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The True Cost: Fast Fashion, Garment Workers, and Environment

The True Cost is a documentary that was directed by Andrew Morgan and released in 2015. It shows the background of the fast fashion world, where garment workers live in terrible conditions, facing poverty and a lack of safety. The multinational fashion corporations follow globalization economy, which means that production is given to countries with low-cost economies, especially those where they are trying to keep low salaries.

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Competition and pressure force manufacturing in developing regions to lower their requirements and make millions of clothes for less money. It leads to a drop in living standards, human rights violations, and deaths. The True Cost appeals to sympathy, empathy, and justice, as well as reasoning based on real-life examples to convince viewers that the production of garments in developing countries negatively affects people and environment.

The opportunity to buy cheap jeans or a blouse for one season involves neglect that affects the poor and also impacts the environment. The cost of a wardrobe is decreasing from year to year, while the cost of living and social protection are skyrocketing (“The True Cost”). The documentary proves that clothing production is one of the most polluting industries with a harmful impact on the environment. The desire to reduce the cost of materials and increase the amount of synthetics instead of natural fabrics leads to the fact that more and more clothes are produced, but the quality and price are getting lower. Morgan’s film is a gripping documentary investigation that lifts the veil of secrecy over the fashion industry and asks a logical question: what is the real price of fashion?

The film was made primarily for Americans, who are the target audience, but it affects everyone who has been touched by globalization in one way or another. It might seem the US had enough time to become saturated with the endless consumption of various goods. However, capitalism and marketing still stimulate Americans to buy more and more clothes. The arguments of the film are strong and simple since they refer to Americans’ everyday experiences of shopping.

By presenting the real-life examples of fashion banners and shows, the film appeals to emotions, such as empathy, to allow viewers feel that their purchasing actions impact people in developing countries. While Americans and people from other developed countries make more and more purchases, it only worsens the situation. By causing compassion to garment workers, the film tries to state that there is a need to reconsider the modern fast fashion industry.

Another message translated by this documentary is that the garment workers think it good to have a job in the factory as they have no other choice. Such work can hardly be considered a blessing for them: their reality is miserable wages, frequent accidents at work, and poor working conditions. At the same time, potential customers know nothing or little about how their clothes were produced. For example, the collapse of an 8-story building in Bangladesh that took the lives of hundreds of workers or information about fires on factories is almost not covered in the news on TV and the Internet (“The True Cost”). The documentary discovers facts and appeals to reasoning: what is the actual situation on the market of fast fashion? It asks the question: do viewers as the customers in the US know about such horrible examples?

The film does not call for a boycott of well-known brands. Its task is to show those unsightly aspects of shopping that impact the people living in poverty. More precisely, Americans know about them in general terms, but they usually do not go into details as the true scale of the problem will terrify anyone. Those who participated in the creation of The True Cost have no ready-made answers to the question of what should be done to resolve this problem.

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If a person rethinks something for himself or herself while watching it, the task of the film seems to be completed. It is impossible to change the whole world, but people can change their attitudes to what is happening and improve their models of behavior. To partly dispel the illusions, it is important to constantly remind oneself that every item on the store counter is produced using certain resources, both natural and human. After the use, everything will go to the landfill, where it will decompose for decades or even more.

To conclude, The True Cost documentary effectively appeals to emotions and reasoning to convince the viewers that the fast fashion industry is based on human suffering in developing countries. The film successfully causes empathy to those who live in poverty and have to work in garment factories. In addition, the logical arguments that connect fast fashion production to environmental pollution also seem to be convincing. The use of real-life examples and interviews with garment workers adds credibility to the documentary and makes it even more relevant to the modern impacts of marketing and capitalism.

Work Cited

“The True Cost.” YouTube, uploaded by Plot11. 2020. Web.

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