It is a running joke in fashion circles that premium and luxury designers in developing countries are dead broke. It is also a joke that is unfortunately, very true.
The cost of making good garments that are also original in concept and superior in design is astronomical and when a designer is forced to bear this cost alone, it is almost certain that unless they come from a lot of money, they will either operate at a loss or barely break even.
Ideally things would be a lot cheaper if the suitable economic and manufacturing framework existed into which a designer could simply input their concepts and designs and recieve mass manufactured versions of their ideas, ready for a global market. But of course, the very definition of a developing country precludes these basic necessities. What then can a self funded designer do?
Many say that Africa needs to follow in the footsteps of the developed world and outsource their production. The third wave of the industrial revolution is the age of outsourcing. Globalization has made it possible for countries with high wages to manufacture in countries with low wages and high human capital. It is supposed to be a perfect trade. Developing countries get jobs and much needed income and developed countries get to lower costs and increase profit. But that hasn’t happened.
The documentary, The True Cost, explores the implications of this exchange. Featuring in depth interviews with many fashion insiders including British Designer Stella McCartney, Indian environmental activist and author, Vandana Shiva and eco-fashion activist, Livia Firth among others and directed by Filmmaker, Andrew Morgan, the documentary seeks to understand why the current fashion cycle is unsustainable and who stands to lose the most when it collapses.
This is a film every person in Africa interested in fashion should see. Especially as the world is beginning to turn to Africa for manufacturing under ‘ethical’ banners. We need to decide if we really need as many clothes as we have. If our Instagram culture is worth the lives that are affected by the fashion industry’s greed and vanity.
Watch the trailer here:
The documentary is available online at www.truecostmovie.com