Documentaries on Fashion and Sustainability

SHARE ON

Have you read this post about inspiring documentaries on sustainability?

There, we talked about documentaries on the topic of sustainability but a bit all over the board. But now we’re focusing on my favorite type: documentaries on fashion and sustainability.

From ethics, to environment and innovation. You’ll find everything you’re looking for.

documentary sustainable fashion

Sometimes these documentaries are harsh – and it couldn’t be otherwise, as the reality they picture is not fun at all. But think about it this way: they’re showing an ugly truth with the goal of motivating change.

As a matter of fact, the first film on this list is what really drove me to start this blog. Go watch it and you’ll understand why.

I hope you enjoy these films as much as I have. I’m sure you’ll learn from them, and you’ll get inspired to join the sustainable fashion movement.

If you want to learn more about sustainable fashion, you should check our series Sustainable Fashion 101, or download the free Sustainable Fashion Beginner’s guide here

The 5 Documentaries on Fashion and Sustainability You Need to Watch

1. The True Cost

As I told you, this film motivated me to look more into sustainable – and unsustainable – fashion and to start this blog. So we love it around here!

It taught me many of the things I know about fashion and sustainability, and almost all the facts on this post on the dirty side of fast fashion come from The True Cost.

I absolutely love how they present the topic and how they talk about uncomfortable topics such as the unethical treatment of workers in factories overseas, the water pollution in third-world countries caused by the fashion industry, or the dangers of transgenic crops all over the world.

2. Unravel

Unravel is a short fil, just 13 min, but it’s sooooo worth watching.

It shows how the clothes Europe and North America throw away travel aaaall the way to India to be recycled and spun into thread for carpets and blankets that are sent back to Occident. The producers of this documentary talked with the women working in these recycling facilities to have some insight into what they do and how they see the world.

They make some comments about western-living that are some serious food for thought. Things like:

“Western people have all these clothes. They look unworn when they come here. But they throw them away. How many times did they use them before throwing them away?!”

Or:

“We see huge jeans coming in. You can fit four people inside!”

But the film goes beyond clothes. They admire western women, not just because of the material things they own, but because of the freedom they have. “They’re in control of the choices”, says one of the workers.

3. The Next Black – A Film about the Future of Clothing

This film takes us to meet some of the most innovative creators and companies fighting for sustainability in the textile industry and doing their best to create a more conscious and responsible future for fashion.

From biodesign to clothes that change shape and color, you’re in for a real learning experience.

This will make you think about all the ways we can do to make the clothing industry cleaner and fairer – so why keeping things how they are now if we have the power to change it for good?

4. Traceable

“If a pair of jeands costs 500$, that’s considered luxury. But if they’re produced in a village where people can’t drink the water, is that really luxury?”

This documentary denounces how disconnected we are from the place our clothes come from, and the lack of understanding we have about the production chain and what it involves for people working in the industry and for our planet.

It not only shows the ugly and impersonal side of fast fashion production, but it also gives us an alternative: what if our clothes were made by people who really care, with excellent working conditions, and being kind to our planet?

That’s luxury.

5. The Machinists

The Machinists brings us into the lives of three Bangladeshi factory workers.

As you get closer to these families and learn about their daily routines, their living arrangements, their struggles and their hopes, you’ll be able to see how being a worker for some of the most renowned fashion brands really is like.

It’s really shocking. You’ll hear them talk about how they entered the workforce at age 11 or 12, and about the working conditions they have to live with – conditions that people as lucky as you and me cannot imagine.


Your favorite one is not on the list? Tell me about it in the comments or connect with me on Instagram to have a chat about it!

documentaries on fashion and sustainability

What do you think?