Anna's Unicorns

The True Cost

So yesterday, I’ve watched ONE of the best documentaries that broke my heart into million little pieces. It completely blew me away. It shows the very ugly side of FASHION. Not a very pretty picture like the ones they love to show us in their shiny magazines with petite models. 

As a millennial myself, I love shopping. There are so many pretty clothes that I want to own. I don’t call myself a very trendy person or a “fashionista” but I do like to dress up from time to time. Clothes are “our second skin” and a way to express ourselves without screaming or calling for attention. For me, it is almost synonymous to my mood.

The happier I am the more I want to dress up and look girly. I wear bold colors in those days like red and pink. On the other hand, I wear black or loose clothes and t-shirts are my ultimate go-to. This is because I am wanting to look invisible or just blend in like a chameleon in the crowd.

Anyway, I recently splurge again, buying clothes online. I hate to admit but I am definitely someone you can call impressionable. I remember watching a movie “The Fundamentals of Caring” and one of the main characters mentioned that you’re not fully experiencing a real American road trip without having a beef “jerky” sticks with you. That stuck into my mind.

I told my husband that we should have those beef jerky sticks in our next road trip. He told me that before he tried to buy them for me but apparently I declined telling him I wasn’t into them. I didn’t remember telling him that but obviously this just shows how impressionable I am. Oh, how I hate that word.

Even my natural born minimalist husband is not fully immune to this. We watched a documentary about advertising or marketing and how effective it is. It was a very clever film called “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”

That is, he never spent a penny from his own pocket. It shows his personal journey looking for sponsors to finance his film- exactly about them.

Showing how advertising plays an important role for selling products and the dangers associated with it. How susceptible our mind is to suggestions whether they are good or bad. It’s pure science, sociology and psychology.

Pom Wonderful paid a whooping million dollar to get the biggest label in the film wording “POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS”. Plus a contract that it will be the official juice of the film so it dominated the screen and has the most brand appearance.

My husband loved the idea or the concept of the film and what’s hilarious, interestingly enough it actually made him buy Pom Wonderful juice whenever he saw it in the store. Mentioning it here in my blog is called free advertising as well. So if you buy one (and you’re reading this now), thanks to me haha.

I know everyone of us is susceptible to this.  Almost impossible to ignore especially if you’re living in the city. Stores comes to us now, whether we look for them or not. They are appearing everywhere especially on our phones. Trying to seep into our subconscious slowly that’s what they do. EXACTLY like a thief of the night. Sadly, only now that we are the willing victims.

We think they give us so much happiness. We feel happier whenever we have new fancy items.

Shining. Shimmering. Splendid. Feeling like in a whole new world, we feel we are princesses.

But nope.

Just happy customers, sad pockets.

I know I made my point. So back to the main subject of the film.

It tackles about FAST FASHION especially in the first world countries specifically the United States. Cheap clothes is equal to slavery of ordinary garment workers in third world countries especially in China, Bangladesh and including my home country the Philippines. This is why it’s so close to my heart. I feel the pain just hearing them talk about it throughout the film.

One of the biggest brand that won’t take the responsibility is my once favorite brand but no longer is H&M. The poor workers are treated like an army of ants working in a very unfavorable environment with hazardous chemicals surrounding them usually in a collapsing building and ended disastrously like what happened in Rana Plaza Garment Factory killing more than a thousand of workers. Mostly parents who are just slaving away to give a better future for their children in Bangladesh.

They work there knowing that it could only end their lives. But they risk it because they don’t have a choice. They need the job and they aren’t picky. They make clothes with their blood. Simple as that. They only demand proper minimum wages but no high-end brands wanted to acknowledge their responsibilities for these people. Truth be told: they just want our money.

Where is your conscience? Where is the soul of these high-end brands? Your models are looking like angels but is your brand really that pure and made in heaven? I doubt it.

This all stems from consumerism or materialism or capitalism and whatever names they are wearing. We are easily lead and fall in love with many different advertising and marketing schemes. As if SALE only happens in a lifetime. IT IS NOT. I have to keep telling myself that too. I love SALE. I thought I am getting good deals because they are cheaper.

Nope they are not. They are just dressed as SALES. But if you look at them closely from their regular prices before. Usually, they have the same prices as the regular or slightly lower but not significantly. You have to be extra wiser (and vigilant) to know which ones are true.

Remember: we don’t watch them like a hawk. But I did one time and they in fact have their own cunning devices that works most of the time. You are the customer, so they are trying to win you. You are the EVE to their APPLE. If you really want to SAVE. The best thing to do is not buy anything.

Thinking that you’re buying sale or discounted items and that they are too good to pass are only excuses. You usually end up buying things that you don’t really need and just end up in the storage room.

Again, I have to tell myself that. Like you, I love to buy things. Who wouldn’t? Even my husband who doesn’t like clothes but he has his own hobbies and for fun he likes to buy big machinery and computer related items that are a lot more expensive than clothes.

I think we are only and fully safe from capitalism and materialism if we live in an isolated island, in a jungle with snakes maybe in an Amazonian rain forest? Oh, even that name has its meaning now in the modern world. Amazon, how I love it. Okay, we have no hiding place now lol. So let us deal with it.

With social medias, people can very much showcase their “new stuff” with haul this and haul that. They make us feel less as if we are missing something in our life and we want to have what they have or it is truly simple as “we want what we don’t have.” Ask the rich people that and there’s no contentment in life. But try to ask the Buddhist monks and you’ll get the answer as if they have everything by having nothing.

Advertising comes in any shapes and forms now. Truly, human beings are innovative. We evolve genetically and behaviorally speaking through time. We can come up with new trends although that trend happened as well few decades ago but eh who cares. We can tweak it a bit and work it and call it our own. Nah girl, that’s just how the fashion industry wants you to think. They know the drill.


There is completely nothing wrong with buying or shopping. That is the fuel of our economy. But doing too much of it is not good for humanity. To think there is a different story in another side of the world. In every haul you buy, there is a child dying in hunger or a parent working in a collapsing building just waiting to happen. Yes, the world is unfair.

Materialism. No matter how they try to mask it. Make it pretty. Make it shiny. Make it luxurious. It is not good for the soul. Your soul. Your being. Your humanity.

That’s not where you can find the inner joy. Your pursuit of happiness is wasted there. That’s a very shallow water your swimming, a building waiting to collapse as well.

But you can at least do something. However, small that is.

So since I’ve watched the film. I made a self-challenge not to buy anything for two months. After that, whenever I buy something, I should think thrice. Ask myself do I really need it? is it worthy? does it really makes me happy?

What I noticed most of the time is that I find better and longer happiness in things when they were given as gifts to me rather than I bought them for myself. Or when I bought things not for myself or as gifts to others. Giving makes you happier, I am very sure of that. Owning only makes you emptier inside although it doesn’t look like it outside-your physical environment.

I am just like you, susceptible, impressionable and loves to shop (it naturally comes with being a girly girl). Reminding these things to you is also my way of reminding myself. We aren’t defined by the clothes we wear, we can express ourselves in multitude of things mostly we don’t have to spend a penny to do that. The best way to express ourselves freely usually comes with no price.

When it comes to self-confidence and self-esteem. The fashion industry played a big role. They make us think we aren’t good enough so by having this crop top or this shiny shirt, we can be that girl on the magazine page. We knew that will never happen, when we finally have the item, wore it and we don’t look good in it. Then we feel bad about ourselves. The cycle then repeats.

Believe that you are good enough. That will make a big difference.

A whole new world sometimes means a whole new perspective. 

You are a princess in your own right. You can also be a villain if you want to (but in a good way).

But please mind be a human being. A beautiful human being you are.

Think about the people on the other side of the world. Make their lost lives count and also especially for the living.

Make this world better for our children and future generations.

Selfies. Selfishness. Vanity. Fashion.

Let’s not own it. Let’s not work it. We are better than this.

As Millennials, we have the power to flip anything. A generation who mostly haven’t experience wars like our parents/grandparents did. We don’t believe in it. We believe in peace, love, respect. We love rainbows of diversity.

So I dare you. Watch the film. Make it count. Don’t forget to spread the word. Share it!





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