit of Business* by John Mackey
- Film: An Inconvenient Truth*
- WSJ: Documentary Exposes Hidden Costs of $8 Jeans by Robin Kawakami
- EcoGypsy: Andrew Morgan, Director, True Cost The Movie
- FairWorldProject: Interview with Andrew Morgan: The Director of The True Cost with Dana Geffner
- Esquire: This Film Will Make You Rethink Your Fast Fashion Addiction by Lucy Wang
- CCLA: WEVU Community Screening & Discussion of The True Cost by Maureen McComsey
Notable People Discussed:
- Vandana Shiva: Indian scholar, environmental activist and anti-globalization author
- Stella McCartney: English fashion designer and supporter of PETA
- Livia Firth: Producer, activist, and founder of Eco Age Ltd.
- Anna Wintour: Bristish editor-in-chief of American Vogue
- Tom Ford: American fashion designer and film director, known for being creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent
- John Hilary: Executive Director of a non-profit focused on fighting global poverty called War On Want
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:
- RRP 62: Meatonomics: How The Bizarre, Rigged Economics Of The Meat And Dairy Industries Co-Opt Consumer Choice With David Simon
- RRP 91: “Cowspiracy”: The Devastating Global Impact Of Industrialized Animal Agriculture On The Health Of Our Planet With Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn
- RRP 135: Reimagining Fashion As Environmentally & Ethically Sound With Joshua Katcher
- RRP 176: Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, Cowspiracy: How Animal Agriculture Is Destroying The Planet & What You Can Do About It
*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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