Livia-FirthTHE GUARDIAN | Livia Firth: the fashion industry is ‘so messed up’

The executive producer of new documentary The True Cost calls for consumers and stars to help change the global fashion industry.

Coverage of the Cannes film festival is often dominated by talk of who’s wearing what. Yet at this year’s festival, an incendiary new documentary is quietly hoping to prompt a revolution both on and off the red carpet.

The True Cost is a Kickstarter-funded film that examines the fallout from the ever-expanding fashion industry, from the companies that exploit underpaid workers to the pesticides involved in cotton production that affect the environment and health of those around them.

“I think we’re at a point where people are ready,” said director Andrew Morgan of how he hopes the film will affect audiences. “I think we’ve left people ignorant for a long time.” Along with executive producer Livia Firth, the creative director of brand consultancy Eco-Age, he hopes the film will awaken consumers and businesses to the unsustainability of increased production.

“I think the situation today is so messed up that we’re all in it in some way,” said Firth. “We’ve been brainwashed to think that we have to consume at such a fast pace. But as consumers, we need to realise how powerful we are. Every time we buy something, we actually vote, and if the brand still wants a business that is profitable in 15 to 20 years, they have to address the environmental impact and the social injustice. Because it’s only going to get worse.”

Morgan believes that ordinary people can help to change the damage of “fast fashion”. “It’s important to bring it down to people’s level, and that’s what clothing does,” he said. “What if we started by slowing down and not consuming so much stuff, just because it’s there and cheap and available. It’s amazing how that process makes sense financially, it makes sense ethically, it makes sense environmentally.”

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