Skip to main content

A documentary funded by Kickstarter unstitches the horrors of the clothing industry

a documentary funded by kickstarter unstitches the horrors of clothing industry true cost
The True Cost
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire claimed 146 lives more than a century ago, but the horrors of the clothing and fashion industry are much more contemporary than we may think. Investigating “the impact of the global clothing industry on people and the planet” is the new documentary The True Costa Kickstarter funded project that has been heralded by CNN Money as “a sweeping, heartbreaking and damning survey of the clothing economy.”

'The True Cost' - Official Trailer

Over 900 backers contributed $76,546 to help Director Andrew Morgan bring the film to life. With interviews and footage from around the world, The True Cost brings to light the overwhelming global impact of cheap labor and unsafe working conditions that have been hallmarks of the clothing industry for centuries.

In a director’s statement on the film’s website, Morgan explains the motivation behind his production: “I was getting my coffee one morning when I saw a photograph on the cover of a newspaper that instantly broke my heart. The image was of two boys walking past a giant wall of missing-persons signs. Picking it up, I read the story of the clothing factory collapse outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, taking the lives of more than 1,000 people and severely injuring thousands more. At the time of the collapse, the factory was making clothes for major western brands. I soon learned that this was not an isolated tragedy.”

Morgan notes that the vast majority of the millions of workers who slave away for less than a living wage are women, withstanding dangerous working conditions (as evidenced by the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh), long hours, and a multitude of health risks that come along with unclean environments. And while Americans (and consumers around the world) buy more and more clothes for less and less money, the ones paying the ultimate price are the oft-forgotten factory workers.

“One interviewee, a Bangladeshi factory worker named Shima Akhter, notes in the film, “I believe these clothes are produced by our blood. I want the [factory owners] to be aware and look out for us, so that no more mothers lose their kids like that.”

“The eyes of the world are opening, and I believe history is giving us this moment to choose a better path,” Morgan said. “I hope with all my heart that this film serves as a needed step in that progress.”

You can catch a screening of The True Cost at any of the locations and times listed here.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Kickstarter launches probe into failure of Europe’s most heavily funded project

Kickstarter has taken the unprecedented step of commissioning the services of a tech writer to investigate the collapse of one of its high-profile campaigns.

The Zano drone campaign – Europe's most heavily funded Kickstarter project to date – crashed and burned last month, taking £2.3 million ($3.5m) of investors' money with it. Launched at the end of 2014, its 12,000 backers loved the idea of "an ultra-portable, personal aerial photography and HD video capture platform [that's] small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and intelligent enough to fly all by itself,” but design challenges and other issues led to the project's collapse.

Read more
Kickstarter-funded game dev cancels backer rewards due to bankruptcy
woolfe backer rewards canceled thumb

Kickstarter backers who funded the creation of Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries will not receive many of their promised incentives or rewards due to developer GRIN's bankruptcy, the company announced this week.

The news follows up on months of project updates and unsuccessful attempts to spur sales. Though many backer rewards have been printed and are prepped for shipment, the now-dissolved studio lacks the funds to ship them out to paying customers.

Read more
Netflix to premiere bloody documentary following Ukrainian demonstrations
netflix ukraine freedom documentary civil rights on fire

As the latest in Netflix’s growing list of original documentaries, the streaming service will premiere Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom this October, chronicling the events that unfolded over a three-month period in 2013 and 2014 that prompted a new civil rights youth movement.

The documentary, which will debut October 9 to Netflix subscribers around the world, looks at the nation’s struggle for freedom amidst a corrupt political regime that “utilized extreme force against its own people to suppress their demands and freedom of expression.” Over a total of 93 days, peaceful student demonstrations supporting European integration did a complete 180 and turned violent as special forces deployed to disperse the crowds began beating and seriously injuring hundreds of protestors. The event attracted almost a million citizens, who were eventually calling for the resignation of the nation’s president. The film includes footage from the inside of the conflict.

Read more