Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion: Exposing the enormous cost of our disposable approach to clothing
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Alex James, Blur-bassist turned cheesemaker, presents this critical look at the fashion industry, and its enormous human and environmental cost. Far from predicting the apocalypse Slowing Down Fast Fashion seeks to provide solutions. By talking to designers, activists, and high street brands the film shows that there is a wide-ranging and ever-growing thirst for change as consumers start to look at clothes the way they look at food.
”Short term satisfaction has become a threat to our long term survival”. In the UK alone 1 million tonnes of clothes are put in landfill each year, only to be replaced in our homes by a further 2 million tonnes. This is fast fashion. In order to cut down both the cost of production and the retail price, high street chains use synthetic fibres; fibres that are non-biodegradable. There is also a human cost to this consumer culture, highlighted by the fatal collapse of Rana Plaza, which cost 1,130 Bangladeshi garment workers their lives. While watching news coverage of the tragedy James muses that ”the ultimate cost of our impatience, is that it’s killing people”.
James travels the globe to investigate this issue, meeting the people who are coming up with innovative solutions to this ”environmental, ethical disaster”. From the man producing fashionable jackets made from old military uniforms, to the New York designer who wore the same woollen shirt for 100 days and proved it still didn’t need washing. James finds inspiration, creativity and quite a few smiles at every turn.
Discussing the merits of recycling, upcycling and different fibres, James jumps from charity shops to laboratories to woollen mills. He hears from the Prince of Wales about ”the fibre of the Gods”. Prince Charles famously still wears a woollen suit cut for him in the 1970s. Wool is not only biodegradable, but durable enough for NASA to clothe their astronauts in.
Slowing Down Fast Fashion is a stylish and compelling call for a shift in the outlook of both consumers and manufacturers. It encourages us all to think about what clothes are made from, where they are made, who’s making them, and what will happen to them once they’re out of fashion. The doc stresses the necessity of a move from quantity to quality, away from short-term trends and never wearing the same thing twice. A world where we ”buy less, buy better, buy natural”.
Chief Productions – Ref. 6778
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