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Various outlets have been used throughout history to illustrate multiple social problems and, as a result, fan the flames that bring about much-needed change. One of the most common channels is movies and films, which are effective in leading reform initiatives due to their appeal to a broader audience. The True Cost, a documentary film by Andrew Morgan, effectively conveys the pernicious impact of the current fast fashion trend on both the environment and human life. As a result, this paper examines the film to show how the theme of fashion and display has resulted in a fictitious notion's popularity. Raf Simons, in an interview regarding the current state of the fashion industry, argued that there had been a dramatic change in the industry in that, it transformed from one that appealed to few select elites to its current state where, high fashion appealed to everyone . As a result, the wider appeal meant that fashion houses had to work round the clock to constantly bring about new creations in their efforts to satisfy the increased demand of the fashion products.
The True Cost movie highlights two main social issues related to the theme of fashion and display. First, the increased addiction of high fashion products brought about by increased production, and second, the detrimental effects of corporate greed on both the environment and human life . Morgan juxtaposes both the process and the products throughout the film as on the one hand, he shows fast paced catwalks in Europe while on the other hand, shows the dilapidated lifestyles of factory workers in India and Bangladesh who toil to produce the given items . As such, he attempts to bring out the notion that there is a falsified concept of success among fashion companies who value final products without considering the real individuals who produce the items.
The film highlights the corporate greed, it shows how big fashion companies in developed countries outsource most of their production from developing countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia where the workers are paid meagre salaries and work under detrimental conditions . The film exposes the selfishness of the fashion companies as it demonstrates how the Raza factory fire that killed thousands of employees in Bangladesh occurred yet the factory had already been deemed unfit for habitation. Similarly, the film shows scenes of sick and dying factory workers who suffer from intoxication by chemicals used in producing fashion items.
Further greed is shown with the destruction of the environment where the companies are seen to add toxic chemicals into the soil to favor cotton growth while at the same time they dispose waste chemicals into rivers endangering aquatic life and leading to different forms of cancer and birth defects. Further, it highlights landfills in Haiti that have emerged as the companies dispose clothing that is deemed un-recyclable .
On the other hand, the film as well shows society’s addiction to fashion as it highlights the craze with buying fashion items without giving a thought on the use of the given items. Further, with the advanced technology currently in place, it is now easier to access fashion items online which leads to more purchases.
In conclusion, the emphasizes that as indulges in the advantages brought about by fast fashion, one should ensure that they are not participating in creating victims lower down the supply chain.
Bager, Jasmine. "REVIEW: 'The True Cost' Documentary -- Fearless Fashion Comes At A Price". Huffpost, 2016. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jasmine-bager/review-the-true-cost-docu_b_9463386.html.
Catsoulis, Jeannette. "Review: ‘The True Cost’ Investigates High Price Of Fashion Bargains". Nytimes.Com, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/movies/review-the-true-cost-investigates-high-price-of-fashion-bargains.html.
Scheck, Frank. "'The True Cost': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter, 2015. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/true-cost-film-review-799133.
Horyn, Cathy. "Bof Exclusive | Raf Simons Speaks To Cathy Horyn On The Speed Of Fashion". The Business Of Fashion, 2015. https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/bof-exclusive/bof-exclusive-raf-simons-i-dont-want-to-do-collections-where-im-not-thinking.
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