Cotton is at the heart of clothing manufacturing, but as most only see the material in its final, hanger-hugging form, few are aware of the incredible human and environmental costs associated with its production. Leah Borromeo, a journalist and filmmaker based in London, has set out to illuminate the “debts, pesticides, and suicides” that surrounds the fibers of our clothing. Nearly 300,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves over the years to escape the poverty trap of industrialized agriculture, yet their plight continues to go unrecognized. We recently spoke to the documentarian about her latest film, The Cotton Film: Dirty White Gold, the human cost of cheap fashion, and why the fashion industry needs to shape up.