There is a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost that has left me a little shook.
The documentary is about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world.
While I have known this because of coverage of garment factory collapses, protests for fair working conditions and the amount of clothes in landfill – the breadth of the collective damage this is doing to our planet, our fellow humans and our own sense of worth, has escaped me till now.
The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. We jump for joy as we run to the sales, but forget that the process to make these cheap clothes comes at a cost.
Our Earth is a finite resource that we do not respect, take care of and cost accordingly.
Our fellow humans’ efforts are not ‘cheap labour’ and should be costed accordingly.
Our footprint from buying clothes almost every day or week is collectively leaving tonnes of material in landfill that will be there for 200 years.
Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, the documentary invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.
The documentary makes you think about who really pays the price for our clothing. The workers? The planet? Us? Or all of the above?
What is the true cost of your chosen skin?
I have decided that I will:
- Stop buying anything new My wardrobe is colossal and I need to acknowledge it.
- Evaluate what I have Go through my clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery to compartmentalise my wardrobe more thoughtfully so that I can be creative with what I have by styling and restyling pieces and thereby avoiding the temptation to buy more.
- Use sites like Gumtree and places like fashion markets Find people to give or sell my old or outgrown clothes to – they will actually wear it rather than it end up in landfill.
- Buy ethical If I must buy, I will focus on ethical quality long lasting pieces over price.
- Reflect on my style Focus on what suits me rather than fashion ‘trends’ I will outgrow or won’t suit me.
- I promise to ask myself ‘what is the true cost’ of every item I pick up.