Film: The True Cost


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As the fashion industry grows, the struggle for those in the poorer parts of the world grows too. The demands that the western world of consumer culture places on the developing world has reached an all time high, with catastrophic effects as shown in the ethically critical film, The True Cost.

I remembered as the news has hit about many of the events they mentioned within the documentary, a huge building collapses as low paid workers get trapped under the rubble, a huge fire that rips through factories with no proper health and safety procedures in place. I did not however realise how many of the main brands made their clothes within these very factories, GAP and Primark to name a few. It is all well and good that the brands offer their condolences and false promises of improvements however as the documentary shoes these are not isolated events. They are fairly often and so devastating to communities.

There are over 40 million garment factory workers in the world at the moment, with 10% of them working in Bangladesh. It is spoken as an issue mainly for female workers as 85% of these factory workers are female. They earn less than £3 a day. In England, that is the price of an average lunch. It is pocket change whilst for some they have to raise a family on that money alone. The ideas of unions are only just emerging, workers demands barely getting listened to and reports of violence and abuse have risen out of many factories. The documentary featured a worker retelling how they were locked in a room and attacked with chairs and other furniture items, unlike the UK where policing is high, these workers still had to go back the next day and work for these same employers as they needed the money.

Livia Firth, a big campaigner at the moment, has been urging the fashion industry to make changes that last. She has been using her platform to critique fast fashion and to right the 'social justice destruction' that has been happening.

In addition to the human cost, the effects the fashion industry has on the environment is shocking. Clothing factories are dumping tons of dyes and chemicals into local water works, the same streams and rivers in which people rely on for drinking and bathing. That polluted water is being consumed by those who cannot afford to filter or pay for luxury bottled water. They have no choice and are most likely oblivious to the effects that the chemicals can do to themselves and their families.

With 1 in 6 working in the global fashion industry, we need to do more to protect those without a voice. They are silenced due to their low social standing and desperate to do anything that might protect their families. We need to do more.

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