6 Movies, Documentaries and Series That Accurately Highlight The Alarming Effects Of Fast Fashion

Fast fashion dangers

We live in a world where wearing the same clothes twice is considered some sort of blasphemy which may hasten the apocalypse. Okay, that might be a bit extreme but the “no repetition” rule is being taken too seriously, Instagram being at the centre of this. Another most significant aspect of dressing up is having a wide variety of clothing to fit in with the ‘It’ crowd. Which, most often means that quantity wins over quality. 

Having a wardrobe filled to the brim gives the owner some sort of bragging rights and the conversation about the wastefulness is delayed for another day. The culture of excessive hoarding and impulsive buying is actively encouraged. Which brings us to conversations about sustainability. The talks that have to go beyond hallowed AC halls of fashion weeks. Where are we talking about how clothing is made? Who are the people participating in the various processes for garments? When you are through with your clothes, where do they go? The afterlife of your clothing?

Here are a few shows and movies that offer insights into the world of fast fashion and the price we are paying for it.

1. Untold: Inside the Shein Machine (2022)

Fast fashion giant Shein’s success story is unrivalled, but at what cost? Iman Amrani of the UNTOLD series investigates the famously secretive business as hidden cameras go inside factories for the first time. There are many revelations and for those willing to really invest time in it, it comes as no surprise that labour is exploited, the hours are too long, the conditions too bleak.  It was uncovered that employees in one factory made 500 pieces of clothing per day for a base income of 4,000 yuan, which comes up to around INR 45,161 each month. If there was an error in making the garment, the worker would be penalised two-thirds of their daily wage. A Shein worker explains in the documentary: “There’s no such thing as Sundays here.” It was also found that workers were given only one day off per month. For more details on the terrible working conditions of manufacturing workers, watch the documentary.

Available on: ChannelAll 

2. Clothes We Wear (2020)

“The Clothes We Wear” is a documentary on sustainable fashion that is presented by Deutsche Welle (DW). We live in a time of extreme consumption, as the summary suggests, and nowhere is this more evident than in the fashion business. These days, “fast fashion” is all the rage. Many people are continuously purchasing new clothing, driven by glitzy advertising campaigns. But is it all genuine? Watch to learn more.

Where to watch : Youtube

3. The Ugly Truth Of Fast Fashion (2019)

This particular episode of The Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj talks about how fast fashion companies like Zara, H&M, and other brands harm the environment. Hasan breaks down the pattern followed by fast fashion companies and consumer behaviour that needs a change. He brought to attention how both producing and buying more clothes affect the environment. It’s worth a watch.

Where to watch : Youtube

4. River Blue (2017)

Understand the unsavoury truth about how garments are created; the film River Blue covers it all. This critically acclaimed film presents breathtaking and startling pictures that radically alter how we perceive clothing. Our favourite must-have apparel—a pair of blue jeans—is the focal point of this documentary. It captures the adverse conditions our jeans bring to rivers around the world through harsh chemical production techniques and the careless disposal of harmful chemical waste.

Where to watch : Prime Video

5. Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion (2016)

Slowing Down Fast Fashion critically investigates the substantial human and environmental implications of low-cost, disposable clothing, from the sweatshop workers to the man-made materials that will pollute the world for generations. In an effort to understand the detrimental effects on people and the environment of what appears to be an insatiable desire for inexpensive clothing, the film portrays scenarios from high-end stores in London and New York to sweatshops and landfills in Southeast Asia, where synthetic materials used in many of today’s clothes create enormous toxic pools. Ultimately, the story is about finding answers, and it offers a strong case for moving forward.

Where to watch : Prime Video

6. True Cost (2015)

The True Cost, directed by Andrew Morgan, is a documentary about the people who manufacture the clothes we wear and the effects the fashion industry has on society, the environment, and the workers. The movie is not focused on the glamorous state of affairs of the fashion industry, as presented otherwise. But, on the contrary, it reveals the gloomy and dark side of the global fast fashion supply chain. It explores the relationships between fashion, consumerism, mass media, and globalisation while bringing to light their effects on fear, poverty, and inequality.

Where to watch : Prime Video

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