“The True Cost” is
a documentary that shows how the clothes that we buy at a cheap process is
manufactured and how it influences the society and the environment. In underdeveloped countries garment workers,
especially in Bangladesh, Cambodia and India the workers who work there are
suffering from sweatshop and an infringement upon personal rights. One of the
most representative incident was the Rana Plaza case in Bangladesh. Rana plaza
was a place where hundred thousand of workers worked to manufacture clothes.
However, the building had cracked walls and it was unstable, at the end this
building collapsed and took away 1,136 workers’ lives, this was a huge tragedy.
The people who worked here were mostly belonged to low-income group and they were
mostly females. According to the documentary, these people have already proposed
to the company for the Rana plaza’s instability before the collapse but it wasn’t
accepted. These women were forced to work and to manufacture clothes, which
lead to an incident where thousands of people lost their life.
After watching this documentary, I felt kind of
guilty. People might have heard the word “SPA” which stands for Specialty
retailer of Private label Apparel. SPA brands are often seen when we go
shopping they are brands such as H, Uniqlo, Zara, forever 21 and more. I
have been using these brands as their products were cheaper. The clothes that I
bought without thinking as it was cheap, it was actually making the people who
work in these manufacturing field suffer from work. As in Capitalism society
clothes brands are having highly competitive price competition in the recent
years and the price of the clothes has decrease a lot. So, companies in US or
Europe started finding places such as Bangladesh where they had low labour
charges and where the companies didn’t need to think about the worker’s working
environment or welfare and started outsourcing. The more outsourcing the
cheaper the clothes gets. From this, price keeps decreasing and the worker’s
rights and the quality of their work environment also started to decrease.
Until I watched this documentary I didn’t know that it was this much serious. I
have never thought that the clothes from SPA brands were cheap because of
someone’s cheap labor. The clothes that I’m buying from these brands is cheap,
however the workers who are making these clothes are sitting in front of the sewing
machine for 12 hours but only get 3 dollars a day. After watching this, I
thought that I shouldn’t just buy clothes as they are cheap and pretty. I
should think more about how these clothes would have been made which is the sacrifice
of the workers who works in places such as the Rana Plaza. From now on, I will
be committed to becoming an ethical and conscious consumer.
This documentary also points out the fact that
these manufacturing system is harming the environment as well. The clothes that
we buy, we only wear it for few months and throw it away for put it in the
recycling box or donate these clothes. However, all of the clothes that we
donate is not all donated. In some cases, it is sold to developing countries
such as Africa or Haiti. The clothes that are not sold goes to the dumping ground.
In the US 110 million tons of fabric wastes are thrown away here. Fast fashion
makes terrible loss during the manufacturing process and throwing out process.
Also, this huge manufacturing process affects
the people who are involved. As there is huge quantity of demand for the
clothes the fast fashion companies face problem to supply cotton. So, through
gene manipulation the companies has created cotton seed that can grow in fast
speed and to bear well with damages by blight and harmful insects. These genetically
modified cotton seed is highly expensive, so the people (farmers in India) who
paid huge amount of money to buy this seed commit suicide because they cannot cope
with the expenses. Also, the children who are born in those areas are suffering
from disabilities such as mental retardation. Furthermore, due to the chemicals
in the fabric production people who lives near the factory are also suffering
from diseases or illnesses. The money that they have gain is all used to buy
medicine for their illness, which is a huge problem. After knowing about the
influences of this manufacturing process to human beings I was angry with the
fast fashion companies. I think they only care about the profit that they are
gaining through selling these products. They don’t care about their workers’
rights or environment they are working in. The companies even don’t listen to
the voice of the workers, they are only focusing on producing huge amount of
clothes. As mentioned above, the workers who were working in ‘Rana Plaza’ knew
about the cracked walls and went to tell the supervisor. However, they didn’t listen
and at the end the building collapsed and causing innocent people to die or get
injured from this incident.
In conclusion, this documentary points out that
the cheap cost that we are paying to buy the clothes from SPA brands are
actually made from the workers cost(sacrifice). Also, the documentary critically
analyzes the problem of capitalist system and the fashion industry. I was
touched by a phrase that the female who works in these manufacturing process
she said, “I don’t want anyone wearing anything, which is produced by our blood”.
I believe that they process or system that we make clothes should change. The
thought that buying cheap clothes is rational should change as well. Also, in
order to reduce the environmental pollution, we need to raise awareness for
people who is buying these SPA and fast fashion brand clothes. I’m not saying
that people shouldn’t consume these brand’s clothes, as the documentary
mentions the system and paradigm needs to change in order to solve the issues
caused by this. I also think that the title of the movie “The True Cost” means two
things, first is the cost of the product and second is the dark side which is the
sacrifice of workers in order to make those clothes.