As Emmy Rossum and Zooey Deschanel like to remind us, cotton is the fabric of our lives. Yet its snow-white facade masks a less-than-rosy reality. Leah Borromeo, a journalist and filmmaker based in London, wants to unravel the complex web of “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, some by drinking the very pesticides with which they farm, according to Borromeo. We caught up with the self-proclaimed troublemaker to learn more about her crowd-funded documentary, The Cotton Film: Dirty White Gold, the human cost of cheap fashion, and why we need greater traceability and accountability in the fashion industry.