These Films About The Fashion Industry Will Keep You Entertained This Winter

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 years ago | Features

Image: Dries Van Noten behind the scenes. Image source

As the weather cools down and we retreat indoors with a bottle of red wine, it seems that movie-watching season is well and truly upon us. Okay, who are we kidding — every season is movie-watching season, but there’s just something about the winter months that seems to invite a tendency for binge watching. And what better way to feel good about said bingeing, than by adding a few educational documentaries into the mix? Of which our favourite variety is, of course, documentaries about the fashion industry.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect either, because there are a few new films out right now about fashion, which have quickly cemented their status as essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the industry. Then again, a comprehensive fashion film list wouldn’t be complete with a few golden oldies thrown in for good measure. These are the documentaries that give us invaluable insight into how the industry ticks. Therefore, they are the ones that we return to time and time again. So here we’ve rounded up a few of our faves, especially for your viewing pleasure. Now all you need now is a good pinot and you’re good to go.

1) Machines

If you found The True Cost to be important and impactful, then Machines is definitely a must-watch. This new documentary was recently shortlisted as part of the IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentaries and it offers a compelling expose inside a vast textile mill in Gujarat, India. First-time director Rahul Jain captures the machines themselves in compelling cinematic fashion, but also shines a light on the fact that the workers are themselves machines in a way. This film will definitely force you to think twice about where your clothes come from.

2) Dries

Dries is a film about Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, which highlights the traditional craftsmanship of fashion as an art form. But this new documentary is also a film about the state of fashion right now. Or, more pointedly, about a designer who has chosen to push back against the breakneck pace of fashion by only producing two collections per year instead of six. “The word fashion I don’t like because ‘fashion’ means something okay that is over after six months,” Dries explains. “I would like to find something more timeless.”

3) Advanced Style

For those who love fashion, Advanced Style is a fabulous exploration of the incredible wardrobe choices of older men and women living in New York City. But for those who care about the future of the industry, it is also an important film to watch because it celebrates the virtue of carving out an individual sense of personal style — rather than simply succumbing to the mindless homogeneity of fast fashion.  “I am dressed up for the theatre of my life every day,” explains one interviewee, for instance. It will provide you with style inspiration for days. 

4) Fred Perry Presents Subculture

If you’re interested in the style codes of subcultural groups throughout the ages, then Don Letts’ Fred Perry Presents Subculture will have you totally enthralled. “It was never about fashion, it was always about style,” the trailer explains — which sounds like the perfect mantra for dressing with purpose in 2017. Made in 2012 though, this six-part mini-series was actually created in celebration of Fred Perry’s 60th anniversary and is an exploration of British subcultures from mods and rockers to punks and teddy boys. It is mandatory viewing, simply because of how much the aesthetics of these groups continue to influence fashion to this day. 

5) The First Monday in May

The first Monday in May is named for the annual Met Gala, but deals more closely with the exhibition that it inaugurates. Each year The Costume Institute curates a new fashion exhibition in collaboration with Anna Wintour and Vogue. So in taking us behind the scenes of this curation, the documentary really underscores the fact that fashion can and should be viewed as an art form. Just like any of the other works that are exhibited in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the craftsmanship that has traditionally gone into our clothing is quite unparalleled. It is this that we need to acknowledge and appreciate if we hope to value our clothing more in future. 

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