Craig Barry, Managing Director of the Gold Mine Stores, recommends The True Cost, a documentary film by Michael Ross.
A cornerstone of the Gold Mine’s success is the clothing it sells. And while we sell plenty of housewares, sporting goods and books, it would appear that our patrons’ main shopping motivation is fashion.
I wanted to find out more about a phenomenon I’ve been hearing about called “fast fashion”. In the past, fashion houses and leading clothing stores would unveil their fashion lines on more of a seasonal basis. Problem is you can only sell so much in a “season” before what’s fashionable fades into being unfashionable. To address this, businesses worked to shorten the fashion cycle – instead of a seasonal cycle, why not a monthly or even weekly cycle? Shortened fashion cycles prime the pump and profits.
The problem with this is how do you increasingly make more clothing at a quicker pace and at a price that people could afford on, say, a weekly basis – enter “fast fashion”.
Economies across the planet have long embraced the global economy, searching for ways to drive down costs, boost profits and become more competitive in the marketplace. The fashion industry is ideally suited for moving abroad. The industry moved quickly to locate production to where labor was less expensive, environmental regulations looser and materials cheap. Now to be sure, the fashion industry is not the only industry to make this move but it is an industry in which the labor needed is largely low skill.
The True Cost documentary traces just how this fast fashion trend has fueled clothing consumption and exacerbated labor and environmental issues abroad, all while corporations fattened their bottom lines. The documentary reveals how an industry has worked to change how we use clothing from articles that we use to pieces that we use up, disposing of them with the next fashion cycle.
While second hand stores, like the Gold Mine, won’t reverse this global economy, we can slow it down. So the next time you’re buying something from or donating to a second hand store, you are lengthening the fashion cycle, making an important contribution to strengthening the sustainability of the clothing industry and bolstering your local economy and The Community Library.