The price of indifference

Fashion Revolution screens documentary ‘The True Cost’ to reveal what goes down in sweatshops across the world

Humay Waseem November 17, 2015
The film is shot at locations ranging from the most glittery ramps to the darkest slums. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

ISLAMABAD: Ever wondered what goes into making the massively overpriced piece of designer clothing? Especially the kind you buy in environments whose upkeep is in stark contrast with the sweatshops where these clothes are actually manufactured?

Making its way into Pakistan this  year, Fashion Revolution attempts to raise awareness for just that. The organisation’s country coordinator, Amirah Abbasi, felt the need for ethical accountability in the growing fashion industry of Pakistan, where a time might come when it becomes impossible to differentiate between the black from the white.

In this regard, the organisation showcased Andrew Morgan’s documentary, The True Cost, in the capital to highlight the price of fashion incurred by the planet. The event was organised in collaboration with World Fair Trade Organisation-Asia.

Fashion Revolution: For the Kaarigar behind your clothes

The film investigates the untold story of the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry and how it affects the lives of manufacturers and producers worldwide.

It is a story about the clothes we wear and the people who make them. The cost of production may have decreased over the years but the human and environmental costs have skyrocketed.

The True Cost is an eye-opener filmed at locations across the globe, from the most glittery ramps to the darkest slums. It features interviews of leading names of the industry, such as Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva.

No, you decide a headline

The film left the audience questioning their own consumption habits by showing how workers strive in terrible working conditions for up to 22 hours a day for measly wages.

Following the screening, representatives from both organisations mooted the issue extensively. It was revealed that over 40 million garment workers exist in the world, 85% of whom are women, and that the fashion industry is the second biggest contributor to pollution in the world. Speaking at the occasion, Amirah said, “Consumer demand dictates the global supply of fashion. We aim at letting the consumers understand their power and encourage them to harness it for the betterment of the people who actually bring to them the joy of fashion.” She urged audiences to support the #whomademyclothes movement by wearing clothes and posting selfies using the hashtag on the social media, tagging the brand that they are wearing. This, she stated, will help press manufacturers to share information regarding their production processes.

NGO Oxfam’s representative Dr Syed Hasnain Ali Abbas said the issue is complex and needs immediate attention. He expressed his admiration for Morgan’s film and stated that everyone, from government officials to consumers to manufacturers, should watch it.

Amirah’s brother Ahmed Abbasi said, “It is shocking to learn of the high prices that designers charge in comparison with the low wages of factory workers.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2015.

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