Young people all over the world are fed up with the inaction about the destruction of nature and climate change. Inspired by Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, the youth of Britain are skipping school today and going on strike! It is the perfect moment to revisit a classic documentary from 2015 that highlighted the devastating impact of the fast fashion industry to nature and people alike. We are often kept in the dark about the true costs of the products that we buy, but this cannot be said anymore about fast fashion clothing. You do not see the pollution and exploitation behind fast fashion only if you do not want to see it.
The movie True Cost was one of the first documentaries that investigated the human and environmental costs of the booming fast fashion industry. It connects all the things that is wrong with fast fashion production: from genetically modified cotton causing cancer in Texas through exploitation of sweat-shop workers in Bangladesh to landfill mountains of thrown-out clothes. You maybe have heard about some of these, but the strength of the movie is that presents you with the whole dark story and it doesn’t let you turn a blind eye. It also shows some of the pioneers in sustainable fashion, proving that there is an alternative to fast fashion although it’s still in its baby shoes.
Morgan, the director, decided to make the movie after he saw a photo of two young boys searching for their mother in the ruins of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. The building collapsed in 2013, killing thousands of workers and becoming the deadliest garment-factory disaster in history. Morgan looked at his own clothes and realized that even though he didn’t know, he was part of the ugly story which led to the catastrophe. The movie doesn’t want to offer a simple solution to the problems of fast fashion, all it wants is that you see and understand the true cost of your fashion choices, and then it’s up to you to decide if you are fine with it or not.
Young people have understood that if we do not change our way of life, we will have no future on this planet, period. You might feel that one person cannot change the world, but change, actually, always starts with one person. Greta Thunberg and the movement she inspired is the latest reminder of this eternal truth. When you buy your clothes, you do not only make a simple fashion choice, you also make a statement whether you support a system of exploitation or a sustainable future. Go ransack your parents’ wardrobe in the attic or choose vintage clothes – either way you will not become part of the ugly story of fast fashion that literally kills both our planet and its people. And remember, with action, comes hope.