Have you seen the documentary film The True Cost yet?
I highly recommend it.
It’s about the impact of fast fashion on the world, but in larger terms, it’s about something even more eternal — human greed. Because of the industrial revolution and the “advances” which happened since, we can take our very worst traits and speed them up, disseminate them widely, and cause serious damage to people and the earth. It’s not just the big companies, but the average person. Watch the footage of people filming their “shopping hauls” for YouTube and I’m sure you will be as revolted as I.
This is not a feel good movie. I actually was on the verge of a panic attack whilst watching — my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. I cried. You can’t see death, sickness, extreme poverty, broken families, polluted rivers, and shocking waste and remain unmoved (I hope). Which is why I want you to watch it if you haven’t. No amount of describing the film or my reaction will make an impact like watching the film will. I’ve read books about fast fashion and they have upset me greatly, but I wasn’t prepared for how much greater an impact SEEING was to have on me.
It’s also not a perfect movie. It’s a tangled, centuries in the making problem (it could be argued poor people have always been making stuff for rich people), and of course a 90 minute documentary isn’t going to tease out the complexities. But see it, and do that yourself 🙂 I also don’t think that the free trade companies come off as being sinless, either. They still seem like corporations which are guilty of jetting around the world burning too much fossil fuel, putting too much needless stuff into our world so they can make a profit.
It has only strengthened my resolve to not purchase new, make as much as I can, and wear what I have to patched and patched again rags. I spent Sunday sewing. Talk about slow fashion! It took me 6 hours to make a top, carefully cut, slowly, slowly pinned so the sleeves were set smoothly and the collar laid flat, lovingly french seamed, pressed, and pressed again.
This feels right. How can something purchased new for $10 ever feel right when you have experienced first hand how much fabric costs, how much work it takes to make something? After you see this film you will know how that $10 top got here, and I hope it will forever change you.