The Consequences of Rapid Consumption
Last Updated on
True Cost (2015)
Following the Trend
This documentary investigates the social and environmental costs of the fashion industry. As described by the filmmakers, the rise Fast Fashion is a considerable win for the garment industry. The high turnover of low cost apparel successfully connected with consumers and demand is growing.
Unfortunately for the planet however, this rapidly-changing, cheaper fashion also encourages consumers to buy more and discard what is quickly outdated. This approach has generated enormous profits for retailers. the cost of suppressing labor wages in the developing countries that provide the manufacturing.
The human cost to the demand for fashion is very real, and quite relevant. Although not immediately seen by consumers, as it happens (predominantly) outside of the developed world, the impact is no less lethal and alarming. It’s a heart-breaking revelation.
For instance, the documentary highlights major garment factory fires in Bangladesh. Due to cut corners & poor safety standards, accidents occur with greater frequency. These culminated tragically with the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013, where 1,129 garment workers were killed and over twice that number injured.
The casualties are a result of the current consumer system that requires costs to be driven as low as possible. Considering that the price of fabric is pretty well a fixed commodity, the savings are exacted from the workers who produce the clothes.
Fast Fashion Fails
Wages are pitifully low and conditions are often wretched. Workers in China, Bangladesh, & Cambodia are heavily exploited for their cheap labor and malleable laws. Human beings are oppressed and put in danger so that companies like Zara, H&M, Forever 21, and UNIQLO can sell their clothes for outrageously low prices, and cash in on even greater profits.
Not only does this rapid consumption culture enact destructive social costs, but it also contributes greatly to landfill waste as represented by the millions upon millions of tons thrown away annually. Clearly we’re doing something wrong.
This fashion debris, already responsible for consuming significant amounts of water and energy in their manufacture, then reverts back to the earth. As it does, it slowly and harmfully, leeches out hazardous toxins and chemicals into the air and water supply. Nasty stuff 🙁
A Worthy Watch
There’s certainly more to learn! The film merely scratches the surface of such discussions, but it’s enough to disquiet the viewer and provoke a number of further questions. Still, it is a tightly packed documentary. It does a pretty good job of informing consumers of the need to reevaluate their purchasing habits and better understand the necessary costs of their fleeting consumption habits. Please watch on for more.