Best Documentaries To Watch To Educate Yourself About Fast Fashion & Sustainability

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‘Fast Fashion’ is a contemporary term used to describe clothes that have taken inspiration from the catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. 

This quick turn-around in production can lead to problems such as using low quality materials, paying staff below minimum wage and devastating environmental factors. It has been brought to light recently, just how poor the working conditions can be for those working in factories for fast-fashion retailers, and it is important to understand and educate ourselves on the dangers and reality of quick fashion trends.

Here are the best documentaries to watch to educate yourself about fast fashion and sustainability…

The True Cost

The 2015 documentary The True Cost is probably the most famous documentary about fast fashion, and gives an insight about the fashion industry and the poor working conditions that the workers face. 

The documentary was inspired by the collapse of Rana Plaza, a garments factory that collapsed and killed more than a thousand workers in Bangladesh. Andrew Morgan, the Director focuses on these garment workers in countries such as Cambodia and India working for as little as $3 a day. It also depicts the environmental damage that this over-production of clothing is doing, from massive landfills in Haiti filled with clothes to chemicals dumped in waters from chemical dyes on clothing that have led to a rise in cancer and birth defects. The True Cost is definitly one of the best fast fashion documentaries to watch. It’s a massive eye-opener, and a must-watch for everybody.

You can watch The True Cost on Amazon Prime now.

Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion’s Dirty Secrets

In this 2018 Documentary, Stacey Dooley travels the World to unveil the shocking environmental impact that the World of fast fashion is having on the planet. 

Drawing on the fast that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the World after Oil, one of the shocking moments of this documentary is when Stacey goes to visit the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan. Covering 68,000 sq. km, it was once full of wildlife, fish and a popular tourist destination. Now, due to cotton production the water has all dried-up land is reduced to dust with camels roaming on it. It’s shocking and extremely saddening to see this devastating effect as a direct result from the fashion Industry.

China Blue

China Blue is a 2005 documentary by director Micha Peled. It follows a seventeen-year old girl Jasmine from the Sichuan Province in China, as she works in a factory manufacturing jeans. 

In the documentary, the harsh working conditions are exposed in the factory, and discusses the issues of sweatshops and globalization. The documentary also reveals that the workers in the denim factory are paid as little as 6 cents an hour, live in a room with twelve other workers and can work up to 20 hour shifts at a time. Even more horrifying, some of the workers put clothespins on their eyelids to keep their eyes open so they don’t get fired for falling asleep. 

Speaking about why he made the film, Peled stated “I wanted to put a human face on this issue of modern slavery. We all know that Third World workers are being exploited on our behalf. But as long as they are faceless masses, we can easily ignore the problem.”

The Next Black

The Next Black is a documentary produced by AEG and House of Radon that discusses the future of fashion and whether the future will be centered around smart clothing, innovative ideas and new technologies, or whether the mass consumption of clothing will continue to rise.

The Next Black brings together designers, innovators and leaders from around the World in an attempt to answer these questions surrounding the future of the clothing Industry. It follows stories from companies and brands such as Patagonia, StudioXO, Adidas and Bio Couture, a company that uses cellulose-producing microbes to grow clothing. It explores new solutions to old problems that would change the face of the fashion industry forever.

Unravel

Unravel is a short documentary by filmmaker Meghna Gupta that focuses on the journey that discarded clothing takes all the way to India. 

When we throw away clothes, they don’t all go to a charity shop or a landfill, instead over 100,000 tons of clothing makes it way to a small village called Panipat in India, where they are torn apart and recycled back into thread by local workers. 

The documentary gives a voice to these workers, and listens as they share their views and image of the Western Countries, drawn from their imaginations and garments they receive. It’s a fascinating and important watch, and has been screened at over fifty film festivals and won over 20 awards.

Have you watched any fast fashion documentaries?

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