When Andrew Morgan picked up the newspaper one morning in 2013, his heart broke and his socially-conscious-filmmaker mind went into overdrive. That April he read about the catastrophic collapse of a Bangladeshi factory that killed more than 1,100 garment workers. For the next two years, he decided to devote himself to documenting the untold story of the people and places that pay the price for the clothes we wear – the result of which is the documentary film "The True Cost," which premiers worldwide today.
“Before making this film, there was so much I didn’t know because I was one of those people who didn’t really think about what I wear,” Andrew Morgan, director of "The True Cost," told TriplePundit in a recent interview. “The [apparel] industry is built upon the assumption that you and I don’t care and we won’t ask questions about how our clothes are made. I want to reveal the curtain and show people what’s going on, so we can all say that we want something better.”
Including interviews with such figures as environmental activist Vandana Shiva, organic cotton advocate LaRhea Pepper and Fair Trade fashion pioneer Safia Minney (and many more), the film takes the viewer on a journey around the globe to witness the high cost of cheap clothing – from chemically intensive, cancer-causing cotton farms in Texas to deadly garment worker protests in Cambodia.
“When you spend time in these countries with these people, the reality of the impact is felt on a really deep level,” Morgan said. “You can hear a statistic and it can sound distant, but being in a place where you’re seeing waste pollute local water, where 80 percent of children are sick, you see that this isn’t hypothetical – you see that this is a reality.”
Considering that the trillion-dollar apparel industry is the second largest polluter in the world (behind the oil industry), not saying anything says a lot.
Even so, the film tells a compelling, and increasingly important, story about the high social and environmental price of our world’s growing materialism. As the film highlights, the more labor is outsourced to developing countries and clothing prices go down, the more external costs go up – and that is a problem.
“I'm hopeful that people will watch this film and have a shift in consciousness,” Morgan told us. “I want people to never be able to pick up a piece of clothing in the same way. I don’t look at clothes the same way anymore.
“The process of making this film changed my life.”
Check out the film's trailer below:
Image courtesy of "The True Cost"
Nayelli is the Founder & CEO of Creators Circle, a nonprofit working to close opportunity gaps for future generations of impact changemakers. A trained journalist with an MBA, she also keeps the pulse on sustainable business and social impact trends and has covered these topics for a variety of publications over the past decade. She’s a systems thinker who loves to learn, share knowledge and help others connect the dots. Follow her on Twitter @NayelliGonzalez.