The documentary I chose to analyze, The True Cost, is a film that showcases the hidden reality behind fast fashion and the impacts it has on our world. Fast fashion replicates trends, produces rapidly and uses low-quality materials in order to bring styles seen on the runway to the public. Although the idea of affordable clothes sounds appealing to the vast majority of consumers, what many people fail to recognize is that buying cheap clothes comes at a high cost to our environment and developing countries around the world.
The significant truth revealed poses the question; Are the diseases, pollutants and deaths associated with the production of cheap clothing worth jeopardizing the future of our planet? Garment workers in third world countries should not be exploited for our own benefits and should have humane living conditions and a wage that is substantial enough to support their everyday life. Making clothing should not have to mean hurting our world and the people who live in it.
Through The True Cost, director Andrew Morgan is able to convey the harsh reality of fast fashion through various media techniques. A key technique which contributed to the effectiveness of the documentary was the aspect of showing the perspectives of the two most influential roles in the fashion industry, the supplier and the consumer. Comparing the perspectives of how clothing is made versus how it is sold, uncovers a real issue with our world (power and poverty) which viewers are able to see. They effectively portray this message through a series of cutaway shots showing us the full lifecycle of an article of clothing and the journey it undergoes; from the cotton growing on farms to the clothing made by hand in factories, to it being sold in stores, leading up to its ultimate destination in the landfills.
Another effective media technique used was the use of interviews. The entire film was a combination of raw footage, graphic images and interviews of people (factory owners environmentalists, garment workers and activists promoting sustainable clothing) talking about their roles in the fashion industry. One of the interviewees, Shima Akhter, a Bangladeshi garment worker, speaks out about the inhumane conditions that workers like her are having to work in for a mere three dollars a day. The experience Akhter shares create a stronger connection with viewers and adds a deeper level of emotion to the film because it’s not just a concept being talked about, but an actual experience being told first-handedly.