My first semester of freshman year I was required to watch a documentary entitled The True Cost. I can honestly say that this documentary changed my mentality when it comes to shopping for clothing. The documentary focuses on the dangers associated with the fast fashion industry and shows viewers that their $5 top from stores like H&M and Forever 21 is doing way more harm than good. Sure, the $5 top may make you feel incredible and savvy because it was so cheap, but the $5 top makes another person in another part of the world angry and exhausted. Fast fashion companies use workers who live in impoverished areas in other parts of the world to do the dirty work for them for a price that is even dirtier. The people trapped in sweatshops creating your $5 top are some of the lowest paid workers in the world. Your $5 top from a fast fashion store is aiding in the continuation of human rights violations and the exploitation of human beings.
Along with having little concern about the health and quality of life of their workers, fast fashion companies and the industry as a whole has little to no concern about the world we live in. The $5 top that has been the continuing example throughout this post will more than likely be out of style next month, or at least that’s what the fast fashion industry will make you think. According to the documentary, the average American creates approximately 82 pound of textile waste each year because clothing is seen as disposable. The image from the documentary that always stands out in my mind is the scene where clothing is being “dumped” to developing countries. The documentary shows an area of Haiti that is essentially overflowing with unwanted clothes. These clothes are not biodegradable therefore they will sit for hundreds of years releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere. That $5 shirt will probably end up in a developing country when you’re tired of wearing it or when it starts to wear out after the third wash due to the cheap material.
Fast fashion may be trendy and easy on your bank account, but is it worth the detrimental impact you’re having on the lives of other humans and your environment? After watching this documentary I spend more to get more. I may buy a basic shirt for $50 dollars or a pair of jeans for $100 from a more “high-end” retailer, but the quality is so much better than those from a fast fashion brand and the item will last therefore there will be much less waste. In the long run spending more will get you more: more wear time from an item, more time doing fun things instead of shopping to replace a piece of cheap clothing that has worn out, and more time on Earth knowing you did something to help rather than being part of the problem.
To Watch The True Cost: http://truecostmovie.com/watch-now/