My mum told me I just had to watch a documentary called ‘The True Cost’… so when I visited home last weekend, we snuggled down on the sofa and popped it on.
‘The True Cost’ is all about the clothes we wear, the people who make them and the terrible effect that the ‘fast fashion’ industry is having on our world. It is totally fascinating and I promise, it will make you think twice about where and how you shop.
I suppose I'm a bit ashamed to say that I was completely unaware and had absolutely no idea just how much of an impact this industry is having on our planet and the people living here. I'm happy that I know now, and besides, it's never too late to make a change.
I don't want to bore you with a ton of information, but if you're just like me and feel a little un-educated on this subject, then maybe you might find this little insight helpful...
The term ‘fast fashion’ describes the way in which high street fashion retailers must respond amazingly quickly to changing fashion trends. These trends used to change only twice a year, usually with a Spring/Summer and an Autumn/Winter collection, but now they are changing every single week. Shops such as Topshop, H&M, Primark and Zara must keep up with the extremely fast changing trends to stay current and competitive, and the only way to make these clothes quickly and cheaply enough is to outsource the manufacturing and labor to other countries and continents. It's crazy, 97% of all clothing items are now made overseas. Unfortunately, our environment and a staggering amount of factory workers are paying the ultimate cost, just so we can get our weekly fashion fix.
This documentary follows the lives of some of the people who spend their days and nights working away in these factories. It was heart-breaking to see, the conditions they are forced to work in are unbelievable and they get paid next to nothing for hours and hours of intense labor. There are around 40 million garment workers in the world today and the majority of these workers do not share the same rights or protections that many people in the West do. ‘The True Cost’ also told the story of the devastating ‘Rana Plaza’ disaster, where a clothing factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,100 workers… it had severe structural issues which had been ignored time after time, in order to keep the factory running.
Oh, and did you know that the global fashion industry is the now the world's second most polluting industry? me neither. The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago, unbelievable, right? As new clothing comes into our lives, we also discard it at a shocking pace. According to the True Cost website, the average person now generates about 82 pounds of textile waste each year. Historically, clothing has been something we have held onto for a long time, but with cheap clothing now abundantly available we are beginning to see the things we wear as disposable.
This fascinating documentary got me thinking about The Pink Pantaloon Co. and how incredible it is that we hand-make every single piece of our beautiful silky pink underwear right here at our Cotes Mill home in the UK. I always knew it was very cool, and quite unusual, that all of our lovely pieces are British made, but I never knew just how cool.
Fashion used to be special, you’d buy a quality, beautifully made piece and it would last you a lifetime. You’d love it so much you’d never want to take it off, you'd want to wear it over and over and over again, it wouldn’t just go out of fashion, it would be timeless. I think our Pink Pantaloon pieces are bringing that very sentiment back, and that’s got to be something to be proud of.
I’m totally guilty of being swept away into this ‘fast fashion’ world, as I’m sure many of you guys are too, and don’t get me wrong I do love a good bargain. But, I will now think way more than twice before buying that £2 t-shirt from Primark. Investing your money into a beautiful, quality, ethically produced product is the way to go, I'm sure of it. I'll be wearing my Pink Pantaloons for many years to come!
If you'd like to watch 'The True Cost' for yourselves you will find it on Netflix, Amazon Prime and the Apple Store to name just a few places. You can also check out their website at www.truecostmovie.com for way more info and tips on how to 'shop smarter'. Go and check it out!