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Netflix Review: The True Cost


The True Cost is a fashion documentary released in May that explores the fast fashion industry, one of the fastest growing segments of the fashion industry.T


The documentary has gotten a lot of reception over the last few months for being one of the most eye-opening fashion documentaries out there. After watching it myself, I could not agree more. The documentary was shocking, appalling and sad. It makes you as a consumer really consider whether you want to continue to support companies that outsource their manufacturing overseas to third world countries.

The documentary follows a handful of different people from the around the world who are involved in the manufacturing process, including cotton farmers from Texas, garment workers from Bangladesh, factory owners, environmental activists, scientists, and designers. Each perspective adds to the consequences of fast fashion, which is the premise of the documentary.

One of the major ideas the documentary presents is how the rise of fast fashion has lead to the rise of chemicals and chemical waste. These chemicals dramatically affect the people who work directly in the factories, and the people in the surrounding areas.

There is compelling imagery of men, women and children in India and Bangladesh who have suffered from various illnesses, affecting them both physically and mentally. There are a lot of children with physical and mental handicaps, not to mention diseases affecting the skin. It is the saddest thing to watch these people deal with these illnesses because of the chemicals from the factories that seep into the drinking water of the surrounding villages.

And then there is the safety of the factories. In the past few years, there have been devastating garment factory accidents, where factories have collapsed, killing thousands of workers. The factories are cutting costs by foregoing safety measures for their workers. But when the workers bring up these issues, in addition to asking for a more substantial salary, they are beaten for it.

These are just some of the issues the documentary addresses. Other than the negative aspects of fast fashion, the documentary shows how designers can have a positive relationship with the people who manufacturing their clothing by treating them with respect, by actually visiting them and having a more personal relationship with the garment workers.

Fast fashion has caused for a rise in materialism and consumptionism and for that reason alone, it’s here to stay. But you, as the consumer, can choose if you want to pay less for your clothing, knowing it affects the workers and the environment, or pay more for your clothing to get something more ethically made. The choice is yours.

This documentary is definitely a must-see for anyone who is interested in fashion or how the industry operates. It’s an eye-opening look at something we take for granted, but affects more than just the clothing companies and us. And that is the true cost.

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