The featured film “The True Cost” is an eye-opening film regarding the high price workers in developing countries must remunerate, in order to supply Corporations with the output they desire at the lowest possible price. Fast fashion made way for there to be 52 seasons, as opposed to 4 which was only a few decades ago. Fast fashion’s number one priority is to get as many clothes in the hands of consumers as possible, with little regard towards the harm displayed along the way, both for people and the environment.
Fast fashion is affecting labour conditions in countries like Bangladesh, because factory owners are unequipped to offer safe working conditions for factory workers because Corporations are continuously pushing garment factory owners to increase their output, at the lowest possible price. Factory owners have no choice in the matter because the need for employment is extremely high, so they must find other ways to cut down the costs of production. This is where the breaking of labour laws come into place. Factory workers are disciplined and controlled by the factory owners as well as the Government. Workers are forced to labour in extremely dangerous conditions such as building structure which can collapse at any moment, high surge of chemicals which are carcinogenic, extremely low wage, without a union, and zero benefits. During the film, one of the garment workers in Dhaka expressed how she was the president of a workers union and had brought up some changes for the working conditions to the managers, and in response the managers and co-workers have beaten her up with scissors, punched her, banged her head against the wall and hit her in the chest and abdomen. Another example was in Phenom Penh where the garment workers went on strike in the streets to demand an increase in the minimum wage to $160, and in return the Government brought the police and military, opened fire in the middle of the street and arrested individuals. These are just a few examples of how the Government and factory owners are turning against the locals in order to satisfy big Corporations and their profit.
The main driving demand of fast fashion is that Americans want to own “nice and fashionable” clothing, while paying the least possible amount of money for that piece. The main reason for this is because there are advertisements showing how clothing is supposed to be purchased for a one time event and then it is thrown out. An example in the movie is showing a woman wiping the kitchen countertop with a pair of pants and then throwing it in the garbage.
This is the message that is being sent to the public, that cheap clothing is cheap because it is meant to be worn once and then thrown out. The arguments that are made concerning the fast fashion industry is mainly regarding the reason as to why we have moved the garment industry in developing countries. The reason for the move is because in these third world countries, the Government does not protect the worker, and Corporations are aware of this fact and are able to exploit it. Corporations know that these developing countries are looking for work and also know that the Government does not offer a high minumin wage, benefits for the employees or a union. A CEO was featured in the film expressed little concern regarding the health issues concerning women who work in the garment factory, calling it “just sewing clothes”