By Alexa Gray, Contributing Editor
“Clothes are our chosen skin. It’s fundamentally a part of what we wish to communicate about ourselves,” says Orsola De Castro, a British clothing designer who uses only recycled textiles (mostly from luxury designers) and is featured in the documentary The True Cost.
Have you ever taken a moment to look down and ask, ‘What am I wearing?’ ‘Why am I wearing this?’ And maybe, taken further, ‘Who made this?’ ‘Does that even matter to me?’ Filmmaker Andrew Morgan wants to help answer those questions in his examination of what’s happening in the fashion industry today.
The film informs that some garment workers make less than $3 per day, while asserting that the fashion industry is generating over $3 trillion dollars. The True Cost asks, ‘whose pocket is getting filled with all of those zeroes?’
From unfair labor conditions, to immense environmental waste, to colossal unconscious consumption, The True Cost demonstrates that we have created one big mess that will require a lot of cleaning.
Don’t be discouraged, The True Cost assures, because the industry has some serious heroes.
Stella McCartney, one of the business’ better-known stars, refuses to use any animal materials and does so without compromising her ethics for style. Safia Minney, who is the owner of People Tree, a fair trade clothing company, educates her employees, pays them fairly and cares about their general well-being. Livia Firth, who produced the film, is a well-known fashion conscious activist who is seeking big change.
In one scene, there’s a confrontation between Firth and a rep from H&M at a global summit in Amsterdam, underscoring how big business often tiptoes around hard questions about ethical fashion.
The True Cost is activism in action and education about the subject at large. And maybe next time you go shopping, you will consider what you want your chosen skin to look like.
Photo Credit: The True Cost