Director Andrew Morgan has helmed a groundbreaking movie about the causes and consequences of our society's addiction to disposable fashion - The True Cost goes behind the scenes of the fashion industry and reveals how the glamour and beauty shown to the public is a mask that conceals a much darker truth underneath. Child labor, poverty wages, and unsafe working conditions are all part of the reason that we are able to afford fast fashion, a term encompassing the way our modern society goes from trend to trend at breakneck speed. Morgan is not alone in this fight and is backed by a team of expert producers, including author Lucy Siegle and Oxfam Global Ambassador Livia Firth.

Fashion lovers may be shocked at the industry's seedy underbelly, especially when the likes of 'organic,' 'fair trade,' 'locally sourced' and 'ethically produced' are becoming popular buzzwords. Talk show host Stephen Colbert is even quoted within the documentary, making a wry comment about outsourcing labor in order to be able to buy clothing cheap enough to throw away. Haunting images of bodies being carried out of the rubble of a collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh are shown only minutes after audiences have been shown shots of high fashion models parading down a runway in similarly produced garments. Not only that, but the greed that drove this and other disasters is painfully deconstructed through archival news footage and new interviews with various experts in the field. Audiences are left with no illusions about the true cost, both environmental and in human suffering, of the cheap clothing that is found in many chain stores around the world.

The toll the fashion industry takes on the quality of human life is not the only focus of the film - the environmental cost is also touched upon. Fast fashion is part of a larger trend in developed countries of buying products that are produced as cheaply as possible, and then discarding them when they break or when something newer and better comes along. This is creating a huge strain on the environment, both in dealing with the large amounts of trash generated and in producing and shipping the products to begin with. Simply transporting the clothing from the countries in which they are produced to Europe and North America to be sold burns enormous amounts of fossil fuel - according to Direct Energy, the textile industry is responsible for about 10 percent of the global emissions of greenhouse gases. Though the garment industry is certainly not alone in causing this problem, they are one of the biggest culprits, second only to oil.

It is this modern focus of recent years on the ethical problems with the production chain that is finally shining a light on industry practices that have flourished for decades. As the film points out, the clothing industry did not always function this way. As recently as the '60s, 95% of the America's fashion was actually produced within the United States, but the fast fashion trend designed to turn over more product and keep up with runway trends completely changed the business model. Though many designers are now taking a step in the right direction and trying to consciously produce their garments more ethically and with the environment in mind. Stella McCartney is one such designer, whose efforts include using organic cotton and having collections certified to the Green Carpet Challenge standard. H&M's Conscious Collection also attempts to be more green and aware of production, while Zady promotes "slow fashion" through online resources showing consumers how their clothing decisions impact the environment.

In fact, despite all the problems pointed out by The True Cost, there is also a lot of optimism in the film. Morgan has achieved the difficult task of educating viewers on a very grim subject without being overly depressing. Viewers are left with more information, but also new tools with which to select future purchases and "buy better". Though we see interviews with selective industry insiders defending the "sweat shop" model, many other fashion leaders are shown to be dedicated to finding a better solution. Those behind the film seem to understand that there is no simple solution to solving this problem, and while some factory owners and designers are are switching to better practices, it's documentaries such as this that have the power to influence such a change and inspire the masses to be more conscious consumers in the future.