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Essay: The True Cost of Fast Fashion: Uncovering the Realities of Sweatshops and Periphery Countries

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  • Published: 1 April 2019*
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  • Words: 1,802 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 8 (approx)
  • Tags: Fashion essays

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Answer on question 1

The main topic of the documentary ''The true cost"' is the fast fashion industry and how it has impacted our world. It is about the real cost of the clothing we wear every day. When we buy clothes, whether it is in a mall, online or in a clothing store down the street we do not really stop and think what went into creating that product. In the developing countries they have these so called sweatshops, which are literals workplaces for the less fortunate people who do not have any other option when it comes to getting money to survive. These places are really hot inside, people are shedding blood, sweating and not getting enough sleep to produce these clothes that we wear. They are working hard for hours almost every day of the week without getting breaks and still get paid a really low amount which is nothing compared to the actual worth of the job. These people suffer so they can survive and provide for their family, they do not have any other option. There are chemicals and machines in these shops, most of the buildings where they are working are not even safe. A lot of people get sick working there and eventually they die. Besides that the workers are not treated right by the owners and do not have a say in what goes on in the sweatshop. Young kids who cannot afford to go to school or have to take care of their mother, they go and work in sweatshops. This also has an effect on our humanity. This is the true cost that we have to pay later on. This is what is happening behind closed doors of the clothing industry, what most people do not realize.

Answer on question 2

The documentary showed different countries, like the USA focusing on the states New York and Texas. I also got the see England, China, Bangladesh, Japan, India, Italy and many more. The center / periphery theory explains that core countries profit from the labor being done in periphery countries. One of the core countries mentioned in the documentary was USA. And one of the periphery countries mentioned were Bangladesh. These are also called developing countries. The main difference between these countries is the wage level. People who work in the USA, get paid way more than someone who is working in a sweatshop in Bangladesh. Because they get paid a really low amount, the core countries trade labor with the periphery countries. It is way less expensive for the clothing brands, then to let the product be produced in developed countries or semi-periphery countries. Another difference is the way they are treated. In the documentary a sweatshop in India, which is a periphery country, is shown laboring every day and producing products for developed countries. The owners act like they own each and every single person who work there. The employees themselves do not seem happy, I can see them sweating and working hard just to get the work done and so they can get that little amount of money.

Answer on question 3

People who are poor and cannot afford expensive things like a home or a car, and so on, will spend their money on things they do not need as bad. They spend it on things that they will use once and then throw away, like clothes and cigarettes. The word consumptionism means that people will buy things they use up instead of things they could use for a longer period. This is because it is less expensive then the things they actually need. People should realize, that it is better to invest in something long term instead of constantly spending money on things that are not necessary and that they also use up. There is danger in this approach, because people throw the things they use up away including clothing products and textiles. This will damage the environment since these products are non biodegradable. They are not capable of naturally breaking down, and so will be there in these landfills for many more years. Also the number of these products that are being thrown away in landfills has increased drastically in the past years. If these numbers continue to increase and landfills fill up, we will not have space anymore to put other trash in landfills. The more trash, means more pollution in the air and also in the water, harming our ocean life, our nature but also ourselves. This could lead to people getting diseases and even dying.

Answer on question 4

First of all, I was surprised to watch that there were so many people that died and got hurt in accidents when working in the sweatshop, because of the bad buildings that collapsed. I actually did not even know that there are so many sweatshops in different places in the world. All the low wages, unsafe conditions and the factory disasters that are occurring just to produce clothing. And it is also surprising that there are many people suffering just to make the clothes that are worn everyday. The employees from the sweatshops work hard every day and are not paid what they deserve. And we as consumers don’t even think about the situation and all the hard work that was put in the clothes that we are wearing, we just buy it and wear it as if nothing is wrong.

Answer on question 5

I found it very sad that the employees of the sweatshops do not only get low payments but they work also in bad conditions, get treated with no respect and get mistreated. I do not think it's fair for these people. They have the right to work in better conditions, get a better wage level and be treated with respect. Being poor and not having other job options, does not mean that the owners should take advantage of them, because they are also humans. We all have human rights. I am mad at the fact that the owners of these sweatshops are so selfish, they need to stop thinking that they are the only ones who should live a good live and get richer. They also need to realize that if they want to get respect from the employees, they also need to respect the employees in return, give them a better environment to work in and pay them a higher amount.

Answer on question 6

I really liked that the employees of the sweatshops stood up for themselves, they did not keep quiet, they took actions. There are people that started campaigns and people showed that they that actually care for these employees. I also liked this documentary, because it has opened my point of view. I am glad that I got to watch it because it really inspires me to think more when I am buying clothes. Now I know to always go a step further and think what is happening behind closed doors of not only the clothing industry but also every other industry of a product that I use on a daily basis. I also found it admiring how the Indian girl, Shima Akhter, still came forward and confessed to the media what had happened even though the staff abused her and many other employees, she was not scared at all.

Answer on question 7

I think this documentary is really important especially for us from the SEF community. Because in the future most of us will be handling with money in our daily jobs and doing business with other people or country. And this documentary has helped me and I hope many other students to realize that making money is not the only goal you need to focus on to succeed in your career or business. Profit, planet and people are the three things that matter the most in this world. So, when we are working in the future we should not only focus on the profit and let planet and people out in this process. We need to think about the future and the other things in life that also matters like human health & rights and mother nature. Being selfish by thinking only for the profit does damage to our earth & humanity.

Answer on question 8

The owners of the sweatshops need to do their utmost best to provide a better working conditions for the employees, better buildings structures and adjust escape plans like in case of a fire. They also need to give the employees a better living condition by:

1. Giving them a better area to work in.

2. Create buildings with more windows so it is not hot inside and they can breath.

3. Giving them a better wage.

4. Giving them breaks to recharge.

5. Treat them with respect and give them the human rights that they deserve.

The owners also need to think more about the future, planet and people instead of only their profit as their goal. In other words, they need to come up with a proper way to get rid of the wastes that get left behind in the sweatshops, so they do not harm our nature and so that people do not get any illnesses because of the way they manage their waste (sustainability).

Answer on question 9

First of all, I would start by buying clothes from brands that do take care of nature, I would analyze the way they get rid of the waste that is left behind after making the products. To find these things out I need to research on google which brands and companies do take care of nature and are taking considerations for going green (less pollution). I need to be willing to pay more for these clothes, since it will cost more to produce them. I will also try to stop buying clothes every time I have a party or event to go to.

Answer on question 10

I recommend the UoC to start a campaign and talk more about this topic to make people more aware of what is going on in the fashion industry. Also show this documentary to all other Faculties to make them as well aware of this situation. I also recommend the UoC to make uniforms obligated, so students that have a habit of buying new clothes every week, because they do not want to wear the same clothing, can stop doing this. This will help because there will be less clothing offered in store, and so less production which is the goal. Imagine when uniforms are obligated at all schools in the world, how that would change fashion in this time but also the labor that is going on in developing countries. This also means less products, less paint, less plastics (clothes button) required and so on, for when many clothing. In other words, less pollution.

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