Analysis of "The True Cost" Documentary: The Consequences of Fast Fashion

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 907 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jun 20, 2019

Words: 907|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jun 20, 2019

Table of contents

  1. Main Issues in "The True Cost" Documentary
  2. Conclusion and Reflection
  3. Works Cited

The documentary "The True Cost," directed by Andrew Morgan, delves deeply into the realm of fast fashion. This thought-provoking film scrutinizes various facets of the apparel industry, ranging from production conditions and the plight of low-wage workers to the global repercussions of cheap clothing. These laborers find themselves toiling in deplorable conditions to satisfy the insatiable demands of the global fashion industry. In this essay we will discuss how "The True Cost" unveils the grim and shadowy underbelly of the fast fashion supply chain, eschewing the glamour and allure often associated with the fashion world. Instead, it sheds light on the sinister forces of greed, exploitation, power, poverty, the intricate interplay between consumers, mass media, globalization, and corporate interests.

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Main Issues in "The True Cost" Documentary

The question arises: Why do we dispose of clothing so thoughtlessly? The answer lies in the relentless barrage of advertising and consumerism aimed at fueling our desire for more. This mindless consumerism, driven by profit-hungry corporations, often obscures the ethical and environmental costs of our actions. It underscores the prioritization of capital accumulation at the expense of human rights, workers' rights, and environmental sustainability. "The True Cost" serves as a stark reminder that the race for profits has dire consequences, with major fashion brands like Forever 21, Zara, and H&M bearing significant responsibility for fostering a rapacious industry.

Drawing from the Center-Periphery theory, countries such as Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, and China are thrust into the same competitive arena. They are compelled to vie with one another to minimize costs and maximize profits for international fashion conglomerates. These nations grapple with inadequate capital resources and substandard wage levels that fail to cover the cost of living.

The concept of "consumption-ism" signifies the relentless depletion and transformation of resources into disposable commodities. The consumption of clothing has surged worldwide, resulting in the mass export of textile materials to developing countries. This influx has subjected these nations to environmental degradation and ecological challenges.

As clothing consumption continues its relentless ascent, the demand for cotton in India has led to the widespread cultivation of genetically modified cotton. However, this pursuit of higher yields has ensnared farmers in a cycle of debt, as the exorbitant cost of seeds far exceeds their capacity to repay. Consequently, many farmers lose their land to corporations, driving some to resort to suicide as a tragic response to their dire circumstances.

Genetically modified crops require the use of pesticides and insecticides, leading to environmental devastation, including birth defects, mental disabilities, and a surge in cancer rates among Punjab's population. The fashion industry ranks as one of the world's most polluting sectors, second only to the oil industry. To address this issue, consumers must exercise greater caution in their purchasing habits, recognizing that each purchase of fast fashion may unwittingly contribute to the suffering of workers and the degradation of the environment.

Conclusion and Reflection

"The True Cost" leaves viewers disheartened, revealing the devastating toll exacted by the global fashion industry. However, this newfound awareness also presents an opportunity for meaningful change. By rejecting the current paradigm and advocating for a fairer, more sustainable fashion industry, we can make a positive impact on the lives of low-wage workers worldwide. Change is imperative, offering a unique chance to challenge the status quo and revamp the fashion industry. While assisting these workers may not be our immediate priority, they are integral to the global supply chain that clothes us all.

This documentary unveiled many aspects of the fashion industry that were previously unknown to me, leaving me both saddened and angered. It exposed the pervasive use of consumerist propaganda, which fuels competition among nations to offer the lowest prices. Consequently, workers in third-world countries endure hazardous conditions, long working hours, and the heart-wrenching necessity of leaving their children in the care of strangers or family members in pursuit of a livelihood.

The film highlighted the ruthless pressure on factories to lower their prices, as global brands negotiate with different countries to secure the most favorable deals. This fierce competition exacerbates the plight of workers in third-world countries, who often find themselves trapped in a cycle of exploitation.

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I found the documentary deeply unsettling, as it forced me to confront the grim reality that my purchases indirectly contribute to human suffering. We are often oblivious to the human labor, sweat, and tears that go into every item of clothing we buy. It serves as a stark reminder that we are complicit in a system that prioritizes profit over people. Thus, it is crucial that we not only consider the end product but also ask ourselves where our clothes and food originate and how they are produced.

Works Cited

  1. Morgan, A. (Director). (2015). The True Cost [Documentary]. Life Is My Movie Entertainment.
  2. Brown, S. (2012). Ethical Fashion: Myths and Realities. Earthscan.
  3. Fletcher, K., & Tham, M. (Eds.). (2014). Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion. Routledge.
  4. Eicher, J. B., & Evenson, S. (2008). The Visible Self: Global Perspectives on Dress, Culture, and Society. Fairchild Books.
  5. Birtwistle, G., & Moore, C. M. (2007). Fashion Logistics: Insights into the Fashion Retail Supply Chain. Routledge.
  6. McNeill, L., & Moore, C. M. (Eds.). (2015). Sustainable Fashion: Past, Present, and Future. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  7. Clarke, A. (2018). Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change. Laurence King Publishing.
  8. McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. North Point Press.
  9. Chouinard, Y. (2016). Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman. Penguin Books.
  10. Fletcher, K. (2016). Craft of Use: Post-Growth Fashion. Routledge.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Analysis Of “The True Cost” Documentary: The Consequences Of Fast Fashion. (2019, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Analysis Of “The True Cost” Documentary: The Consequences Of Fast Fashion.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2019,
Analysis Of “The True Cost” Documentary: The Consequences Of Fast Fashion. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Analysis Of “The True Cost” Documentary: The Consequences Of Fast Fashion [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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