It is another text that seeks to deconstruct the idea of responsible consumption in what concerns fashion.
Since I know myself as a woman I am an avid consumer of fashion and of course a be a big fan of promotions and sales, because it allows me to buy those pieces that I so much desire at a much more affordable price and at a bigger and better discount, I really like researching to exhaustion and nothing gives me more pleasure than finding "bargains" and taking advantage of it. I thought that not only did I get what I wanted, but also, in a way, the clothing companies did not make a blatant profit at the expense of my "compulsion" for beautiful clothes and so the price was fairer, I thought, well , I learned a hard and great lesson with "The True Cost" is that I could not be more wrong!
The documentary shows a broad view of the global fashion market as we recognize it today and its social and environmental consequences for the planet. "The true cost" follows the trail of garments from the big stores to the manufacturer and the plain truth about the cost of producing, a sweater that costs € 5 bought on an H & M, Primark, Zara, C & A, or at Forever 21 among other companies, made at the expense of outsourcing production to small and medium-sized businesses based in third world countries, but you will ask, how is this a problem if it create jobs?
Well, while we all like to think that by buying a jersey made in Bangladesh, or in India, or Morocco that we are indirectly helping to create jobs and promote the economic development of these countries, the reality is that none of this is sustainable either from the social or environmental point of view and I will explain, the same sweater that will be sold in the most developed countries at these 5 pounds in major stores will have to cost much less of this amount in terms of production, the aim is profit maximization and what does this entail?
The guarantee of a mass production of thousands of jerseys at a company in Bangladesh, or India, or even in Morocco, which has to be done at the expense of the value of labor, also entails deplorable working conditions to say the least, not to mention the no safety rules, or benefits of any kind for the workers, with the advantage that none of this entails any kind of responsibility on the behalf of the major clothing brands or ultimately us consumers.
The environmental consequences, on the other hand, are more serious than you might think, did you know that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, coming soon after oil? Well, the beautiful colors of our clothes, the effects of certain fabrics, the leather treatment of our shoes, wallets and coats use heavy chemicals that are simply dumped into the rivers or into the sea with consequences not only for the environment and the public health of the populations of these nations, thanks to the famous butterfly effect, also the climate, life and health of populations on the other side of the world, which is us!
Others not-so-visible damages, but with so dire consequences for the environment and the local populations, come from the remains of the collections that are not sold. Contrary to what you may think most clothes are not recycled, quite the contrary, they are shipped in large containers to third world countries, through non-governmental organizations, where they are given or resold locally and even then, there are huge leftovers that end up causing an environmental problem in the form of highly polluting waste. But, you must be thinking, what fault do I have that the governments of these countries do not act and protect the interests of their citizens and their environment?
We have responsibilities, even indirect ones in all of this, because long-term damage is for everyone. As you know, we only have this planet and if we continue to close our eyes to what we considered to be a problem of others we are contributing to the destruction of a global natural heritage that is finite. And when it finishes what we're going to do? Travel to Mars?
Also, have you ever thought that your 5-pound sweater reflects your low purchasing power? And the poverty rate of such third-party workers? If you only have the financial capacity to consume fashion at a low cost, based on the very low salary of a Bangladeshi worker that is less than $ 1, it is because you earn even less than you think, it is a hoax created by the big brands who actually profit by encouraging unbridled consumption by making us think that we can buy whatever we want, but this is an illusion that in a shorter term than you might think will be destructive for all.
Did you also think that this type of consumption contributes to the death of small and medium-sized companies in the sector in your country? The constant change of collections, the so called fast fashion, that no longer considers the seasons, but rather the trends, ends up having a very high cost for the national entrepreneurs that many of them ca not cope with the constant investment in terms of the production of pieces, why do you think that many textile factories are failing? It is not in many cases because of a lack of customers, but because it is very difficult to produce several collections at the same cost more than twice a year, that is, they cannot compete with the big brands that put new pieces of clothing in their store, for them it is difficult to match with the same prices. Ultimately, this model of global economy ends up benefiting a narrow percentage of people and creates more poverty than one would think, so what should we do?
Consume responsibly, buy a lot less and ask yourself to do I really need even another pink sweater? It is necessary to encourage brands to recycle leaving a lower carbon footprint, requiring a more ethical treatment the way their products are produced. Do not get me wrong, I am not against the global market, we must help these third world countries to develop, keeping our industries viable, through fairer forms of trade. Just do not buy, or at least acquire brands with a business model that is more sustainable and beneficial to all, for the good of our planet, our conscience and our pocket.