Fast fashion: The dark side
Also exposed in the documentary, The True Cost, is a story of unimaginable hardship, akin to slavery, as well as being the world’s second biggest polluter (after oil).
Forced to work for approximately $10 per month, workers suffer as the managers compete to retain the business of big brands. In turn, succumbing to the pressure to produce even cheaper garments. The workers have no rights and in one interview a worker describes brutal assault of those daring to request better conditions and wages.
Farmers of the raw materials, such as cotton, have become trapped in the cycle of ‘round up ready’ cotton seed. That is, seed which is genetically modified to be resistant to round up. They then require the use of round up herbicides, which have been declared as cancer causing by the World Health Organisation. Find our more about this in our recent article why buy organic.
After our insatiable appetite for cheap clothing wreaks havoc with communities, the throw-away clothing then ends up in landfill or returned to third world countries, such as Haiti. In turn, crippling their own clothing manufacturing industry. This system is not ethical or sustainable on any level.
The clothing giants argue that their business provide jobs that would not otherwise exist, however declined to be interviewed for the film. We, the consumers, are at the end of the supply chain, and as such, collectively have the power to change this abhorrent practice (fashion is just one area where workers in third world countries are exploited for our indulgence). We can only imagine that if people were aware of the level of exploitation and environmental impact, most would be willing to pay a little more if it meant that those who produced the garment could have a better life.
This is only a small snapshot of a disturbing but informative film. We highly recommended watching it, as well as considering ways in which we can be more conscious of our consumption, sourcing garments that observe free trade standards and demanding accountability from big brands. Some tips as to how to do this can be found on The True Cost as well as The Fashion Revolution.