The red carpet at Cannes is surely one of the most spectacular in the world, nary a fast fashion garment is ever in sight. Yet, this year's festival is not without a bit of fast fashion of its own, albeit on the silver screen. In fact, up this year: Andrew Morgan’s The True Cost, a documentary film focused on the ethical considerations and environmental costs of fashion. Filmed in countries all over the world and including all elements of fashion, the brightest runways to the darkest slums, The True Cost features interviews with the world’s leading influencers, including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva. We spoke to Morgan about the film, his interest in making it and what shocked him the most …
What sparked your interest in making this movie?
I had never really thought much about where my clothes came from. Growing up they just seemed to appear in the stores. As I got older I learned that people in developing countries were making them and was told this was a great thing because they needed the work. It wasn’t until I picked up the newspaper and read about a clothing factory collapse outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh that took the lives of 1,138 workers (mostly young women) that I began to start asking a lot of questions. I spent the next several days reading everything I could get my hands on and by the end of that week I was convinced this was a film I had to make.
What did you learn that shocked you the most?
I think just the scope and scale of fashion’s impact all over the world. This is an almost three trillion dollar annual industry that employs an estimated one out of every six people alive. It’s also the number two most polluting industry on earth, second only to oil. Inside of this global machine are systemic human rights violations and staggering environmental impacts being felt in many cases by the world’s poorest people.
How has making the film changed your shopping habits?
Over the last couple of years I have just been buying second hand. It has taught me so much about how many great used options there are if you look for them. I’ve also had the chance to get to know several companies who are dedicated to sourcing and producing in really inspiring ways. When I need to get something new, I’m already excited about buying into the great work they’re doing. It has been a new experience to really stop and consider all the work and resources that go into my clothing, it makes that simple choice become very important when you know the people and places on the other end.