I think as consumers of products, we are primarily concerned with cost-value and oftentimes, we don't think about the production process behind the items that we buy, and we often never think about the people who made them. The True Cost weaves a narrative around the world of fashion: its production, its consumption, and the current world we live in; in which there is a distinct separation between producer and consumer.
We have an entire ecosystem of differentiation between eCommerce startups- and there are around 4K startups in Northern California alone that revolve around the reselling of inventory that gets unsold in larger fashion brand companies. In the UK, there is more of an emphasis on luxury brands, as the UK is home to the most high net income individuals in the global world with China as second, and the US as third in rank.
London based startups such as FarFetch (with a current valuation of $1 billion+) not only sell new luxury items, but second-hand luxury items.
Then there are companies that aggregate inventory from thousands of brands such as Lyst, Nuji, Girl Meets Dress, Secretsales, Mallzee, Grabble and others. Then there are companies that aggregate inventory from brands via a stylist or AI recommendation: Chic by Choice, The Chapar, Thread etc. Then there are a relative few moving into the realm of on-demand fashion: UK's Wool and the Gang, SavageLondon, MyOwnShirts, China's Modern Tailor, Canada's Indochino and even 3D fashion such as Metail with virtual fitting rooms. The list goes on and on.
But the question still remains: of where was it made, and who made them still come to mind.
One of the biggest problems with the fashion industry is that since the era of fast-forward fashion, a business model started by Zara in the early 2000s in which propagated a high turnover of new clothes on an annual basis (52 seasons per year) - landfill waste has exceeded tremendously in that the current business model has no longer become economically feasible nor environmentally unsustainable.
Since now clothes are made cheaply, with low-quality materials, and often with sweatshop labour, we could accumulate all the junk from fast-forward fashion's high street shops via non-stop ongoing sales and even buy them from a multitude of different mobile apps that aggregated all their unwanted inventory, and even though perhaps more than half their inventory went directly into the trash, they are still able to become profitable companies because so little went into the actual manufacturing of their products.
However, the injustice ultimately went to us, the consumers, who would buy these environmentally unsustainable, cheaply made products, and the producers, the women exploited in the process; the ones who worked 60-80 hour shifts per week outputting these poor quality products in unfathomable working conditions.
According to CB Insights, the current funding for eCommerce startups soared 136% in just the last 5 years alone.
eCommerce has disrupted the way we shop. I hope that eCommerce can also disrupt the way we produce those goods that we shop for so that we may know all the people who worked to make those goods for us, so that they are no longer just the "faceless people" behind a label.
By Sierra Choi