The True Cost

Hair extensions

Year: 2015

Type: Documentary film (92 minutes) and website

Director: Andrew Morgan

Production company: Life Is My Movie Entertainment (website).

Availability: trailer (free on YouTube, embedded below), 50 minute version free on Dailymotion, buy or rent on Vimeo, iTunes or Amazon, watch on subscription on Netflix, or host a screening via

Page reference: Craig, R., Daniel, A., Dubec, O., Glynn, E., Jackson, K., Rees, S. & Ward, F. (2020) The True Cost. (  last accessed <insert date here>)




If you're a human and you wear clothes, … you should be able to understand what this film is about (Source: Morgan in Culotta nd, np link).

The film isn't meant to bum you out or make you feel guilty about what you wear. It's supposed to pose the simple idea: There are human beings who make what we wear (Source: Morgan in Plummer 2015, np link).

[It] is really just an invitation to say 'Hey! There 's something really important in the world that you've not considered, and you are part of something integral just by buying clothes.’ And it’s as simple as just opening our eyes and our hearts to this idea that there are hands, physical human hands, that touch the things that we wear, and those hands are lives, and they matter (Source: Morgan in Anon 2015a, np link).

A lot of people buy clothes - not bad people, just people who have not heard this story. I hope the story starts to seep in, so that we will have the will to make [diffferent] choices (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link)?

[The True Cost’s director Andrew] Morgan … comes at his subject with the naïveté and enthusiasm of an amateur - he acknowledges that he didn t think much about his clothes beyond style and cost until he started the film (Source: Friedman 2015, np link).

[His film takes] on one of the ubiquitous issues that we'd perhaps prefer to ignore - the kind that too often go untouched by major news organizations (Source: Scheck 2015, np link).

[It] is a litany of Things We Can All Agree Are Bad (Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link).

[It’s] an extraordinarily clear-sighted and fresh take on the skeletons in the fashion closet (Source: Siegle in Morgan & Siegle nd, np link).

It is a story about greed and fear, power and poverty, examining connections between fashion, consumerism, mass media, globalization and capitalism (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 1 link)

[It’s about] worker mistreatment, manipulative advertising, mindless consumerism, corporate greed, political corruption, environmental degradation, harmful GMO proliferation, free trade, and the inherently predatory nature of capitalism (Source: Faherty 2015, 240).

[It’s about] how developing countries, desperate for economic opportunity the business provides, fail to enforce wage and labor laws, while big fashion brands keep their hands clean (Source: Moore 2015, np link).

[And it’s about a] business model [in which] consumers won't care, won't ask questions. …They just have to buy. The whole fashion industry is built on that, and the brands, advertising, and even retail experience completely push you in that direction (Source: Morgan in Culotta 2015, np link) .

The film represents Mr. Morgan 's own journey of discovery as he documented fashion's globalized supply chain (Source: Kawakami 2015, np link).

[It] highlight[s] the mess we are in because of fast fashion and [leaves] you with a sense of despair and injustice (Source: Firth in Ifteqar 2020, np link). 

I love the voice you bring to the film, Andrew, because there s no baggage and no preaching. You arrived, interrogated the issues journalistically and saw the potential (if we can change) and the damage (if we don t) (Source: Siegle in Morgan & Siegle nd, np link).

[It] will either induce you into changing your ways or simply have you curling into a fetal position from (Source: Scheck 2015, np link).

With advertisers urging the idea of consumerism as a fast track to happiness, and gullible shoppers buying ever more affordable clothing, the pressure is on the billion-dollar fashion business to produce more and more product at ever lower prices (Source: Noh 2015, np link).

[And] whilst the price of clothing has been decreasing, the human and environmental costs have been increasing. Consequently, the current fast fashion system based on speed, disposability and price deflation has led to the worst casualties in recent years …The documentary details these devastating human, social, and environmental costs (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 2 link).

The film comes on fast and furious with staggering statistics about the rise in consumption: 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased worldwide each year, which is 400% more than a decade ago. Three out of four of the worst garment factory disasters in history happened in 2012 and 2013. And as the death toll increased, so did the profits. The year after the Rana Plaza disaster was the fast-fashion industry 's most profitable yet, and the world 's top four fast-fashion brands - Zara, H&M, Fast Retailing (which owns Uniqlo) and Gap - had sales in 2014 of more than $72 billion, compared with $48 billion in 2013 (Source: Moore 2015, np link).

Indirectly, these brands have encouraged abuse and violence toward workers (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

[They] refused to speak with Morgan (Source: Noh 2015, np link).

The film harks back to the good old days prior to the 1970s, when the vast majority of clothes were made domestically in the United States and, as a result, clothes were far more expensive and purchased less often (Source: Faherty 2015, 241-242).

Until a couple of decades ago, the industry relied on seasonal selling,’ wherein new garment designs would be released a couple of times a year, thus bringing a surge of customers into stores. Fast fashion is trend-driven, thus resulting in (as the film puts it) practically 52 seasons a year.’ New trends are born and die quickly; but their novelty (combined with low prices) draws customers into stores on a steady basis. These two factors - low prices and constant turnover of new garment designs - spur over-consumption (Source: Shambu 2019, 32).

[Fast fashion] goes like this: prime the latent pump of consumer desire with hypnotic marketing campaigns featuring lithe models draped in the latest and greatist. Throw kerosene on the addictive must-have impulse with impossibly low prices. Obscure production transparency by shipping manufacturing to a far corner of the world. Then, before anyone discovers the product 's troubling genesis and poor quality, light a match, sit back and watch the shopping frenzy ensue. Repeat to the tune of $3 trillion annually. There 's only one problem - cheap is actually expensive. Because we 're ignoring the true cost (Source: Rich 2016, np link).

The True Cost (2015) takes its title from .. the … idea … of externalized cost,’ a term that attempts to encompass all the costs not captured by the purchase price of the product - specifically, the costs stemming from the impact of business practices on society and the environment. The low prices that are the key to the success of the fast fashion industry are achieved partly at the expense of negative social and environment impacts at every stage of the supply chain (Source: Shambu 2019, 31-2).

Any accurate accounting of fast fashion must [therefore] include the priceless expense of systemic and severe worker exploitation rife across the developing world. It must take into consideration the incalculable environmental damage caused by its very processes of manufacturing. And it must contemplate the mistreatment and slaughter of billions of animals (Source: Rich 2016, np link).

[Therefore the] film doesn't just cover sweat shops and people in them working for poverty wages. It shows how even here in America the cotton farmers have been impacted by it, and how each person that is affected also then affects the life of another. How the push for cheaper and cheaper clothing, with the cost of materials and production going up, has caused suffering and hardship for millions of people all over the world (Source: Angela 2015, np link).

[This] is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world … (Source: Anon 2015b, np link).

… to shine a light on the 'perfectly engineered nightmare' that feeds shoppers' insatiable appetites for cheap chic (Source: Moore 2015, np link).

[It] jumps between Bangladesh, India, New York, Milan, Texas, and Tokyo to explain the wide-reaching scope of the fashion industry (Source: Faherty 2015, 241).

[It] doesn’t shy away from shocking images of violence towards factory workers or heartbreaking images of exploitation. Neither does it refrain from showing the blatant disregard of an unsustainable money making machine known as the fashion industry (Source: Sohotey-Khan 2017, np link).

[It] captures the gritty story on the ground with clips from river polluting leather factories in Kanpur, India, and overworked, underpaid, unprotected garment workers in Bangladesh and Cambodia, whose attempts to unionize have been met with beatings and live bullet rounds. He marshals interviews with factory owners, environmentalists from India, Indian doctors, Cambodian activists, economists, a former managing director of Monsanto India, garment industry workers who have attempted to unionize for better wages, fair trade clothing owners, sustainability activists, journalists, cotton farmers in Texas …, and many more (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

Morgan brilliantly ties how the supply chain from farmer to CEO operates with the workers and farmers at the bottom. These are the most vulnerable; they have no power or voice, and they are least able to fight for themselves. He shows in every instance that they are trod down without attention to their humanity. Considering that 40 million people are working in the Fast Fashion industry and 4 million of these are in Dhaka, Bangladesh with 85% of them women, this is 1 in 6 individuals suffering misery and privation to eeck-out around $3.00 a day, if they are lucky (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

The[se] problems aren't exactly secrets, but they sure are obscured in the brightly lit U.S. shops where it's easy to forget that if a piece of clothing is being treated as disposable, the person who made it probably is, too (Source: Abrams 2015, np link).

[To show this, the] film does not proceed sequentially through the supply chain, but instead moves back and forth between various stages (Source: Shambu 2019, 31-2).

For each topic, Morgan usually presents a single or handful of problematic cases, and then throws in some activist or academic interviewees to explain briefly the problem. For instance, Morgan (as the narrator) will state that numerous garment factories have collapsed in Bangladesh over the past few years. Then two or three interviewees say that increased competition amongst major fashion corporations caused Bangladeshi factory owners to cut costs, which resulted in dangerously negligent working conditions. Then Morgan shows a montage of collapsed factories and dead bodies with the victim tolls and dates superimposed on screen. When possible, he ll try to throw in some commentary by the victims themselves for the genuinely most affecting part of the argument. Then it s on to the next topic (Source: Faherty 2015, 243).

The trouble starts early. Under the throb of a sinuous synth bass … (Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link).

… [it] juxtaposes images of fashion models strutting down runways, YouTube shopping hauls and Black Friday deal shoppers storming through retailers' doors against images of garment workers sewing clothes in a cramped space, mountains of discarded clothing, corpses side by side after [the Rana Plaza garment factory complex] in Bangladesh collapsed in 2013, killing more than 1,100 people … (Source: Cheng 2015, np link).

… [and] wholesome organic cotton farmers talking about the dignity of rural agriculture intercut with a scientist lamenting the effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (Source: Faherty 2015, 239).

[Morgan says that] Cotton represents nearly half of the total fiber used to make clothing today. As consumption of clothing increases, the cotton plant is reengineered to keep up with this speed (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

[Because] India has become the source of where most of our cotton is grown, Punjab is the largest user of pesticides in the world to keep up with the fashion industry's demand (Source: Kress 2015, np link).

Monsanto has increased its profitability by monopolizing seeds and forcing cotton farmers to buy their seeds and pesticides, [and] India’s farmers have become so indebted they've lost their land and their livelihood (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist in India, explains this process (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

[T]he tragedy of chemicals, whether they are fertilizers or pesticides … is that they are … ecological narcotics … the more you use them the more you need to use them. For a while the yield of the single commodity climbs and then it starts to decline because you have contaminated the soil (Source: Shiva in Chiodi 2018, np link).

Companies [like Monsanto] that make the GM seeds and make the chemicals are the same companies. They are also the same companies that make the medicines which they are now patenting. So you get cancer, they [earn] more profits. For them it's a win-win-win-win as for nature and people it's a lose-lose-lose-lose-lose. It's the day that the agents of these companies come to the farmer and say 'you owe me this much, you haven't paid back, now your land is my land.’ That day the farmer will go into his field drink the bottle of pesticide and end his life (Source: Shiva in Kress 2015, np link).

Monsanto's attempts to improve India's economy with its seed monopolization program, during the last 15 years [has led], in despair, [to] 250,000 cotton farmers … committ[ing] suicide drinking bottles of Monsanto's pesticides (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

That is one farmer every thirty minutes - the largest recorded wave of suicides in history (Source: Kress 2015, np link).

Not to mention the effects of these chemicals on health; in-depth studies have shown the increase in congenital defects, tumors and mental illnesses in the region (Source: Chiodi 2018, np link).

Dr. Pritpal Singh Director of [the] Faridkot Center has conducted studies on the effects of such heavy chemical use; they have shown a drastic rise in birth defects, cancer and mental illness. His studies show that at least seventy to eighty children in every village in the area are disabled or mentally retarted. The chemical companies refuse to take any responsibility for these effects and claiming there is not enough evidence. The poor famers and workers cannot afford treatment for these diseases and disabilities. Dr. Singh states 'ultimately they have accepted the death of their kids’, they are waiting for their children to die (Source: Kress 2015, np link).

The film visits a small village in Punjab that has an extraordinarily high incidence of birth defects and cancer among children (Source: Shambu 2019, 32).

[A] sickening scene shows a mother next to her young son, who is disfigured, mentally disabled and staring off into some indeterminate middle distance (Source: Goldstein 2015, np link).

In Kanpur there are the leather factories, responsible for the pollution of the Ganga, the holiest river; every day more than 50 million liters of toxic wastewater pour out of the local tanneries, heavy chemicals such as chromium 6 even end up in drinking water (Source: Chiodi 2018, np link).

Workers are exposed to harmful chemicals on the job while the waste generated pollutes natural water sources leading to increased diseases in the surrounding areas (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

If there is health fallout (increased rates of cancer, deformities, disabilities), … no one is accountable (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

[Elsewhere] Larhea Pepper, [a] … cotton farmer in Texas, underlines that in the past 10 years more than 80% of the cotton has become genetically modified (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

[She] highlights the fact that she is part of a small minority since most cotton is grown with the aid of pesticides, which damage the soil, the water, and the air in large expanses of Texas (Source: Shambu 2019, 32).

[As in the Pubjab], in cotton fields in Texas, pesticide and chemical use is associated [with a] high number of brain tumors (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

[A]fter her husbands death at the age of 50 for a brain tumor caused by the use of chemicals in agriculture, LaRhea decided that changing the type of agriculture was ... imperative to the planet in which we live and our children's life'. And since then she has been converted to organic cotton (Source: Chiodi 2018, np link).

She is building a network of organic farms all over the world, and has taken her case all the way to the Supreme Court (Source: Morgan 2015h, np link).

In interviews with experts, Morgan [learns] … that Bangladesh and Cambodia represent corporate heaven far from the shores of U.S. rules and regulations, 8 hour days, OSHA [US Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules], litigation and, that horrific anathema, unions (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

[Here, t]he brands are not responsible for worker pensions, safe working conditions, health care, minimum wages laws, taxes, disability insurance (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

[Moreover, a]s the Director of Institute for Labor Rights Barbara Briggs states, most of these big companies have their code of conduct, which claims that they take responsibility for all the conditions under which their products are made. However, none of them want to support a law which defends decent working conditions and fair competition. Instead, they want to keep the voluntary codes of conduct because … they remain free of responsibility of the effects of low wages, factory disasters, and violent treatment of workers (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 2 link).

In order to keep their costs as low as possible and therefore maximize profits, many mass brands force factories in countries like [Cambodia,] Bangladesh and India to compete against each other on pricing (Source: Brooke 2015, np link).

[They] choose where the products are being made, and they get to switch if another producer makes it at a lower price to minimize costs and maximize profits (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 2 link).

Because the manufacturers want the business so badly, they play ball, agreeing to lower and lower rates for their work (Source: Brooke 2015, np link).

[They also] cut costs [in] other areas, including building upkeep and employee wages. The result? Unsafe working conditions (much like the ones that caused the Rana Plaza collapse) and salaries that barely support the employees. 'We just want a proper salary to make a living with dignity,' a Cambodian factory worker tells Morgan. In her country, the government sends riot police to attack protesters calling for higher salaries (Source: Kosin 2015, np link).

… in Phnom Penh, … in 2014, … the police put down with bloodshed the strikes of the textile workers who demanded an increase in wages that was $80 a month. There … [were] four dead and numerous wounded (Source: Chiodi 2018, np link).

[In] Bangladesh, which is home to 4 million workers, or a full 10% of the garment workers of the world … (Source: Shambu 2019, 32).

… [factory owner Aftik Jebtik] … tells us candidly that when retailers squeeze him, he must squeeze his employees (Source: Catsoulis 2015, np link).  

In the West, they are using everyday low price, so, every day, they're hampering me, and I'm hampering my workers. This is how it is. The stores are competing. When the stores are coming to us for an order and negotiating, they're telling, 'look, that particular store is selling this shirt, like, for $5, so I need to sell it at $4, so you better squeeze your price.’ So we are squeezing. Then other store is coming and saying,  'Hey, they're selling it for $4, so the target price is $3. If you can make that $3, you're getting business, otherwise you are not getting.' Because we want that business so badly, and we don't have other options, OK? Every time we are trying to survive, actually (Source: Jebtik in Morgan 2015b, np).

[23 year old garment worker Shima Akhter] is interviewed several times during The True Cost (Source: Kress 2015, np link).

[She] makes less than $3 per day (Source: Abrams 2015, np link).

Bangladesh has a minimum wage of less than $3 making the workers the lowest paid worldwide. She moved to Dhaka when she was 12 years old and only made $10 a month when she first started working in a factory (Source: Kress 2015, np link).

[She] fights for better working conditions while struggling to provide a better life for her young daughter (Source: Bryant 2015, np link).

She sometimes brings her [daughter Nadia] to the factory with her but due to the heat and chemicals it is very dangerous. She has nobody in Dhaka to take care of Nadia and she has decided she can no longer keep her daughter with her and will take her daughter back to her village to be looked after by her friends and family. Millions of workers are unable to keep their children with them and only see them twice a year - they make this sacrifice so their children can live in a safe environment and go to school for the chance of a better future (Source: Kress 2015, np link).

Shima helps create a union at her work and is the current president. Her and the other workers sent and list of demands and concerns to the management. After the management received it they had an altercation. Locking the doors, the management and thirty to forty staff attacked them and beat them with objects like bats, chair and scissors. They punched, kicked and beat their heads against the wall (Source: Kress 2015, np link).

Shima no doubt speaks for the world's 40 million garment workers, the vast majority of whom are women, when she tearfully rues the system (Source: Blum 2015, np link).

There is no limit to the struggle of Bangladeshi workers. Every day, we wake up early in the morning, we go to the factory, and work hard all day, and with all the hard labor we make the clothing, and that 's what people wear. People have no idea how difficult it is for us to make the clothing. They only buy it and wear it. I believe these clothes are produced by our blood. A lot of garment workers die in different accidents. Like a year ago, there was a collapse in Rana Plaza. A lot of workers died there. It's very painful for us. I don't want anyone to wear anything which is produced by our blood. We want better working conditions, so that everyone becomes aware. I don't want another owner like the owner of Rana Plaza to take such a risk and force the workers to work in such conditions so that no more workers die like that, so that no more mothers lose their child like this. I never want this, I want the owners to be a little more aware and look after us (Source: Akhter in Kress 2015, np link).

Back in the Western world, the mindless consumption and disposal of clothes have caused textiles to pile up in and clog landfills. Since the vast majority of these garments are not biodegradable, they will sit in the landfills for decades, if not centuries ... (Source: Faherty 2015, 242).

… releasing harmful gasses into the atmosphere (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 3-4 link).

Furthermore, the charities cannot sell most of the donated clothes in their local thrift stores, so they ship them to third world countries. Consequently, as we go through our clothing faster and faster, more of it is being dumped into developing countries like Haiti, weakening their local clothing industries and polluting the land and water (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 3-4 link).

Morgan rounds [these depressing scenes] out with occasional portraits of nice people running fair-trade clothing companies, and interviews wherein concerned thinkers muse about our need to give our form of capitalism a good once-over (Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link)?

Among the [film’s other] participants are … economist Richard D. Wolff, John Hilary of the charity War on Want, … (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 1 link).

… Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium … (Source: Du Fault 2013, np link).

… Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media at NYU …(Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link).

[and] Tim Kasser, [a] Psychology Professor at Knox College (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

Professor … Miller calls advertising a species of propaganda’ (Source: Faherty 2015, 239).

[He] invokes the influence of Earnest Elmo Calkins, often called the father of modern advertising,’ who advocated the idea of consumptionism’: There are two kinds of products: those that you use and those that you use up. Consumptionism is about treating things that consumers use as things they use up.’ In other words, clothes were once goods that were durable and had a long life, but fast fashion attempts to turn them into a disposable commodity in order to accelerate the rate of consumption (Source: Shambu 2019, 32).

Miller goes on to explain that commercial advertisements are designed to trick consumers into associating positive emotions such as personal satisfaction and social acceptance with particular products … Advertisements are thus effectively tricks which covertly alter a consumer s mindset so that he or she views the world as the advertiser sees fit (Source: Faherty 2015, 239).

[Professor] Kasser … states that the more the people are focused on materialistic values, the less happy, the more depressed, and the more anxious they become. These findings conflict with the messages that we receive from advertisements, suggesting that materialism and pursuit of possessions is what is going to make us happy and solve our problems (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

Various interviewees offhandedly refer to the planet as ‘dying,’ ‘declining,’ or having ‘overstepped (its) limits’ (Source: Faherty 2015, 240).

John Hilary states [that] capital does not have limits on its expansion and growth whereas the natural environment has defined limits to how much the world can sustain and we already overstepped those limits (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 4 link).

Morgan has done due diligence so seldom seen in this sort of advocacy documentary by [also] interviewing … free-market proponents (Source: Tsai 2015, np link).

Occasionally, Morgan will put onscreen a spirited defender of capitalism … (Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link). 

… such as Benjamin Powell, director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University and Kate Ball-Young, former sourcing manager of fashion brand Joe Fresh (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 1 link).

Early in the documentary … Powell … present[s] the capitalist case for the existence of sweatshops in the Third World. Powell argues that although sweatshops may pay wages and house conditions that are considered untenable in the West, they provide a superior alternative to other economic choices offered to poor workers in the Third World. The single best argument for the existence of sweatshops is that people choose to work in them (Source: Faherty 2015, 245).

Theyre not just the least-bad option workers have today - theyre part of the very process that raises living standards and leads to better working conditions over time (Source: Powell in Scherstuhl 2015, np link). 

Ball-Young … argues that in comparison to more unsafe alternatives, the fashion industry is a good choice for workers as there are worse things that they could be doing (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 3 link).

A visit to Haiti, however, where millions of tons of our castoff clothing have clogged landfills and destroyed the local clothing industry, makes us wonder how much worse these people's lives could become (Source: Catsoulis 2015, np link).

Powell asserts that although sweatshops may not be pleasant by our high standards, they are a crucial component of economic development in countries like India and Bangladesh, which will one day see such places largely lifted out of poverty (Source: Faherty 2015, 245).

[The film also spends time with] people who believe in the possibility of change and in a kind and sustainable approach … (Source: Chiodi 2018, np link).

… [including] Lucy Siegle (journalist, broadcaster and author based in UK), Stella McCartney (fashion designer and animal-rights activist), Livia Firth (creative director of the sustainability brand consultancy Eco-Age), Safia Minney (founder of fair trade clothing company People Tree), Orsola De Castro (fashion designer) … (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, p.1 link).

… [and] Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, p.5 link).

As awareness of fashion's impact on our world is growing, there are leaders and initiators who are questioning the impacts of a model built on careless production and endless consumption and who believe that there must be a better way of making clothes (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 5 link).

McCartney, underlines that fashion industry needs to question and challenge the way it operates in a way that is not harmful to the planet (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 5 link).

Firth … is also calling for major change in the fashion industry. She started the Green Carpet Challenge, urging celebrities and top designers to take part in more mindful forms of fashion and works to make sustainable fashion more widespread (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 5 link).

Ridgeway … argues that without a reduction in consumption, the health of the planet will continue to decline. Therefore, they want customers who understand that true happiness is not necessarily achieved by owning more stuff and who recognize the impact of their consumption (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 5 link).

[The film] holds up People Tree Ltd. as a paragon of what the major fashion companies could be. People Tree is a Japanese clothing company which produces clothing in the same Third-World countries as the big corporations, but does so in a supposedly more cooperative and sustainable manner by integrating their manufacturing bases into local villages. Not only do they pay their workers higher wages, but they also help with education and direct economic development in their local communities (Source: Faherty 2015, 246-247).

[Its founder Safia Minney] now employs more than seven thousand people, and in country after country I witnessed the dignity that this work is providing to people who need it the most (Source: Morgan 2015a, np link).

Awarded as Outstanding Social Entrepreneur by the World Economic Forum, Safia [Minney] says she is confident of a profound change that will touch the fashion world in the next ten years and that fair trade is the answer to correct social injustice. Meanwhile, she continues to take care of its ethical brand which, collection after collection, gives jobs and opportunities to the most marginalized communities … involving them in every single step of the production chain of a garment (Source: Chiodi 2018, np link).

These small efforts offer the only optimism presented in the movie (Source: bandw 2016, np link).

Though the film optimistically hopes for a reorganization of the whole fashion industry and the entire international trade system, it explicitly states that the change should start with the individual consumer, since that is what drives the whole process (Source: Faherty 2015, 241).

The film leaves one thinking about how to become an activist, how to ask questions, how to step back before buying cheap clothing to feel better, though we may never wear it and eventually throw it out (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

At the [film’s] end … Morgan and multiple interviewees ask the viewers to stop the Wests rampant consumption and reform the global economy. … The filmmakers want everyone to change the system in order to save Third-World workers from exploitation and to save our planet from environmental destruction (Source: Faherty 2015, 246).

Morgan states in his concluding remarks ‘together we begin to make a real change as we remember that everything we wear was touched by human hands. In the [midst] of all the challenges facing us today and all the problems that feel bigger than us and beyond our control maybe we can start here with clothing’ (Source: Ozdamar-Ertekin 2017, 7 link).

Inspiration / Technique / Process / Methodology

When Rana Plaza fell down in Bangladesh two years ago, it was the biggest industrial disaster of our times. Those of us working on the inside wrung our hands in despair as the death toll continued to climb past 1,100 people. Unlike tragedies in years past, from this dark place came hope and a number of heroes who said, no more. There was Better Work, a program that expedited its entry into Bangladesh to provide a credible snap shot into factory conditions. There were slow fashion entrepreneurs such as the founders of Tripty and Visible Clothing who dreamed up clothes that respected people and the planet. There was Orsola [de Castro] and Carry [Somers], who built the Fashion Revolution on Rana Plaza’s anniversary, where millions of shoppers around the world asked “Who made my clothes” - the campaign become the number one trend on Twitter. I founded Remake, to sustain this interest from shoppers to be more conscious and change the story of how our clothes are made. We are betting on the power of films, visual storytelling and immersive journeys to build human connections between shoppers and the amazing people who make our clothes. One of the heros of this story is Andrew Morgan, a filmmaker who knew nothing about the fashion industry (Source: Barenblat 2015, np link).

Andrew [Morgan] is an internationally recognized director focused on telling stories for a better tomorrow. His experience includes a broad range of work that spans narrative and documentary storytelling for both commercial and film projects. After studying cinematography at the Los Angeles Film School he went on to co-found Untold Creative, a hybrid filmmaking studio where he currently serves as the creative director. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post and speaks regularly on the power of storytelling as a tool in the ongoing fight for human rights around the world. Andrew lives in LA with his wife Emily and their four children (Source: McComsey 2016, np link).

[H]e walked into a Starbucks store in Culver City, California, in 2013 [and, as he] waited in line for his coffee, he glanced down at the newspaper rack. Eight thousand miles away in Bangladesh, a garment factory that produced clothes for Western brands had collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people. The photo on the cover of The New York Times showed two young boys, close in age to Morgan’s own sons, beside a wall plastered with missing persons signs (Source: Beyer 2016, np link).

There was just something about that photo that moved me in a way I have never experienced before (Source: Morgan in Directo-Meston 2015, np link).

I wept (Source: Morgan in Du Fault 2013, np link).

It definitely broke my heart (Source: Morgan in Kawakami 2015, np link).

… everything within his soul revolted (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link)

[It] made me pick up the paper, and I read about the collapse (Source: Morgan in Bryant 2015, np link).

[Rana Plaza was] just outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Of the 3,639 garment workers in the factory complex, 1137 didn't survive; others were severely injured losing arms and legs; 200 remain missing and have not been found two years later. Many agree that this was the worst disaster in the history of the garment industry. But the U.S., European, and Canadian brands that hired the factory owners to subcontract workers at a wage of around $3.00 a day were thrilled. Despite this blip and a few other disasters (another building collapse and fires killing another 1000 workers), because of owner negligence, the fashion industry was booming. Though Rana Plaza was destroyed, 2013 was a phenomenal year for the Fast Fashion industry which pulled in a record $3 trillion dollars (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

[Morgan] was astonished to find out that his non-remarkable clothes could be a product of this fashion system (Source: Siegle 2015, np link).

I thought … How is it possible an industry this powerful and profitable is doing business in a way … that was continually, consistently leading to the loss of human life (Source: Bryant 2015, np link)?

[But] the more stunning thing to me … was [that] … I grew up in middle America, middle class, and I had never stopped to think about the fact that some of my really simple choices might have very real impact on the world (Source: Morgan in Kawakami 2015, np link).

How did I live this far into my life without even considering something as basic as where did my clothes come from (Source: Morgan in Blanchard 2015, np link)?

I was finishing up my last film [that April] … [so] I … began reading everything I could get my hands on and began speaking with people around the world working in and along side the industry. What I found was shocking, both in the extent of the problem but also in the potential for good (Source: Morgan in Du Fault 2013, np link).

… by the end of the week, he decided to make a film [and set up a] Kickstarter campaign (Source: Kawakami 2015, np link).

Why did you pick film as a medium to convey this story (Source: Shah 2016, np link)? 

Telling a story through film is the most compelling thing in the world. It's really like falling in love. I have to personally be fascinated, curious and dying to find answers to the questions. The more I looked at this topic, the more I found that it touched all the things I really cared about: women's issues (most of the garment workers are female), human rights and the environment. I also wanted the film to be uncomfortably close; I wanted the visuals to cut through the worlds that we like to keep separate (Source: Morgan in Shah 2016, np link).

I am interested in making a film that is accessible to the 'everyday' consumer while at the same time not dumbing down the content. … Consumers are proven to be aware that something is wrong, but often times it is so abstract that they feel helpless in doing anything about it. … Mary Poppins was onto something with her notion of the spoon full of sugar. When people are entertained they lower their guard and you have the potential to make them aware of new and disruptive ideas. My experience has been that audiences can rise to the occasion if you refuse to talk down to them and tell a story that resonates with both their head and their heart (Source: Morgan in Du Fault 2013, np link).

I love Kickstarter because it underscores this idea of cooperative action. We are not spectators but rather active participants in the world we are shaping together. We will only be able to make this film if people reading this take part in supporting the work with their hard earned money. Their generosity will allow us to tell this story (Source: Morgan in Amin 2013, np link).

We have taken a first step in creating the [film’s] teaser and building a growing team of experts around the world. We are now raising this money [on Kickstarter] to begin full production on the final film. Funds will go to principal photography and the post-production process. The film will feature interviews with top industry leaders from the international clothing industry, illuminating this complex dilemma. In addition to these professionals, the audience will get to see the human side of the issue as we take cameras around the world to capture the lives of the people affected by these issues every day. More than just underscoring the problem, this is an effort to highlight real solutions that we can all take part in. The road we are on is not sustainable, but there is an opportunity here; a defining moment in history for us to set a new precedent for the future we will create (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link).

Why now (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link)?

The collapse of the factory at Rana Plaza only furthered what informed and concerned advocates already know (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link).

… companies have made a concerted effort to communicate to the rest of the world that [this] is a problem that they can solve. And I think a lot of CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] energy beyond 'green washing' and marketing is really a very intentional effort to prevent government or outsiders from getting involved. Beginning with what we saw from Nike in the 90s and on, they realized there was a problem and they worked really hard to communicate to everyone else involved, 'Hey we can fix this ourselves and we don't need real traceability and accountability.’ That's proven false (Source: Morgan in Minow 2015, np link).

We are [now] at a tipping point of critical concern and action, as more and more people are yearning to become involved in this human rights and environmental cause (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link).

For the first time in the history of the human race, we are able to assess the impacts that our actions are having on people and places around the world in real time. So suddenly, this isn't the case of history looking back as the judge. But, rather, this is the first generation of people who have to fundamentally decide, now that we know what we're doing in the world, for good and for harm, what kind of world will we choose to create? I've been talking to experts in all different parts of the global clothing industry and the thing that they all agree on is that what we need now, more than anything else, is to tell the story in a way that engages and compels the world (Source: Morgan 2013b, np link).

What is the Goal (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link)?

[To] make a film that was not just a shame-and-blame game about one company. If we make one company look like the villain, then we excuse ourselves from any responsibility (Source: Morgan in Lee 2015, np link).

Many well intentioned past efforts on this topic have created an over simplified blame game that creates an isolated conversation. We are focused on moving past mere finger pointing, and into meaningful discussion about the role we can all play to create change. We cannot do that without engaging with the many brands who are a driving force on what happens with the future of this industry. Only when we acknowledge that we have a shared responsibility (business, policy, consumerism) can we move towards real solutions (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link).

[To] approach the issue by taking a holistic view: that one solution to the problem is not the answer. Real change can only be sustained through the creation of a synergistic approach, one that involves the adaptation of policy, the improvement of industry standards and a shift in consumer consciousness. Our hope is to bring a new understanding to the problem and the role that we all play in solving it. We realize the difficulty of approaching such a hot topic; but feel the best way to explore something is by actually showing and experiencing it first hand (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link).

Approaching a project of this size comes with its inherent difficulties of navigating in developing countries and some potentially hostile environments. This underscores the need for our team to continue connecting with industry leaders in a coordinated effort to access the right people and places (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link).

Hi guys, in just the first two days of the campaign 93 people have already backed the project. I am so thankful to each of you for choosing to be a part of a change that is long overdue. On Tuesday as we launched the campaign, there was yet another factory fire in Bangladesh taking the lives of another 10 garment workers. It was a sobering reminder for us here that this film truly matters. With your help we are off to a great start, but we still have a lot of work to do. Please help us by continuing to share the page and get the word out (Source: Morgan 2013c, np link).

[T]wo weeks ago we shared this project with the world and we had an unbelievable response. About half of the needed funds have been pledged in the first half of the campaign. But we've got two weeks left in the campaign and we still need the second half to be pledged. You probably know how kickstarter works. It's an 'all or nothing' campaign meaning, if we don't hit our full goal by November 11th, we will not receive any of the funds and will not be able to go make this film. So I need your help. I wouldn't ask you, and I wouldn't ask you so strongly, unless I though there was a real chance that we could make a dent in history together. But I do. And I invite you to use your hard-earned money and use your voice on behalf of people around the world who don't have one. If you've already given, share this with the people in your life that know and trust you. Beyond just sharing it on facebook and twitter, write some emails to people and tell them that you're choosing to be part of this bold, beautiful new story and you think they should too. I cannot wait to come back in a couple of weeks to tell you that together we've reached this goal. Until then, be bold, be generous and I'll see you soon. Take care (Source: Morgan 2013b, np link).

Hi friends, we have come so far. More than 335 of us from countries around the world have pledged over $55,000 in support. But as you know this is an all or nothing campaign so it all comes down to just five more days. Over the next few days please re-post the campaign online. Please send emails to people you know and invite them to join us. And please let me know if there is anything I can do for you that will make this final push more effective. Let's finish this, and tell this new and needed story (Source: Morgan 2013d, np link).

Andrew, thank you for attempting to make this very important film. I just learned about it while browsing on Kickstarter, and coming from this industry, felt it was my obligation to support it. I really hope you can make your goal. To help, I have reached out to the editorial board at Women's Wear Daily. Hopefully they can cover it and give you the boost you need over the last few days of your campaign (Source: Project Denim 2013, np link).
Stumbled across this video when researching musical scores of various Kickstarter clips and totally connected with your mission. I had to pledge! I wish you every success (Source: Shields 2013, np link).

Thanks for all of your support, we could not do this without you (Source: Morgan 2014a, np link).

Hey guys, … I am absolutely thrilled that today, with over $75,500 committed, we've completed the kickstarter campaign for the new film The True Cost. And, man, the words 'thank you' or 'grateful' don't even begin to express what I'm feeling today. Beyond just this film it reminds me that, as human beings, we are at our absolute best when we come together, when we think together, and dream together, and act together. 903 of you from countries all around the world, most of whom have never met each other, in this moment have come together to do just that and to make a bold, audacious hope-filled statement that, while the world is the way it is today, it doesn't need to be that way tomorrow (Source: Morgan 2013d, np link).

Unites States 564 backers. United Kingdom 78 backers. Canada 54 backers. Australia 49 backers. Germany 16 backers. Netherlands 13 backers. Denmark 10 backers. France 7 backers. Sweden 7 backers. Norway 6 backers. 439 backers had never backed a project on Kickstarter before. 464 backers had backed a project on Kickstarter before (Source: Anon nda, np link).

We've got a long, difficult road ahead and we're going to be updating you along the way as we journey. But today I just wanted to pause, as our team is celebrating. You've given us a beautiful beginning to a new and needed story (Source: Morgan 2013e, np link).

Congratulations, Andrew! So glad the film will be made! What made me want to help was the idea that we need to act on our values. I believe this film will not only inform people, but it will inspire change. Can't wait to see it! Good luck (Source: Chelsea 2013, np link).
I am grateful to be a tiny bit of this project and wish you all the best (Source: Shultz 2013, np link)!
I feel your joy Andrew! onwards and upwards - can't wait to see what you create. From Heidi up in Canada (Source: Dennessen 2013, np link).
Thrilling to feel empowered to bring about change, even with a small donation, rather than feeling overwhelmed & heartsick over this issue. Go get 'em Andrew - for all of us (Source: Glenn 2013, np link)!!

[Morgan raised] more money from individual investors later on. In all, he needed about $500,000. To ensure the movie is 'autonomous' no funding has come from companies, nongovernmental organizations or foundations, he said (Source: Cheng 2015, np link).

Hi friends, This week marks the start of international production on the film! Click on the image below to see the video update. As we travel our team will post photos and videos to Just go the the site and click updates from the main menu (Source: Morgan 2014a, np link).
Make sure to follow production on our Tumblr and Twitter (Source: Morgan 2014b, np link).

We have been shocked by the warm welcome from many members of the fashion industry. They will be crucial in helping us navigate the logistics of the people and places we hope capture in the film (Source: Morgan 2013a, np link).

[Morgan] landed the backing of Livia Firth, creative director of sustainability brand consultancy Eco-Age and wife of British actor Colin Firth (Source: Cheng 2015, np link).

Firth … created the Green Carpet Challenge, which brought sustainable style to A-listers (Source: Lee 2015, np link).

Morgan … didn’t know Firth before the movie (Source: Cheng 2015, np link).

[After] Andrew had the idea of the movie already shot for Kickstarter and … had put together a trailer … he sent me an email which said 'I know about your Green Carpet Challenge and I'm coming to London, can I come and see you and interview you?' And I checked him out and thought it looked like a cool project and said 'sure come over and we'll do the interview.' This is how we started and then, because he was in London, I was like, you have to talk to so and so and we started brainstorming and seeing which channels I could open for him to explore (Source: Firth in Rothe 2015, np link).

[Firth] opened the doors for [Morgan] to interview designer Stella McCartney, who is known for her environmentally friendly practices[, and Firth] signed on as an executive producer after seeing a cut of the film (Source: Cheng 2015, np link).

We filmed during all the major fashion weeks in London, Paris, Milan, New York and Los Angeles. [Filming] also took us all over Southeast Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, India and Uganda (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

… we had a false sense of knowledge when we were going through pre-production. We were doing all of this research and calculating all the data and analyzing it on a macro-level. The first country we started in was Bangladesh, and it was there that we began to see it and feel the effects of it. When we got to know the folks who were working their hearts out, unable to provide the basic necessities, while fueling companies and an industry that report profits in the billions and trillions of dollars, that hurt really deep inside (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

We followed a twenty-two year-old garment worker named Shima Akter who works in Dhaka, Bangladesh (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

The scene that gripped me [the most] was when Shima went to the village of Borishal to drop her daughter off. As a parent it was just heartbreaking. She told me that this might be my life, my fate, but I don't want my daughter to work in a garment factory like me. I remember crying my eyes out that night, just wanting to go home to my kids. It just does something to you; it moves it out of the abstract (Source: Morgan in Shah 2016, np link).

We [also] followed a woman named Safia Minney, who owns a fair trade clothing company called People Tree, in London and Tokyo. And then we followed a cotton farmer in Luc, Texas named Lorey Pepper. Around those three stories we met a whole bunch of experts, from economists to really big influencers in the fashion space, and both activists and traditional designers, people like Stella McCartney and brands like Patagonia (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

Hi Friends, sending you a quick update as we finish up production in India this week and wrap on principle photography for the film. To date production has taken us to more than 30 cities, in 13 countries on 4 continents. … We have seen first hand some of the worst social and environmental tolls coming from the clothing industry, but the hope has been in meeting extraordinary people who are working on the front lines to change things. I am excited for you to meet these people and experience the stories you have helped us capture. We will spend the next two months back in LA cutting the film before a couple of short trips to film final pieces before the end of the year. More to come soon on release plans. There are a lot of things in the works and as soon as I am able to share more with you, I will. Thanks again, more soon (Source: Morgan 2014c, np link)!

Hey guys, … We are, actually today, on set shooting some art work for the cover and the poster and for the next two weeks here in Los Angeles we're finishing, the final score is being recorded, we're doing the final colour sessions, the sound dubbing and by the end of this month we're going to have a totally 100% finished film, which just feels amazing to even say. And I'll be back so soon for an update. We've got some plans, and some things coming together for the release of the film, that are incredible and we’ve made, as a team, some really exciting choices, just in the last couple of days, about how the film's going to come out, where it's going to come out and how you're going to get to become a big part of that. We're also going to be having an official trailer come out and we're going to share that with you guys before anyone else (Source: Morgan 2015d, np link).

Hi friends, it's a big day here for our team as we announce the official release date and launch the new website! The film is going to open worldwide on Friday May 29th. That day it will be in select theaters as well as available to rent and own on VOD, as well as DVD / Blu-Ray. To watch the teaser and see the new site now, click here (Source: Morgan 2015c, np link)!

I can't tell you how many times we've been at the end of very long days and seen a note come in from one of you and constantly feeling your support has been an amazing thing. So, from the beginning of this journey to now to the conclusion, thanks for being on board and I'll be back with more soon (Source: Morgan 2014b, np link).

To coincide with Fashion Revolution Day, which seeks transparency in clothes production, the trailer of The True Cost was released on April 24, 2015 (Source: Anon ndb, np link).

Speaking at [its] UK launch in London … [Livia] Firth, who had just returned from Bangladesh, said: 'The brands know everything, but they allow it to happen. I discovered [what is going on] in five days.' She argued that the capitalist system is fundamentally flawed and international cross-government regulations on working conditions and wages were required because 'voluntary efforts by retailers don't work'. The fast-fashion system is the guilty party, she asserted (Source: Musgrave 2015, np link).

[The True Cost] premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival on May 15 (Source: Anon ndb, np link).

Livia Firth accompanied Morgan down the red carpet for the first screening (Source: Blanchard 2015, np link).

A week before the official release … the [Kickstarter] crowd funders received personal links to allow them watch the film (Source: Anon ndb, np link).

There is one quick thing I need your help on today. Can you take a minute and write a short review of the film on iTunes for us? It will go a long way to feature the film more prominently and allow even more people to find out about it. You can do that HERE (Source: Morgan 2015e, np link).

[It began with a] Kickstarter campaign and two years later, 'The True Cost ' … opens today in Los Angeles, New York and London, as well as on iTunes and video on-demand services (Source: Kawakami 2015, np link).

[A b]uzz for 'The True Cost' [was] generated by screenings often accompanied by provocative panel discussions (Source: Chow 2015, np link).

Many influencers who saw it, including prominent YouTuber Marzia who then had 7.5 million subscribers, spoke about ‘feeling guilty’ of becoming a fast fashion consumer without knowing the social implications (Source: Lim 2020, np link).

I've travelled to Milan, New York, Tokyo, and here in London for launch screenings, panel discussions and talked to press (every time I see the movie, it makes me well up inside and cry). I hope you can organize a screening and that it moves you, your team and your community too (Source: Minney in Anon ndc, np link).

Join us [in London] for a preview screening and panel discussion with film director Andrew Morgan, co founder of Fashion Revolution Orsola de Castro, designer Wayne Hemingway, fashion blogger Susie Bubble and journalist Lucy Siegle as we ask  'who really pays the price for our clothing?’ … (Source: Anon 2015c, np link).

Our panellists on the night [in Ipswich] all play key roles in the Fairtrade and ethical fashion world. Michael Gidney is the CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation which oversees all of the Fairtrade products and campaigning in the UK. Mark Lissaman is co-founder of the ethical shirt company Arthur and Henry and Jo Salter is founder of Where Does It Come From? a clothing brand that allows the customer to trace the production of their clothes (Source: Anon 2015d, np link).

[Following the Los Angeles screening there will be a] panel discussion and Q&A with Ann Wang (CEO and cofounder of the online marketplace Enrou), Katie Bond (Fair Trade LA), and Travis Heard (Vice President of Finance and Strategy at Outerknown), moderated by Taryn Hipwell (educator, CEO of EcoDivas, and founder and executive producer of Beyond the Label) (Source: Anon 2015f, np link).
The True Cost Brisbane event will present a panel discussion hosted by Laura Churchill (The Style Report) with Brisbane designers, George Wu, Julie Tengdahl, Deanne Maiocchi (Maiocchi), Lis Harvey (Nico Underwear) and Matt Janes (Black Milk Clothing) (Source: Goldsworthy 2016, np link).

[The] Bangalore premiere of the True Cost … [will be followed by a panel discussion including] Sonia Manchanda [Founder of Spread Design], Nivi Murthy [slow fashion curator], Susanna Chandy Mathews [writer], Shamini Dhana [CEO of Circular apparel company Dhana Inc.], Anjali Schiavina [CEO of Mandala Apparels, and] Ayesha Mathews Wadhwa [Creative Director of PIXINK] (Source: Dhana 2016, np link).

Last night, some of the industry's key players attended the screening at the Francesca Beale Theater at Lincoln Center [in New York City], including Vogues Fashion Director, Tonne Goodman, donning her signature look comprised of a Charvet silk scarf, Jil Sander jacket, and J Brand jeans. 'If more people are educated, the more they are able to make their own choices. You can't make a decision or a choice without knowing what the stakes are,' she asserted, as guests continued to pour in. As the film came to an end, the audience relocated to an after-party at the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery where the creative minds behind Marchesa, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, wearing gowns from their line, discussed why they were touched by the documentary. 'We thought the film was amazing. It was impactful, a wonderful statement, and very thought provoking,’ said Chapman. Anne Hathaway, in a dress by The Row, was open to the possibility of a sustainable change. The actress said, 'I'm very grateful to have seen it, very grateful that now there is a place where one could go to become educated about this incredibly important issue. I think as consumers demand more, the industry will respond, and it's going to take some visionary, brave individuals within the fashion industry to be pioneers in figuring out how to build a sustainable model on the business side of things' (Source: Vela 2015, np link).

In November [2015], Fashion Revolution will travel far and wide across 5 UK universities to galvanise student support over pressing issues regarding sustainable practices in the fashion industry, hoping to engage young individuals and the student community to become an active and creative part of a global movement, looking for solutions and hoping to start a long term conversation that will redefine the way we look at the clothes we wear. The Arts and Speaker Tour will focus on different thematic areas impacting the fashion supply chain in the global south at each event. Topics will include inequality and human rights; the role of women and girls in the fashion supply chain; climate change, including water, chemicals, carbon footprint; decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods. The programme will include an overview of the European Year of Development 's 2015 programme, which will inform the panel discussions, ideas about how to get involved in Fashion Revolution, and ways to inspire young people to take part and design a new future. Each event will include inspiring documentary film screenings (The True Cost, Traceable and Udita), a panel discussion and a photographic exhibition on the subject of sustainability in fashion and the important role of development cooperation in the textile and fashion industry. Exciting and compelling new images for Fashion Revolution by fashion photographer Stephanie Sian Smith and styled by Novel beings on the theme of #whomademyclothes will encourage attendees to think differently about the clothes they chose. The exhibition will also include images of garment workers saying  'I Made Your Clothes', as well as photographs of celebrities and key opinion formers in fashion to ensure that the visual link between makers and wearers will follow the thread between fashion lovers and the people who make the clothes we buy. With the new [UN] global developments goals hot off the press, 2015 is decisive year when we can make our mark on history and young people 's voices need to be heard. We want the Arts and Speakers Tour discussions to be inclusive, encouraging the audience to suggest ways in which they and their peers can help to bring about much needed change within the global arena. Young people will inherit this planet, and fostering a sense of ownership and the permission to become agents for change will go a long way towards showing brands and governments that changes matter, that fashion can be a key instrument for positive action, leading the way to a more transparent approach (Source: de Castro 2015, np link).

What is your hope for the film as we prepare for release (Source: Morgan in Morgan & Firth nd, np link)?

That it is seen by every single person on the planet. Is that too ambitious?!!! And that fast fashion will finally say OK we get it - we are slowing down’ (Source: Firth in Morgan & Firth nd, np link).

If people were to take one message from [the film], what would you like that message to be (Source: Amin 2013, np link)?

I don't want to feel guilty if I love the things that I love to wear. What I'm trying to get through is: let's all take a step back from this incessant process of consuming mediocre stuff (Source: Morgan in Quiros 2015, np link).

No one should walk out of the film and love the things they wear less (Source: Morgan in Vela 2015, np link).

[Instead,] I would love to see people walk away … having a new conversation about what the true cost of our consumption really is. There are clear violations of the most basic human rights that we must account for. There is irresponsible care of the environment, damaging the world we will leave to our children. But perhaps most importantly, this is something we have the power to change (Source: Morgan in Amin 2013, np link).

We've created a world that is increasingly being led by the interests of multinational corporations and that is proving to be incredibly problematic. You look at an industrial disaster on [the] scale [of Rana Plaza] and then two years later the changes that have been made are marginal and at best they're treating some of the symptoms, and not even that very effectively by the way (Source: Morgan in Minow 2015, np link).

[W]e’ve created an economic model … where we only are assessing bottom-line profits. And in a model that only assesses and only incentivizes narrowly defined bottom-line profits. These companies actually have a responsibility to shareholders to do everything in their power to increase this quarter's profit. And that comes at the expense of a lot of these other things, so how do we improve it? I think we start to look more carefully at what as it says in the film, what the true cost is. When you look at the environmental costs, natural resources and waste, are totally externalized from the equation. They are not even been calculated. When you look at human labor that can be pressed and pressed as the one point in the supply chain that can get cheaper, you very quickly just to start to realize, 'Hey this is an outdated model and we just need to adjust and evolve to a more humane place moving forward'. The model itself has to adjust and I think that 's what I'm focused on. The model has to evolve if we are going to see the people involved to be anything more than exploited (Source: Morgan in Minow 2015, np link).

The whole system begins to feel like a perfectly engineered nightmare for the workers trapped inside of it (Source: Morgan in Faherty 2015, 244)

Shima Akhter, the garment worker we follow, says … they are stuck. They have no other choice unless we break this cycle  (Source: Firth in Morgan & Firth nd, np link).

Last year, … I interviewed Nazma Aktar a union worker in Dhaka. She said she wants brands to treat the lives of garment workers at the same level as they treat the lives of people in the West. Their lives are not cheaper and yet we consider them like that (Source: Firth in Morgan & Firth nd, np link).

[So, w]e’re eager for [brands] to see [the film too]. … They were not interested when we were making it, and they're very interested in it now that it's coming out (Source: Morgan in Lee 2015, np link).

[If viewers] were to act upon that message, what action would they take (Source: Amin 2013, np link)?

[E]ven if I can't change this whole industry today, I could start to be more conscious, I could start to be more aware, more kind, I could start to make better choices (Source: Morgan in Minow 2015, np link).

I want to get people leveraging their purchasing power and also just the power of awareness to begin to see the need to move because business can make changes to move forward but they typically only ma[k]e that when customers demand they do (Source: Morgan in Minow 2015, np link).

I want people to have the understanding that when they go into a store, and pick up a piece of clothing, that human hands touched and made and created that thing (Source: Morgan in Signer 2015, np link).

When you buy something that you really desire, you care for it in a different way. … You make an investment, and this is what our wardrobe should be made of: investment pieces that last for ever, not throwaway pieces that we don't care about (Source: Firth in Lee 2015, np link).

We can make better-informed choices and support brands that honor the people who are making our clothes. I think more brands are doing this, and each of us should seek out those brands that care. I think it starts with reducing the sheer quantity, and then beginning to buy quality and appreciating the story’ that you are wearing (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

… and those [demands] should go to the brands … [who] need to say, we're going to slow down, and tweak our model, to not be predicated on sixty seasons a year (Source: Morgan in Signer 2015, np link).

What can consumers do to help workers in the apparel supply chain (Source: Geffner 2016, np link)?

After the film discuss your thoughts and emotions. Did the film make you change your thinking or perception on the clothing industry? ‘The True Cost’ website (here) has helpful tips and articles on the subject (Source: Banke nd, np link).

5 TIPS FOR SHOPPING SMARTER. … #1 WILL YOU WEAR IT 30 TIMES? The rapid turnover of trends characterising Fast Fashion means clothes are disposable. Along with the deflation of clothing prices this has put the supply chain under unprecedented pressure leading directly to outrages like Rana Plaza and Tazreen (the 2012 Dhaka fashion factory fire that killed over 100).  Just asking yourself if you will wear a prospective item 30 times is a great place to start shopping smarter and more intentional. #2 BREAK THE CYCLE: The traditional spring/summer autumn/winter of international fashion weeks is just for show. Zara, the Spanish fast fashion behemoth broke the mold, introducing mini seasons every week. 50-100 new micro seasons a year is the new normal. So slow down your fashion cycle. #3 SPREAD YOUR FASHION $: The global fashion industry is worth $2.5 trillion. Shouldnt this be shared? Look for producer centric brands like People Tree run to rigorous Fairtrade standards with longstanding producer groups who get a fair share of the profits. #4 DETOX YOUR WARDROBE: Fashion is the world's second most polluting industry after oil. Notably, Azodyes are still the most used synthetic dyes despite being toxic. 10% of the world's biggest fashion brands have committed to phasing out toxic substances through Greenpeace s Detox programme. Check the list here. #5 JOIN THE FASHION REVOLUTION: Be the change you want to see in your wardrobe (to paraphrase Gandhi). Fashion Revolution ( represents millions of consumers who want change and also commemorates Rana Plaza by putting pressure on the brands to increase transparency and empowers consumers to be inquisitive about #whomadetheirclothes (Source: Siegle nd, np link).

What government policies should be in place to protect workers (Source: Geffner 2016, np link)?

We are working on this with the United Nations. The problem is that we live in a globalized economy, but we are operating under a nationalistic set of rules and laws pitting developing countries against each other and creating a race to the bottom. So, how can we begin to raise the bar at the bottom? We are creating national and international wage agreements. From a U.S. perspective, we can do this through import laws. For example, there are certain laws in place for the types of chemicals that can be used. We think it would be good to also include responsibility for the conditions under which the products are made. We can start with what is coming in and make profound improvements. It is not going to be simple, but it starts with political will, which I think starts with awareness, which is where we are now (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

Where would you send people to get active in government policies (Source: Geffner 2016, np link)?

Presently, you will find many of the best groups out there linked on our Web site under Learn More.’ Labor Behind the Label is a good one, as is the International Labour Organization s program under the United Nations called Better Work. Another big one is Fashion Revolution. They have an annual event on Fashion Revolution Day, which takes place on the anniversary of Rana Plaza, April 24. It is a growing international hub and the central force right now (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

Connor Boyle works with the Better Work Program, part of the ILO. Learn more about their work HERE … Want to join millions of others in asking Who Made My Clothes?Learn more about Fashion Revolution HERE. … John Hilary is the Exec. Director at War on Want; an organization committed to fighting global poverty. Learn more about their work HERE (Source: Anon ndd, np link).

I meet a lot of people who believe deeply in the value of human rights, of women's rights in this industry particularly, and of environmental care and protection. So when they see the film or we have a conversation, they say I never connected those values to my individual choices.’ I think this can be an exciting gateway for people to say Wow, I am a human being and make choices every day, and those choices add up, and they have an impact … and while I can advocate for things globally, it is powerful to start thinking individually’ (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

Morgan [has] … joined the dots between fashion, consumerism, capitalism and structural poverty and oppression (Source: Siegle 2015, np link).

[The True Cost shows that the] fashion business IS politics, it IS humanity and it IS a matter of life and death (Source: Siegle in Morgan & Siegle nd, np link).

The experience of telling this story completely re-oriented my view of the world and my role in it (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

I hope that does for other people … what it has done for me the last two years. It actually added meaning to my life, it connected me more to the kind of world that I want to live in (Source: Morgan in Minow 2015, np link).

Discussion / Responses

The first time I watched The True Cost was just over a year ago. It had the same effect on me then, as it does now. One of utter disbelief (Source: Sohotey-Khan 2017, np link).

I wanted to avoid it. I wanted to remain ignorant because I loved shopping at mainstream / fast fashion stores (Source: Amazon Customer 2016, np link).

I was worried that it would be too depressing to watch (Source: Lalelilolu 2017, np link).

I didn't even know it existed (Source: Maz 2017, np link).

The news rarely covers this issue and it appears every now and then as if it is an accident that is unexpected not ignored (Source: randaashraf-70075 2015, np link).

… its all covered up because if theres word about it the companies will lose customers (Source: Baby Girl Bri 2015, np link).

We ... have so little information about what is happening out in the world [because f]ashion is driven by capitalism. Fashion magazines, for example, are supported financially by the advertisements in them. These advertisements are from large, powerful companies, so the magazines can’t criticise them. This is the reality. But the spread of the internet has helped to change this and raise awareness (Source: Ikoma in Minney 2016, np).

Things like this are buried but sensational crap is hyped (Source: Maz 2017, np link).

[The True Cost is] available on Netflix, or £3.50 on Youtube (or 1 hot chocolate - in London at least!), or £5.99 on iTunes (cheaper than a t-shirt from H&M). I watched it on Netflix and found it incredible. It is informative without being condescending. It is cleverly and beautifully shot. Watch it with friends, split the cost, spread the word :) x (Source: Anna 2017, np link).

Various people have recommended this documentary to me since it came out a few years ago, but I didn't bother to watch it because I thought I already knew the story. I knew most of the clothes I was buying were made by poor women in China or other parts of Asia. I knew their working conditions were terrible. I knew they were being paid almost nothing for their work. I knew that the factories making these clothes were polluting the local areas. I knew all of that, and yet after seeing this documentary, I now see that I knew nothing (Source: Turner 2020, np link).

[It contains] glimpses of the stuff I love - the excitement, the glamour, the making of the clothes - the downright absurd (the fashion haulers made me laugh a lot) and the utterly shameful (Source: Siegle in Morgan & Siegle nd, np link).

[Andrew Morgan says] ‘my god, we can do better than this’ ugh that just got me for some reason (Source: Meyer 2015, np link).

I was crying throughout the hole thing (Source: Elysia M 2016, np link).

I cried balling out my eyes actually (Source: Baby Girl Bri 2015, np link).

It made me cry, but the most important, it made me think. … This is the best documentary i have ever seen no doubts (Source: LaColom 2018, np link).

It's different to watch … this and know that when I order a dress from Amazon for $20, it could have been made by Shima, the lovely young Bangladeshi woman interviewed in the film. If I buy this dress, I'm complicit in her being beaten by her boss for asking about safer working conditions. I'm complicit in her being forced to work a long distance from her young daughter because she isn't being paid enough to have her child live with her near her workplace (Source: Turner 2020, np link).

It got me thinking, like, that woman made my shoes. She made my shirt. She made my friend's clothes. She made my mum's clothes. She's still making clothes for other people (Source: Honore in Barenblat 2015, np link).

By giving my money to the types of companies featured in this film, I'm supporting the factories dumping chromium and other hazardous chemicals into the water and soil, causing unbelievable health problems for the locals. There is a scene in the film where a father is interviewed about how his young daughter's liver has been damaged by the huge amount of chromium being expelled by local factories. He looks so powerless with his daughter sitting beside him … a girl that is roughly the age of my own daughter. Seeing that young girl and knowing her life will be shortened, her health damaged, because people like me wanted to buy cheap clothing has affected me deeply (Source: Turner 2020, np link).

They [also] interviewed a women who had lost her legs in the Rana Plaza collapse and it was just like, I was in tears at that point. And I just thought, 'for what? So we can buy a $5 t-shirt at a chain store?’ That's literally what it comes down to because we want deals, and we want to be able to do, you know, 'clothing haul' videos or whatever it is that we want to have here in North America, and in other parts of the world as well (Source: Alexandria 2015, np link).

I never would have thought so many people would suffer just so I could wear cute clothes to school. And they only earn $2! So many people just want more and more while these people have nothing! Im only 12 and some kids my age do this at my age and get sick or might lose a limb for 2$! Its so unfair and cruel and yet they only care about the people who wear it (Source: Stefs Gaming and Beauty 2015, np link).

No dress is that beautiful or is going to make you feel that good if it's hurting someone else. Someone else is suffering to make it (Source: Alexandria 2015, np link).

I personally do not ever want to think that someone died for me to be able to purchase and wear a $5 t-shirt (Source: Makayla 2016, np link).

Some people are dead because of some sily shirt or boots (Source: Apy.m 2017, np link).

I wonder if this young man spreading the chemical over the plants is still alive (Source: Delawarensis 2019, np link).

[Watching this] makes you look around your living space and particularity around your clothes closet(s) and wonder: ‘What was I thinking?’ … (Source: Gina K 2017, np link).

‘Why did I buy you again? Did I really need you?’ … (Source: Hampton 2015, np link).

‘[D]id someone lose someone, or their own life making this shirt.’ … 'Whoever made my shirt, I am sorry' (Source: Kailu and Jade 2016, np link).

[Now] I feel way different when I see new clothes In a store. Who knows how much they struggled to make that so I could wear it when they need it most! They deserve so much more (Source: Stefs Gaming and Beauty 2015, np link)!

[A]ll I wanted to do was to just give back any frivolous purchase I'd ever made in order to, you know, save someone's life. And I know it's not that easy. And I know you can't go back in time but it was just uh! so sad (Source: Alexandria 2015, np link).

[I]t just seems so obvious, like, 'this is how we fix the problem: we care about the people more than we care about the stuff that we're getting' (Source: Alexandria 2015, np link).

I wish we could stream this [movie] in every major city on all of the big screen TV's they have on the buildings that practically look down and laugh at us creating our own poverty. Fools (Source: BeautifulSnowflake28 2019, np link).

If the fashion industry has been making trillions in the last decade with the burgeoning of advertising inspired fashions that change weekly …, then someone is getting rich. However, it is not those lower along the supply chain; [and] it is not the American consumer who must finance moderately priced cars and important purchases, while consoling themselves that at least they can afford a lot of cheap clothing (Source: Di Tosti 2015, np link).

Americans prefer not to think about … the sweatshop origins of our clothes … especially the millions living paycheck to paycheck, near Walmarts and mall stores, a population that s also being punished by the pitiless market forces that Morgan swats at (Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link).

[So, for] consumers who have become - understandably - addicted to low retail clothing prices in difficult financial times … the film is sadly unlikely to affect [their] buying habits (Source: Scheck 2015, np link).

I was quite intrigued watching this movie and was in complete support of [Morgan’s] movement, right until I visited your website and saw how [he was] distributing the movie (Source: Baumberger 2015, np link)?

How can you credibly criticize companies operating sweatshops, but then distribute the movie through Apple iTunes, thereby indirectly supporting companies operating those sweatshops (like Foxconn) and further fostering the very capitalist system, whose sustainability you are questioning in the documentary (Source: Baumberger 2015, np link)?

[A]hahahaha. … This is … worse than fast fashion (Source: WaitingMove 2015, np link).

So? They should not make a movie like this (Source: Moorman 2017, np link)?

If you take a closer look you can see than the problem is mostly caused by women, and the ones that suffer the most are also women. Where are you feminist (Source: Quiroz 2019, np link)??

No one seems to see that women, are by in large, the drivers of the oppression of less fortunate women around the world. I think it boils down to the fact that you can't tell women that they have the power to change the world, because that goes against public discourse; that they are perpetual victims who have no control, even over their own actions, and that the only way for them to exercise control is through the ballot. Ladies, you can stop all of this. Just stop buying bullshit! Stop trying to fill the emptiness inside with little trinkets of momentary happiness while you drive your families into debt, and find out what makes you beautiful from the inside out. Forgodsakes before it's too late (Source: Masta 2015, np link).

how about the mass media, or the men who run these fashion houses and are the ones in control of the worker' pay checques. but no, lets just gloss over all that and blame feminism (Source: Emielle___ 2016, np link).

[S]eeing that infant on the floor next to his exploited mother .... shame on NIKE , shame on H&M, shame on .... ME (Source: Roy 2018, np link).

[T]his world is digusting, watch the dead child at 1:34 [of the trailer] :OOOOO (Source: Raumplaner 2016, np link).
Dude, that kid is sleeping while its mom is working. She had to take her kid to work (Source: piiinkDeluxe 2016, np link).

[I]’m working on my computer, and my toddler is laying on the floor playing. So what? People are responsible for themselves (Source: Holman 2020, np link).

You're really insensitive. The situation on the video is much worse. The toddler clearly isn't playing. The condition the mother is working in is atrocious. You cant just compare the two (Source: Pedro 2020, np link).

No I'm not. You can't blame clothing designers for the problems of other cultures. There is a huge caste system in many countries. They're poor and then their religion says that Karma made them that way so no one helps them. It's them (Source: Holman 2020, np link).

Just because their religion claims they deserve it doesn't mean we shouldn't help them. Really bad mentality. In reality they need our help because this cycle on poverty will just keep getting worse (Source: Pedro 2020, np link).

How do you know they're not happy? They may be perfectly happy. It's your white privilege that's blinding you. Go back to your privileged life. You're not helping anyone, and you never will. You help yourself (Source: Holman 2020, np link).

She clearly isn't happy, no one working in those conditions must be happy, no matter the culture. People like you are obsessed with race. Why are you bringing white privilege up? I shouldn't care about someone because I am white? It's absurd. I have no idea why I waste my breath with people like you no matter what you say, no matter if you call out me being white, I'll still care about what happens to others (Source: Pedro 2020, np link).

I'm not obsessed with race at all. I'm pointing out your naivety because of your privileged life style. You're just virtue signaling how wonderful you are, but in reality you're all mouth, no action. Just stop already (Source: Holman 2020, np link).

If I am privileged then so are you. You shouldn't compare you and your toddler to the woman and her toddler because it's completely different. I've had enough with you. Have fun not caring about others (Source: Pedro 2020, np link).

I just wanted to see a movie about the fashion industry, not a 90 minute propaganda film telling me how evil I am for buying a t-shirt (Source: anonymouse-27283 2015, np link).

Even if, like me, you agree with the points that it s fumbling toward … (Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link).

… [b]y piling horror upon horror … (Source: Kermode 2015, np link).

... [and] spreading its net so widely it really doesn't have time to look in depth at any one of its subjects, and the links between them may not always be clear to the uninitiated (Source: Kermode 2015, np link).

Just about every topic mentioned … could warrant its own documentary, journal article, book, or possibly even a field of research (Source: Faherty 2015, 242).

There's a danger that viewers will go away feeling too overwhelmed by the problems presented to them to take any useful action (Source: Kermode 2015, np link).

[D]oing less might actually have added up to more (Source: Friedman 2015, np link).

But the economic systems that connect garment workers in countries like Bangladesh and Cambodia to North American, European, and Asian consumers are complicated, often intentionally obscure, and they affect people and ecosystems all over the globe, so the film's wide angle view makes sense. … [F]or a documentary meant to introduce the topic, that's a reasonable directorial choice to make (Source: bradley_flamm22 2018, np link).

The [filmmakers] are using the suffering of … innocent people to advance their distorted perspective, they are no better than the factory owners (Source: anonymouse-27283 2015, np link).

[Their film] has no shortage of sob stories, tragic imagery, sweeping descriptions (Source: Faherty 2015, 244).

Early on, a Bangladeshi garment worker tells us about being pinned beneath a rubbled wall in the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse. After she has spoken for a couple seconds, the film cuts to a wide shot, revealing that she has lost her legs - a horror-movie jolt that reduces this real woman to a point-making shock gag. The filmmakers don't even bother to tell us her name (Source: Scherstuhl 2015, np link).

[In another scene where Morgan] is condemning the Main Street megaliths for producing in sweatshops, he slips in photographs of high-end runway shows, implying that they also produce in sweatshops. Yet fashion … is not created equal, and fashion's impacts are not equal. Sports brands have different problems from premium brands, many of which have their own factories, and premium brands have different problems from mass brands. This is not to say that high-end fashion should not be taken to task for its failings, but simply that to police a sector effectively, or call it out on its shortcomings, you need to do it in an informed and realistic way. Otherwise you create openings for companies to dismiss the charges as irrelevant, which can taint the whole project. (Not that any companies, aside from those known to have an ethical agenda like Stella McCartney and People Tree, appeared willing to speak to Mr. Morgan, which suggests they have their own fears about this subject …) (Source: Friedman 2015, np link).

The [movie also] contains a number of highly questionable statistics. Is the fashion industry really the second most polluting industry in the world? How does one quantify and compare different types of pollution? Did 250,000 Indian farmers really commit suicide in response to financial problems caused by Monsanto and GMO crops? No one even knows how many farmers there are in India, but apparently someone knows the precise reason why 250,000 of them killed themselves (Source: Faherty 2015, 243-244)

A cynic might suggest that it does not matter whether these figures are true or even plausible, as long as they are useful as sound bites that can be recycled as memes amongst ideological allies. Granted, documentaries are necessarily condensed and largely non-technical for the sake of time constraints and entertainment, so it would be fine if Morgan made a lot of big claims as long as he backed them up elsewhere, except that . . . The True Cost contains no citations. There are no citations in or after the credits. None of the interviewees refers to specific journal articles or books. There are no citations on the film's website. Googling a citation list offered no results either (Source: Faherty 2015, 243-244).

[Then, t]he charlatan known as Vandana Shiva makes an appearance, spouting out her typical disinformation about the ‘evils’ of GM technology. This woman is not by any means a scientist, and is not in any way an expert on biotechnology or agriculture (Source: tylerwoodrownichols 2017, np link).

[She] has made the rounds by appearing in 37 documentary features, and here she just seems to be beating a dead horse (Source: Tsai 2015, np link).

So many of [Shiva’s] claims have been debunked a thousand times (namely the claim that GM crops have led to increased suicide rates in India) that it almost defies belief that people still listen to anything she says (Source: tylerwoodrownichols 2017, np link).

One scientist [in the film] states that GMO-related pesticide use has caused an epidemic of birth defects and cancers in rural India (Source: Faherty 2015, 242).

I don't know whether this specific claim is true, but I do know that an epidemiological claim based on low-level correlation is massively difficult to prove even in ideal contexts - and rural India isn't one (Source: tylerwoodrownichols 2017, np link).

The ability to design high-yielding crops to adapt to the catastrophic climate change that's on the horizon, or to remedy nutrient deficiencies in the developing world (just read about how Shiva worked tirelessly to sway public opinion against Golden Rice) makes this  [GM] technology invaluable to the future of our species. … [And, s]ay what you want about Monsanto trying to monopolise on seeds (which isn't true by the way, there are other companies in the GM market), just realize that the patenting and marketing of seeds was around way before GM and exists in the ‘organic’ world as well (Source: tylerwoodrownichols 2017, np link).

[And] ‘Organic’ food (and especially clothing, what a joke!) has no health benefits over conventional crops and is actually a hugely profitable capitalist enterprise in itself, despite the wholesomely smug, ‘we're the good guys’ image that these companies use to market their overpriced crops to the worried well (Source: tylerwoodrownichols 2017, np link).

The time wasted on following around [Safia Minney] a woman who works for a ‘fair trade’ clothing company just comes across as a long-winded advertisement, and conveniently skirts the issue that this woman is still a capitalist who is profiting off the labor of people in other countries. She throws the phrase ‘fair trade’ around a whole lot without ever actually defining what it means in respect to her company's business practices. I guess we're supposed to feel good that the poor people in Bangladesh are being slightly less exploited by her company (Source: tylerwoodrownichols 2017, np link).

This movie is biased. A lot. But that doesn't mean that what it isn't saying is right. Because it is (Source: randaashraf-70075 2015, np link).

[I] actually have some friends that work at some of the stores they speak about and corroborated facts (Source: fernanDITO 2015, np link).

I work as a retail assistant for primark and sometimes I'm very ashamed of it. The amount of cheap crap they sell is unbelieveable. We get paid so well, Nearly double minimum wage. If they can afford to pay us so well why can't they do the same for the producers (Source: Orla v. 2018, np link)?

As a seamstress myself, I hope people see the consequences of the fast fashion industry and consumerism as a whole. Garment making is no easy task. It takes years of practice and skill to be able to create clothes with speed and accuracy, so with that said, industry workers should be paid what they deserve so that they can support their family, have a roof over their heads, and to have food on the table (Source: Jennifer 2015, np link).

Everyone should have the opportunity in their lives to sew at least one clothing item for themselves just so that they can get an idea what is involved. Even considering the much greater efficiency of garment workers who sew things all day every day, the exercise will show you just how much work goes into the making of even relatively simple items (Source: mindhorizon 2015, np link).

Being a citizen of a 3rd world country like India, i completely understand the situation of the workers in india and the neighboring countries and how our people are being exploited in every industry. One thing we need to understand is our role in the society. Everyone's role is being reduced to a role of ‘consumer’. Think about it (Source: yssp 2019, np link).

Americans in particular love to tout our economic prosperity and the idea that all capitalism is good capitalism; however, that is simply not true. We are a society in disrepair who fill anger and unhappiness about our economic situations with stuff, not realizing that we're lining the pockets of those who caused this economic disparity (Source: Quigley 2019, np link)?

These Companies Have Money. Forever 21 For Example Has Money Poring Out Of Their Ears (Source: Stefs Gaming and Beauty 2015, np link).

Does Bernard Arnault, owner of fashion conglomerate LVHM and 17 fashion houses who was recently lauded for his inclusion in the $100 billion club, really need $100 billion dollars? Do any of the Walmart heirs need to be worth billions apiece? Does Stefan Persson (H&M) or Amancio Ortega Gaona (Zara) really need to be any richer (Source: Quigley 2019, np link)?

Here are the ingredients of most of today's lefty issues docs: doom, doom, … Monsanto, doom, doom, CNN clips, doom, doom, upbeat guitars and the promise that everything can change if we just get involved.(Source: Scherstuhl 2015, no link).

[The True Cost is] progressive, anti-capitalist, reactionary-environmentalist, anti-GMO, and broadly anti-Western. … Looking through these ideological lenses, Morgan makes all of the same mistakes that the worst proponents of those movements tend to make. To Morgan, just about every person in the world is evil, stupid, or oppressed. The major fashion corporations and their government cronies are evil. The corporations continue to increase their production and profits for the sake of an impulse to accumulate capital’ like mindless beasts, despite the supposedly undeniably awful effects of their actions. Western consumers are stupid. They are basically brainwashed by advertisements and constantly want more useless stuff’ despite the fact that the stuff’ is doing the exact opposite of what they think it is doing; that is, it s making them less happy instead of more happy. Finally, Third-World workers are all oppressed. They have no control over their lives and are simply swept along by their evil overlords at the behest of the stupid masses on the other side of the world (Source: Faherty 2015, 244).

My family (specially my mom) are moguls of garment and textile, they have been in this business since like forever. Not all of us are corporate fat cats because the profession of manufacturing goods is a tough, capital and labor intensive business. Movies like these paint us like we are some spawn of Satan … Yes there has been a fire and building collapse unfortunate incidents that cause a social calamity but it was all done unintentionally. … This movie just corrupted two incident[s] and stretched it to something larger (Source: Saan 2015, np link).

I don't think the film is attacking your family or those who are responsible business owners. Of course, all factories are not the same. … The point of highlighting the incidents is to demonstrate that their gravity can be preventable and practices need to be changed (Source: Leigh 2015, np link).

After the [RanaPlaza] building fell killing so many one such business rep came to a local talk show and said, we shouldn't call them 'owners' because really, Allah (God) owns everything - sort of taking cover under the belief that death comes to us when god wills it, it isn't insured (Source: Imam 2016, np link).

Some of the top factories for garments like us actually are beneficial as we provide employment to both women and men at minimum wage, nurseries for their little ones to be watched over while the parents work, free 2x meals and even hostels. Most of the big factories are strongly against child labors even when the parents or the child begs for the job. Most of the garment workers are female / women … Large-Medium scale factories like us keep prices low by using economies of scale, finding the next best price for the raw materials and using leaner production methods. It's a tough world here in these 3rd world countries and 0.50 cents may seem like nothing to you folks but it can be used here to purchase rice, vegetables and even whole chicken. … I mean few of the workers put up a strike after agreeing to be paid less. I mean in business term when both party agrees on the price and a trade is made then the price of the service / good is considered ‘Just’. They could just say no and not work for low wages if they didn't want to (Source: Saan 2015, np link).

[H]ow can you possibly decipher what is a just or an unjust wage to a family who lives in your polar opposite socioeconomic class? … As for the employees, rejecting the opportunity to work because of a low wage would be an unwise choice (Source: Leigh 2015, np link).

What's their alternative in countries like Bangladesh? … It's not like they've got much choice. Let's be realistic, there aren't many well-paid jobs in these countries for uneducated people from poor families (Source: amalia 2015, np link).

Don't be fooled by the fake notion of 'choice' in the 'free market'. if you don't have a choice to say no without facing or causing harm it is not meaningful (Source: The Panda 2018, np link). 

The thing most people forget is that this is just a stepping stone. Industrialization in the west was like this, you had child workers, women and men working for scraps in horrid conditions but over time conditions improved (Source: tojersu 2015, np link).

I am very happy that my life is so much better because of the sacrifices of those that came before. We can be outraged all we want at the wanton abuse of foreign workers, but we forget that you have to start somewhere. … It may not look like it but this is progress. As more money and capital flows into the developing world they will begin to use the money to pass laws and programs that help the workers and those who are most vulnerable. With time their condition will improve and eventually their standard of living will become comparable to ours. You can't solve poverty and hunger in a day (Source: tojersu 2015, np link).

Only a few hundred years ago the now great and powerful United States was once one big sweatshop. Now they are the richest freest country on Earth (Source: Tan 2017, np link).

[W]e never would have achieved such worldwide economic power without the huge amount of slave labor in the 1800s (Source: Vartan 2015, np link).

The developing world is going through the same growing pains we did (Source: tojersu 2015, np link).

[So, i]f you EVER want these countries to catch up to us, then they HAVE to go through this. Without this, they will STILL be in dirt poor poverty with EVEN WORSE jobs and LOWER Pay and WORSE CONDITIONS of Misery and Strife only working on subsistence farming instead (Source: Tan 2017, np link).

What an absolutely appalling lack of empathy … I just wish that we could make these creeps work for one month in one of these hell-holes (Source: leftbanker-1 2015, np link).

We literally fought in the streets in the last century to end that kind of exploitation of workers and the apologists in this film want us to simply accept this now as the inexorable march of globalism (Source: leftbanker-1 2015, np link).

[And] because people had it worse 50 years ago does not justify to treat them poorly or with disregard to basic human rights today (Source: Oteds 2015, np link).

The True Cost [shows recent] worker protests over low wages in Cambodia, particularly state-enacted violence that resulted in the deaths of several workers. While this is undoubtedly horrific, the ongoing legacy of garment worker protest in Cambodia has proven effective at building people power. According to 2016 living wage data collected by, a standard living wage in Cambodia converts to about $156 USD per month. As of October 2018, Cambodia has raised minimum wages in the garment and shoe production industry to $182 USD per month. Now, this number still falls short of union demands (of $189 per month), but represents a significant increase over the last five years (Source: Wise 2020, np link).

The issue here is that at the same time these workers are being underpaid, the CEOs of these same companies are some of the richest human beings on earth. So their saying that somehow they ‘can't afford’ to pay their workers even a very basic fair salary and provide basic … safety is just not true (Source: Vartan 2015, np link).

[T]he solution is not so easy ... Brands and the factories both have what is known in the business world as 'overhead' costs which is everything it takes to keep the factory running to turn these raw materials into wearable items. If such costs were raised to accommodate appropriate and fair labor conditions the entire fast fashion market would tank … Indeed the whole system as it stands now would tank because everything would have to get marked up even more so. Then the consumer (including ALL of us) would complain about cost of clothing. That cheap Walmart graphic tee for $5 would be $50 (Source: Smith 2015, np link).

You are making excuses for people who are literally massing really insane amounts of riches … The choice COULD be made to pay these Bangladeshi laborers fairly - many companies do make clothes more fairly, and their items are somewhat more expensive, but not dramatically so. Those companies still make money, by being innovative instead of ripping people off. Maybe they make 15% profit instead of 17% (Source: Vartan 2015, np link).

They don't operate at a loss; they're simply not as greedy (Source: amalia 2015, np link).

We can have both growth and fairness (Source: Vartan 2015, np link).

I believe there will be no proper change until there is a proper system failure, the massive middle class of the west has to have it worse and get angry. … This realisation … is the first step towards global system reformation (Source: Oteds 2015, np link).

If something could [change], then by now, it would have!! … Nothing can or will be done about it (Source: welshdragon2008 2015, np link).

if we would all believe in jesus the world would be better. ... if the poor people would believe in jesus they would not suffer. They are poor as punishedment from god because they dont believe in jesus. Actually I'm an atheist. just a troll (Source: Baumgarn 2015, np link).

We don't deserve this beautiful earth. The animals living on it are the only ones that do. Hopefully another mass extinction will happen, and the earth will be able to cure itself from a virus it created; humans (Source: Megadondada 2016, np link).

Maybe, but in the meantime … try to do more. Actually, DO MORE. Saying there is nothing we can do means you won't even try, then it's a self-fulfilled prophecy (Source: RoseChypre 2016, np link).

The corporations and countries need to be held accountable for these gross injustices. Why the fuck isn't the UN or some international tribunal or lawyers stepping in and really fighting for this?? Like enough already!! But of course they'll keep getting away with this as long as we keep voting for this system to remain the same. Not with our elections, but voting with our money. ... When you purchase something, you're essentially voting (Source: Carvajal 2015, np link).

The governments don't create the demand, consumers create the demand. [I]f you want to blame anyone, look in the mirror, it's the consumer. No demand, no supply. Simple economics (Source: valerie r 2019, np link).

I have to admit I bought a lot of stuff from bad companies for little money too but hey it's never too late to begin! Let's fuck up those inhumane companies and start buying with our brains activated (Source: Lakin 2015, np link)!

[So, w]hat kind of clothes can I buy that will not cause harm to people in other countries (Source: paultheuglydog 2019, np link)?

Knowing which brands are the best and which are the worst would at least provide some guidance for people to gravitate to the better brands (Source: bandw 2016, np link).

H&M seems to be featured a lot [in the film], are they a particularly bad offender? I know of their involvement in Rana Plaza, but Ethical Consumer rates them among the better high street retailers for fashion (Source: why 2018, np link).

I'd rather pay more and have fewer clothes, knowing that the persons making them were getting a better quality of life (Source: crystalparker100 2015, np link).

[T]here are heaps of sustainable options out there … E.g. Emma Watson's People Tree brand (Source: Granville 2016, np link).

[L]ook for fair trade brands (Source: Lakin 2015, np link)!

Buy Patagonia (Source: TheGoodTuku 2016, np link).

[I]f enough people say 'You know what? I want to but organic cotton, like, locally grown fabric and clothing that I can just walk down the street and buy and know who made that clothing’ … we can make that happen (Source: Alexandria 2015, np link).

[Yes, but] it is so hard for the majority of people (even in ‘wealthier’ countries) to afford ethically produced clothing. I can't afford ethical clothing, and I know a lot of people who can't either. I can hardly afford the clothing I do buy. So really, people can sit around and tell people that they are awful and should be ashamed for buying cheap clothing, but the reality is is that I can't afford ethical clothing. It isn't that I'm cheap or am hoarding my money. It's that I honest to god don't make enough. So I'm forced to buy my clothes cheap. If anyone knows of ethical, but truly inexpensive clothing brands, I would love to know about them (Source: alliewithbooks 2016, np link).

I just cant stomach buying a white t-shirt made out of 100% organic cotton / fair trade / eco-friendly / biodegradable / blah / blah for $200. … Unfortunately I'm part of that … shame on consumerism in America … cycle, … until the aforementioned t-shirt price drops I'm not sure what else to do (Source: Strain 2015, np link).

Don't buy new clothes (Source: Van Loo 2016, np link).

[L]earn to sew (Source: Willard 2019, np link).
[S]tart washing and darning [y]our T-shirts instead of throwing them out and buying a new one for 5 bucks (Source: Bogovic 2017, np link)!

If there are any thrift stores in your area you can also get clothes from there that are practically new and even though someone else previously paid those companies for the cheap clothes at least they aren't going in the garbage (Source: Streeter 2015, np link).

I've always loved thrifting, but now I really do. : ( (Source: Euphoria 2018, np link).

I know about the secondhand thing but there really aren't much secondhand markets in Singapore … It's either western brands or china brands … [But] thanks for the tips! This really helps (Source: chickenfloss 2015, np link).

I'm a little confused. So [garment workers in developing countries] are working and are not making a lot of money. But if we stop, then wouldn't they not be making any money at all and be jobless? Can someone please answer this so I can get my facts straight (Source: Emzvlogz 2018, np link)?

‘[B]uy eco-friendly’ to save the poor people from their horrid working environments while at the same time basically throwing them on the streets (Source: Kader 2015, np link).

You know what would happen if we DIDN'T shop [for High Street brands]? [Those garment workers] would have NO money and NO jobs. … In the west we look at stuff like this [film] and say 'it's so horrible' and protest, and have plants closed down to help people, meanwhile in these countries these people are like 'STOP PROTESTING YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES... EVERY TIME YOU DO THIS THEY CLOSE A PLANT AND I LOSE MY JOB AND I HAVE A FAMILY TO FEED’ (Source: Vaccaro 2016, np link).

The liberals pick up this popular garment industry cause every 7 or 8 years. When they do, its always the poor workers that take it in neck. If the activist are diligent they are able to shut down the garment factories. This is a nuisance to the industry for about a week and a half. … The people that produce documentaries like this one go to great lengths to avoid looking at all the hardship and starvation they cause (Source: Mabee 2017, np link).

Want to really help [garment workers? L]ook for ways to help modernize their society with the same fundamentals that we built ours on: secure and broad private property rights and equality under the law. Expand freedom and minimize the government (Source: K46620 2016, np link).

I would prefer if they 'modernize their society' by forming a strong labor movement and fighting back like we did. Maybe they can take control of the means of production in the process. The state oppression of organized labor is definitely pushing them in that direction. Violence could erupt. Forming workers cooperatives may ease the burden (Source: derpdaderp1234 2016, np link).

[And] if more people buy fair trade products, the fair trade companies (still in those countries) will grow and will employ more people that will choose to work for them rather than for the companies that exploit them / had to let them go. Also [this] might force these companies to change and offer their employees better conditions (Source: RoseChypre 2016, np link).

If People Tree works, that's great, but the big question is whether or not a People Tree model can scale upward. Can the multi-trillion dollar fashion industry afford to set up their own factories in rural Bangladeshi communities and expend capital building schools and wells? What effect will those higher production costs have on product pricing (Source: Faherty 2015, 247)?

The True Cost's narrative implies that WE - the Western consumers living lives of luxury -  are best equipped to change things, placing us in a role of philanthropist and making garment workers and others living in the Global South our dependents. But this is imperialist thinking, and it dehumanizes those who get placed in the role of exploited.’ … [O]ne way to move past this kind of thinking is to see ourselves as co-exploited. We are all - consumer, citizen, and producer - being exploited by a small group of corporations, CEOs, land owners, politicians, and governments. Some of us are exploited through propaganda we call advertising’ to soften the blow. Some of us are exploited through wage slavery. Others are exploited through Monsanto's suicide seeds’ that don't allow farmers to propogate their own crops. But we are on the same page, fighting against the same broken systems. This doesn't negate individual and systemic power structures within our own ranks, but it does provide a better view of reality. Until we realize that we're vulnerable, too, we will continue to demonize fast fashion shoppers instead of the vast web of corporate and political interests that make fast fashion seem like the only option (Source: Wise 2020, np link).

[The True Cost] will make a good starting point for people interested in learning more about this complex industry. In many ways it's a good guide for people just getting involved in fashion professionally, or studying it at college (Source: Kermode 2015, np link).

[T]his kind of documentary must be shown in schools all around the world (Source: Rephren 2017, np link).

I am an ethics professor and fair trade activist. I have shown several films on sweatshop labor over the years, and this is my and my students' hands-down favorite. It does a beautiful job of addressing the environmental impact, as well as the ethical/social impact, of the fast-fashion industry. The film does not offer explicit solutions, so after viewing the film I think it is especially important for viewers to reflect on and discuss the steps they can take to undermine this cruel, destructive system (Source: Lundquist 2016, np link).

I did a showing of this film in my high school class and a unit centered on fast fashion and it was eye opening for MANY of my students (Source: Stephanie 2018, np link).

250 fashion design students at Parsons New School of Design – home to the likes of Donna Karan and Tom Ford – got to see the film and talk to Andrew Morgan after the screening (Source: Barenblat 2015, np link).

[J]ust before the finish of that film, [Morgan says] ‘we need to turn consumers into activists’. Well, they may have created one in me (Source: Bellizzi 2019, np link).

[After I watched it] I got excited because I realised, like, yes I can make a positive difference and I really have to research and figure this out (Source: Alexandria 2015, np link).

This movie gives me a sense of purpose in my life (Source: Ysf Krwn 2020, np link).

I am left with the feeling that I have to do something (Source: A D 2016, np link)!

Thanks Andrew for re-instilling within me a sense of meaning, purpose, and enlightenment (Source: Rustick 2016, np link).

There should be a code printed on the bottom of all receipts from H&M, Forever 21 et al for a free rental of this film (Source: Alex M 2016, np link).

Does anyone knows more movies / docu's about things like this (Source: Evers 2015, np link)?

Why is this not on Netflix anymore :( (Source: Odesza 2020, np link).

Impacts / Outcomes

The True Cost … has been one of the most important fashion documentaries of the last decade (The Hollywood Reporter named it among the 10 most influential ones!) and truly helped change the conversation around fashion forever (Source: Firth in Ifteqar 2020, np link). 

[It has] undoubtedly [become] the most-referenced documentary in conversations about sustainable fashion (Source: Farra 2017, np link).

This film, along with a growing acceptance of the global climate crisis, led to [a] pressing movement of the '10s: sustainability. Today, most brands have made a gesture towards being more environmentally-friendly; whether those are genuine or not is another matter entirely. Never has awareness of the industry's environmental impact been so high, yet never have we chewed up and spit out so many clothes (Source: Beresford 2019, np link).

It was the first real documentary of its kind and it's impact has been colossal. It's launched sustainable fashion activists into the spotlight and given workers a voice. It's started a conversation amongst consumers and everybody is talking. High street retailers have had no choice but to react and are now retrospectively incorporating sustainable efforts into their day-to-day business operations. Industry game-changers are popping up everywhere; marketplace business models, tech-driven start-ups and ethically-minded innovators. Those agile enough are choosing to self-disrupt to get ahead (Source: Anon 2019, np link).

The True Cost has awoken us to the truth, and it’s up to us to work out how we transform and express this reality. Director Andrew Morgan expressed it through film because he’s a film director. We are all doing different things in life, so we can perhaps think about it more individually (Source: Sueyoshi in Minney 2016, np).

We need to take our own power back and take responsibility for the decisions that we're making. And, again, I say 'we' but I mean me right now because … I have the control over my life in that way. But I definitely want to encourage other people to become passionate about that and to want to make choices that benefit us all. Because we're all in this together. It's so, so true (Source: Alexandria 2015, np link).

Through my experience of working in a clothing company, I know that not all of them are bad. There are people in the industry that want to change it, but consumers tend to buy the cheaper products, which keeps prices low. If consumers start to change their criteria for what they buy, the companies will also change. So please don’t feel that this is hopeless. Think before you buy something, because that is what is going to make a difference (Source: Kamada in Minney 2016, np).

Here s what you can do to be a responsible shopper and consumer of fashion. First, learn the truth. Watch the documentary The True Cost on Netflix. This is a great primer for you to learn about the fast fashion industry. There are also plenty of analysis about the film, and the geek in me sang in joy with this mind map plotting all the facts and factors of fast fashion. Next, take stock of what you own. The fact that I Kondo-ed my wardrobe right before I watched the documentary was pure coincidence. But it would not have changed my mind about purging my wardrobe. In fact, learning from The True Cost would have given me a stronger sense of purpose with my wardrobe mission. If you have not been touched by the magic of Marie Kondo in sparking joy in your life, you can catch the show on Netflix, or learn the basics of KonMari here. Donate your clothes responsibly. Your unwanted clothes need to go somewhere. I have decided that mine will not go to third world countries, nor to the landfill. I want it to go to thrift stores, or given to families in need. It is possible to learn how to donate clothing responsibly to non-profit organizations. In Hong Kong, the fast fashion industry has teamed up with local players to recycle unwanted clothes. You can also find many reputable charities that could dispose of them responsibly. Learn the capsule wardrobe method. This is a to-do for me. I learned that there is a method called capsule wardrobe on building a minimal wardrobe to cover your everyday life. The idea is to whittle down your wardrobe to fifty items or less. The trick is to see what items can go with most clothes (a black jacket, for example), things that will last for a long time (e.g. a quality sweater), and a matching color set. After you have done the KonMari method and learned what you need to build a capsule wardrobe, take a time out before you go to the next step. Buy better. This is probably the best part of the entire process (not that I have experienced it yet at this point of writing). You can now shop for what you really need. But remember what you have seen in the documentary, and learn the methods to buy better. For me, it means spending the money to buy better quality stuff that will last longer, and to buy it from companies that support fair trade. I need to put in the work to see which of these brands has the style of clothing that suit me, and that is available in Hong Kong or easily shopped online. Join the Fashion Revolutionary movement. Feeling militant? If you want to do more to reduce the impact of fast fashion around the world, you can join the #FashionRevolutionary movement. There is a series of activities you can do as a consumer, including sending messages to fast fashion retailers asking for information on their supply chain process, and their fair trade practices. This not only puts pressure on the companies to do better, but it also equips you with better information on which brands to shop from, responsibly (Source: Manjaji 2019, np link).

I stopped buying fast fashion clothing just after watching [the] trailer of this documentary. And I am so proud of myself for not supporting this unsustainable business (Source: Firszt 2019, np link).

I watch [the] trailer before I go shopping (Source: Kruki 2018, np link).

I have started to change my shopping habits (Source: Natalia 2016, np link).

I've not been back to Wal-Mart since watching this and don't plan on going back (Source: Dave 2016, np link).

I lost appetite for buying fast-fashion and I now basically ignore those brands. I don't feel excited anymore about the ‘deals’ I used to think I was getting. I know I may still be buying ‘disguised’ fast-fashion BUT at least I now have a strong awareness and can make a more informed shopping choice (Source: Lucy 2019, np link).

I felt like I couldn't know these things [from the movie] and still shop in a way that perpetuated the industry working this way. I felt convicted that wanting the privilege of cheap clothes meant that I valued my comfort (ability to buy a cheap new dress, shirt, or whatever, whenever I wanted to) more than the lives of people who are barely surviving by working in this industry. I did not want to contribute to the demand for sweat shop clothes any more (Source: AndrewD 2016, np link).

I am now very concious of what I buy and where it was made (Source: Samsara 2015, np link).

I have stepped off the treadmill of bringing cheap disposable clothes into my life. I did not really love the things I was wearing. I have now made clothing a more conscious decision really thinking about the pieces that I want, the pieces that I need, that I am going to love, and that will last. It has given me space both mentally and financially (Source: Morgan in Geffner 2016, np link).

It feels like an insurmountable problem, and there are plenty who will argue that capitalism is ‘lifting these people out of poverty,’ but I personally will never be the same after watching this. It came at the perfect time, during the COVID pandemic, when I actually had the time to sit and reflect on what I saw. My behavior is forever changed. I've already found myself searching for shoes on Amazon, adding them to my cart, then deleting them once I researched where they were made (China). I'm seeking out brands made in the U.S., or in other countries with some kind of worker and environmental protections. I've been seeking out clothes and shoes in thrift stores for my family. I will no longer accept the excuses and lies of companies that speak out about sweatshops, but then claim they aren't responsible for what their ‘contractors’ do, because of course, they themselves don't own the factories. I have a lot to learn, but I'm so grateful to this documentary for opening my eyes (Source: Turner 2020, np link).

gotta say i'm as guilty as anyone for buying clothes made in vietnam / china etc. since i played sports as a kid and adored nike / adidas etc. but over the past year i've made an effort to only buy from local shops that make their clothes in California and what i've found is that i've actually gotten better value with my $50 American made shirts due to the fact that the materials hold up a lot longer than cheap $15 shirts made in china which I end up throwing out after about a year, just letting you guys know that a lot of the times its economically viable to buy stuff that isn't made by little kids in sweatshops (Source: rhumbadjemba 2015, np link).

I started buying a lot of clothes at Threads For Thought (online store) and a few things at American Apparel. I bought my first pair of ethically made shoes (Source: AndrewD 2016, np link)!

I have been buying handmade, sustainable, eco friendly clothing for a few years ago and this documentary helped me understand on an even deeper level why that is so important for me (Source: Lily 2015, np link).

I am hoping to find more thrift stores in my area and reliable brands (Source: Natalia 2016, np link).

I now think carefully of what I need and look for used if I can. If I can't find it I plan to sew more (Source: Samsara 2015, np link).

My daughter and I made a commitment to each other while watching this movie to stop the excessive consumerism we practice and change. Our world, life and future depends upon it and now that we know we cannot contribute to the horrible abuse of the factory workers. It is obscene (Source: Alisonas 2019, np link).

I watched this with my 14-year-old daughter. She could name some of the ‘stars’ of the YouTube haul videos. I hope she never watches those uncritically again. She and I have volunteered at the local charity clothing shop, sorting bags of donated clothing (Source: A Mom 2016, np link).

Ive been trying to be mindful of purchases especially clothing trying to buy second hand much to the dismay of my Nike obsessed 11 year old son who doesnt quite grasp the magnitude of waste. Even though this documentary has a female focus, it held his attention and whether he admits it or not it was clear the message opened his eyes to issues beyond his cool sneakers. We agreed we would think about the film when we are considering textile or fashion related purposes, and if it's actually worth the cost. A lesson I think it s never too early to learn (Source: SarahJ 2019, np link).

Sarah Jessica Parker  ... [Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City] ... will only buy secondhand clothes for her son, James, after seeing the film The True Cost. ... “... The documentary ... really changed me ...” [she said] (Source: Harwood 2016, np link).

In January 2016 I made a resolution to not buy any new clothes for a whole year. One year on, I’m pleased to say - I completed the challenge. ... [One of the] factors that made me decide to stop buying clothes [was] ... I happened to watch a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost (Source: Oh Yeah Sarah 2017, np link).

When people see this film, they may become reluctant to work in the fashion industry. But after seeing this film, I felt the power of fashion (Source: Ikoma in Minney 2016, np).

I think what we’re seeing in [fashion] schools like Parsons is sustainability begin to be one of the most exciting aspects of the curriculum (Source: Morgan in Barenblat 2015, np link).

In my 13 years of teaching we're seeing a completely new kind of fashion student. They are people who want to make a difference in the industry (Source: Rissanen in Barenblat 2015, np link).

I will be going to London in the summer to study fashion and design, so this film has given me a very good opportunity to think about how I might design (Source: Member of audience 1 in Minney 2016, np).

[In one class where students] were shown The True Cost .… [t]hey looked visibly shaken … and started discussing their role as designers and what they could do to reduce their contribution to waste, or how they could find design solutions that didn't affect the environment adversely. Real education is about lighting a spark … and this was the spark that set the context for the activity to follow. They then looked at a slide outlining the generic value chain of a garment, and discussed how they could possibly make better choices at each stage i.e. design, production, distribution, use, and disposal (Source: Gupta & Goel 2019, p.119 link).

[I]n my fashion class, Apparel Product Development, we were given an assignment to watch … The True Cost. After simply sitting down for two hours to watch this movie, my entire perspective on the fashion industry has changed … I'm extremely grateful that my professor decided to assign this documentary to my class. It opened my eyes, and I'm sure it also opened the eyes of many of my classmates. That is why I decided to write about this topic, so that I can help spread the message that this documentary found important enough to share. We should all do our part to make factory workers' lives safer, and have their stories heard so that they don't have to go through the same thing as the Rana Plaza workers. I hope that all of you can think about what it truly means when the tag on your clothing reads Made in China’ or Made in India’ and who exactly sacrificed their wellbeing for the fast fashion that is so desired today (Source: Louzeiro 2019, np link).

This documentary inspired me to do my graduation project about our fashion industry. It makes me sick and sad, seeing al those people suffer while producing our clothes. When I'm graduated I would love to start an initiative for fair fashion (Source: Brouwer 2016, np link).

Same it kinda inspired me to do my major work on the materialistic society (Source: Be 2017, np link). 

[Shima, the garment worker featured in the movie, is] in her early 20s and she's the same age as most of our students around the time that they graduate. In ten years time they will be in design leadership positions in companies and they will have some power and some say (Source: Rissanen in Barenblat 2015, np link).

After … I watched the documentary ‘The True Cost’ … I knew in that moment that there was something that I could be doing right now to positively impact this industry. So I went to India for three months where I worked on cotton farms, talked to farmers, visited factories and broadly began to learn about what is really going on in this space. When I came back to Melbourne I did more research and decided to go to Bali, which produces a lot of bamboo, because I learned that bamboo was the most sustainable fabric in this moment. So I spent the year there creating the brand and the company. Now we’re back in Australia creating our own production house so that we can have full control and made sure that  our growth is done in the most sustainable and ethical way possible (Source: Cameron in Calian 2018, 114 link).

After watching the documentary, one brand in California called Triarchy took their entire business offline for a year to reevaluate their brand. Twelve months later they were back on the scene with a wholly overhauled business model and sustainable denim as their number one focus (Source: Anon 2019, np link).

The True Cost was a portrait of a massive set of problems from around the world and as helpful as that was at framing a conversation, coming away from that project there was this ongoing interest in me to not just focus on what was wrong with the global supply chain, but also to see a picture of what was possible. I think a lot of the conversations that I've been having with Livia [Firth were] … really around looking for areas where things are being done well, and let's try to take lessons that have been learned in one area and use them for another (Source: Morgan in Murray-Nag 2020, np link).

[Morgan and Firth's] new ... film, The Diamonds of Botswana, … showcases a fairer future for those on the ground. … The short film documents how the diamond mining industry has helped to develop the local resources, demonstrating what can be done when businesses fully commit to the countries in which they are sourcing and producing. By giving a voice to the very human side of the fashion supply chain, Andrew tells us how he hopes to ... encourage people to reconnect to the faces behind the items that they purchase, and help them to imagine a better industry moving forward (Source: Murray-Nag 2020, np link).

The immortal Marilyn Monroe song Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend’ was given new meaning at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday night, where Livia Firth and director Andrew Morgan hosted a screening of their new film The Diamonds of Botswana, which focuses on the ways in which Botswana s women are empowered by their country's diamond industry. Twelve minutes in length, the short film (which you can watch here) focuses on all that Botswana's two main diamond mines - owned by De Beers and Lucara - do to promote sustainability within a notoriously controversial industry. Fast fashion should take a look at Botswana. There are strong female leaders running and working at these companies,’ said Firth at a post-screening Q&A hosted by television correspondent Alina Cho and featuring Morgan, De Beers Head of Corporate Affairs Pat Dambe, Lucara Managing Director Naseem Lahri, and Community Liaison Officer Kgalalelo Mokgweetsi. Firth and Morgan… were inspired by the ways in which sustainable diamond harvesting has benefited Botswana; the country, which began large-scale diamond production in 1972, was rated the least corrupt in Africa in 2018, and does not currently have a gender wage gap of the sort that plagues many nations (including the U.S.). Sustainability is a watchword for the Botswana diamond industry, which currently reinvests 80% of every dollar earned back into the community, says Lahri, who was born, raised, and educated in Botswana. When I wear this ring,’ she told the audience, gesturing to the Botswana diamond on her finger, I know I've empowered a child, a community, and Botswana as a whole’ (Source: Spector 2020, np link).

References / Further Reading

A D (2016) An excellent documentary explaining how our clothing in Australia. Comment on Anon (2015g) The True Cost., 10 June ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

A Mom (2016) I hope I always think of this film when shopping for consumer goods. Comment on Anon (2015g) The True Cost., 13 August ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

Abrams, L. (2015) 'This is a very painful reality': the  'staggering ' human and environmental cost of fast fashion. Salon, 12 June (  last accessed 3 August 2016)

Alex M (2016) Informative. There should be a code printed on the. Comment on Anon (2015g) The True Cost., 28 March (

Alexandria, M. (2015) 'The True Cost' - Must-See! / Ethical Fashion / Putting People Before Things., 6 July ( last accessed 4 August 2016)

Alisonas (2019) Such an important movie. Comment on Anon (2015g) The True Cost., 16 December ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

alliewithbooks (2016) Comment on Movieclips Indie (2015) The True Cost Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Documentary ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

amalia (2015) Comment on Anon (2015a) 'The True Cost' official trailer. ( last accessed 4 August 2016)

Amazon Customer (2016) Everyone needs to see this. Comment on Anon (2015g) The True Cost., 27 January ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

Amin, R. (2013) What is 'The True Cost'? Q&A with film director Andrew Morgan., 2 November ( last accessed 4 August 2016)

AndrewD (2016) Changed the way I shop. Comment on Anon (2015g) The True Cost., 8 September ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

Angela (2015) Customer reviews: The True Cost., 25 July ( last accessed 4 August 2016)

Anna (2017) Comment on Anon (2015a) 'The True Cost' official trailer. ( last accessed 27 July 2020)

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Anon (2015b) The True Cost. ( last accessed 3 August 2016) Anon (2015c) The True Cost: preview screening and talk. The Guardian ( last accessed 4 August)

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Anon (2015e) 'The True Cost' official trailer., 23 April ( last accessed 3 August 2016)

Anon (2015f) The True Cost: featuring a panel discussion and Q&A. Skirball cultural center ( last accessed 4 August 2016)

Anon (2015g) The True Cost., 8 January ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

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anonymouse-27283 (2015) Nice expose of the global fashion industry. Comment on Anon (2015h) The True Cost: User Reviews., 4 July ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

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bandw (2016) Makes you think about the clothes you buy. Comment on Anon (2015h) The True Cost: User Reviews., 2 September ( last accessed 28 July 2020)

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Compiled by Olivia Dubec, Sophie Rees, Amelia Daniel, Becca Craig, Ellie Glynn, Frankie Ward & Katy Jackson as part of the Geographies of Material Culture module at the University of Exeter. Edited by Ian Cook (last updated August 2020). Trailer embedded with the kind permission of Andrew Morgan. Product photo by Chloe Asker.