this Is the kind of documentary we took a deep breath before watching. We knew it would change the way we looked at shopping forever. And that’s kind of a big deal.

The True Cost is the fashion world’s answer to the popular food documentaries we’re seen over the past few years. It is an exposé about the inner workings of the industry, our consumer habits and “the true cost” of a piece of clothing by the time it ends up in our closets. We wern’t sure if we were ready to hear the truth about the “fast fashion” brands we love. But watching the documentary is a solid first step toward becoming a more responsible consumer in ways that really matter.

Powerful fashion influencers from Stella McCartney to Livia Firth (who is one of the film’s producers) reveal the industry’s impact on the planet and the people making the clothes.

The True Cost trailer is released today and can be watched above. We talked to director Andrew Morgan to learn more about the film’s message…

Moment this film was born:

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.

Biggest eye opener in the filming process:

Seeing the impact of our choices, as simple as the clothes we buy, on people and places all over the world. I knew the basic facts about the industry’s impact going into production, but what really shocked me were the stories. I think when you look at an industry this big you can forget that the impact is being felt by individual people, in many cases the world’s poorest people who have no voice in the larger supply chains in which they work. It’s one thing to understand that on paper, but to experience it first hand in country after country was just stunning.

Brands to shop:

For the last couple of years I have been challenging myself to buy second-hand, which has really opened my eyes to how many great resale stores are now opening up. I also love the work of brands like People Tree, Patagonia and Zady. They are producing in very innovative ways and also helping to tell a completely new story about clothing.

Eye-opening fact:

We now consume more than 80 billion pieces of new clothing each year. That’s a staggering 400% more than just two decades ago. Because so much of that is cheap clothing that doesn’t last, the average American now throws away 68 pounds of textile waste each year!

Statement you find most impactful:

Think of fast fashion like you think about fast food. It’s cheap but usually not healthy or good for anyone in the long run.

Best tip for consumers:

Everything you wear was touched by human hands. Slow down and really take time to consider what you are buying. Is it something you are going to love and hold onto? If not, perhaps save the money you would spend until you can invest in a beautiful piece that will be a part of your wardrobe for years to come.

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