I love shopping just as much as the next person. Whether it's for new clothes, a new bag, or even fun new foods from the grocery store; it is fun to buy. Our society is one that enjoys to consume, and that is not necessarily a bad thing... right? Wrong. After watching the documentary "The True Cost" on Netflix, I was abruptly informed of the human suffering and global catastrophe that is being created by the beloved fashion industry.
The 2015 documentary exploits major clothing brands such as H&M, Gap, and Forever 21 for the terrible and horrific labor conditions faced by the garment workers who are manufacturing the clothes sold at their stores. These companies, along with many others, are known to be big players in something referred to as the "fast fashion" industry. Many are familiar with these stores as a result of their low prices and trendy clothing. Fast fashion is exactly what it sounds like: fast-moving fashion trends which tend to move in and out of style very quickly. Stores like Forever 21 aim to provide these hot trends at a low price, allowing their customers to look "high-end" while also allowing their wallets a break from high-end prices.
The problem with this modern thinking is the idea that the clothing is SO cheap, that we have no second thought in trashing these clothes after just a few uses. Some of the items of clothes you buy from these stores may end up getting tossed before the tag is even taken off. So what? They get recycled, right? They get donated and SOMEONE will use them! Not so much.
This documentary showed gruesome images of the effect this mindset has on our planet. Mountain-sized piles of clothing scraps. Piles and piles of un-used donated clothes in third world countries. Leather-polishing chromium pouring into the drinking water of villagers, and the birth defects these villagers are born with because of it. I was in shock at the way these companies could treat our world, and its people so wickedly.
We are so often made aware of the tragedies of using animal fur in clothing, but yet we hear nothing but silence when it comes to the inhumane treatment of garment workers who manufacture the standard clothes we wear on our bodies every day. Not only the unfair wages, but the utterly disgusting working conditions provided for these workers. In Bangladesh, factories have burned to the ground, and collapsed on top of hundreds of workers. All for our desire and need for consumption. This needs to stop.
I encourage you to watch "The True Cost" for yourself, and take in the reality of the fashion industry as we know it. Take a look at the labels of your clothing next time you are out shopping for a new addition to your wardrobe. We can take the first step in changing the way our world and its people are treated by refusing to buy the clothing made in these conditions. No human should have to fear for their life, their safety; when making a piece of your clothing.