Under normal circumstances, the Met Gala would have taken place on Monday, May 4th, 2020. To most, it is the most prestigious fashion event of the year. I, on the other hand, couldn’t possibly care less.

Anna Wintour at the 2019 Met Gala

The Met Gala, hosted primarily by Anna Wintour, is a fundraiser for The Met’s Costume Institute. This institute is dedicated to preserving the history of fashion, while also providing a thorough understanding of fashion to the public. It also focuses on exhibiting fashion as a form of art.

Now, when I was a child, I loved fashion. I loved having the choice of what to wear. I used to spend time pairing shirts with bottoms and deciding which colours and styles matched. However, that all changed once I grew up and learned what the fashion industry is really all about.

A couple years ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix called “The True Cost”. It is about the fast fashion industry and its effects on the environment. It was after watching this documentary that I realised how horrifying the fashion industry really is.

The documentary included clips of landfills and the piles and piles of trash that only grow with each year. But of course, not many think about this problem, because it doesn’t directly affect us. If we don’t fix it now, soon it will. We’ve only got one planet, we simply cannot continue to cover it with garbage.

“The True Cost” also showed clips of interviews with people who work in sweatshops. The conditions these women work in are absolutely heartbreaking. How is it remotely ethical that the Met Gala receives so much praise from celebrities and regular people alike, while real, human beings are forced to work in these conditions, because they have no other options?

A clothing factory in Bangladesh

When I think about this, I can barely even look at my closet. It shocks me that these people are paid so little per day, but what disappoints me even more is that we still allow it to happen. This was an eye-opening movie, and I would highly recommend watching it.

Why is designer fashion such an important part of life anyway? How will it save the environment? How does the Met Gala improve society for everyone? How will knowing exactly what dress a celebrity wore to the Met Gala better/add value to my life? Why do so many care? The only people who can actually afford to buy these designer clothes likely have the wealth of the top 1% in the world.

I understand that for some, fashion is their way of expressing themselves, but does a plain, simple dress from some designer company really need to have a four-figure price tag? Imagine what that kind of money could do for those living in third-world countries. It could change their lives forever.

Blake Lively at the 2018 Met Gala

According to an article by Fortune.com, it costs $30,000 for one person to attend (or $275,000 per table). I’ll repeat that: $30,000 for one person to attend the event. That’s the price of a Tesla Model 3. What’s even worse is that celebrities rarely pay this cost themselves (obviously, because they don’t have enough money!) Instead, they are paid to attend! The article pointed out that “A-list celebrities can be offered up to a million dollars to wear a designer’s jewelry”.

In 2019, the Met Gala raised $15 million. Imagine how much good for the world that can be done with $15,000,000. According to GlobalGiving.org, ending hunger in the US is estimated to cost $25 billion. In comparison, $15 million is not a lot, but it would certainly be a start! Why are we making the rich richer, and the poor poorer? Why is it morally okay for so much money to go into an industry that not everyone even has the chance to participate in, when there are children all around the world that go to bed hungry every night?

Cardi B at the 2019 Met Gala

It’s so easy to be distracted by all the glitz and glamour of the event. Once I did more research on the Costume Institute’s most exclusive party of the year, I found out about the money from designers and influential clothing brands being poured into the event and the awful truth of where it all starts, I see fashion in a completely different way now. I’m incredibly disappointed in how this industry operates, and I hope that someday in the future, I’ll be able to do something to help. I no longer care about what clothes are “in season”, or what so-and-so’s summer collection looks like. This event has the potential to do good for the world, but instead all this money is wasted on an industry that is built on the mistreatment of workers and the pollution of our planet.

For more information about this issue, visit www.truecostmovie.com

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