Which Fashion Docos To Watch To Get Prepped For This Year

by: Rosie Dalton | 4 months ago | Features

Image: from Dior and I. Image source.

This year has been pretty terrifying so far — what with Donald Trump swiftly instituting a number of worrying (and dangerous) changes. But it has also been a whirlwind one for the fashion industry too, as even more designer departures are announced and we begin to witness a mass exodus of brands like Proenza Schouler away from the New York Fashion Week schedule, bound instead for European shores. Not to mention the gradual crumbling of the couture sector, as it blends ever more with ready-to-wear. 

In light of all this, we are now faced with questions like: will Trump’s election signal a reshoring of the American fashion industry and, if so, what will this mean for Fair work? What does the future of traditional craftsmanship look like and how can we make sustainability a must, rather than simply an option for contemporary brands? The Business of Fashion certainly seems to think this is the way of the future, listing responsible innovation as a key trend in its State of Fashion 2017 report

With that in mind then, we’re hoping to go into 2017 fully armed with all of the information we need to have not just about the world, but also about the world of fashion. In order to make the most informed decisions as consumers, both this year and beyond. So with that in mind then, we’re rounding up some of the top fashion documentaries to watch right now and get prepared for what lies ahead. 

1) True Cost

Andrew Morgan’s True Cost might be almost two years old now, but there are still very few documentaries out there quite like it. Which is to say that there are few films that cut to the core of fashion quite so urgently. Uncovering the gritty side of the industry, it shows us the supply chains largely obscured from view and the very real implications that mass consumption can have on the lives of individuals. As Vanessa Friedman writes on behalf of The New York Times, Morgan “comes at his subject with the naïveté and enthusiasm of an amateur — he acknowledges that he didn’t think much about his clothes beyond style and cost until he started the film; he didn’t, that is, think about supply chain issues. This viewpoint gives the film’s difficult and multidimensional subject an easy-to-swallow accessibility.”

2) The Secret World of Haute Couture

The Secret World of Haute Couture may have been made in 2007, but it offers some compelling insight into the craftsmanship behind couture. This feels incredibly fitting for right now, as ready-to-wear brands like Proenza Schouler make the move from New York over to the Paris Couture schedule. Which is despite brands like these not really qualifying as ‘couture’ in the traditional sense. What we seem to be witnessing here, then, is the gradual dissolution of couture. So it’s important to understand now more than ever why fashion should also be considered art — before it is too late.

3) Fair Trade: The First Step

Patagonia is a big advocate for Fair work and, as far as the company is concerned, we do need to hear about the deaths that take place, but also about the daily injustices: the punishingly long days and countless human rights violations that are endured by workers on a regular basis. Produced in collaboration with Little Village Films, this mini documentary delves into the human consequences of fast fashion, basically. The root of which is “corporate greed,” according to Thuy Nguyen, social and environmental responsibility manager at Patagonia. This short film is a good one for anyone looking to understand more about who makes their clothes. 

4) Dior and I

If The Secret World of Haute Couture gave you a look inside the way the couture system works, then 2014’s Dior and I hones in on the mechanics of operating a global brand like Christian Dior — and provides fascinating insight too, given Simons’ unexpected departure from the brand in late 2015. Dior and I certainly underscores the time constraints currently facing the industry, as it reveals Simons being pressed to create his debut couture collection in just eight weeks.

5) Unravel  

In light of the recent Greenpeace report, which revealed just how much our disposable fashion habits are screwing over the environment, Unravel is a documentary you definitely need to see. And at a digestible 14 minutes, there’s really no excuse not to. Exploring what happens to our clothes once we throw them away, this short film is both eye opening and inspiring. At least in so far as it inspires one to take action, anyway. "It feels like the clothes are practically unworn," says one garment worker interviewed for Unravel. While another adds: “who knows, perhaps they just don't like washing their clothes?! I really don't know what the deal is!" 

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