Raise your hand if you spend your weekends watching Netflix and chilling.
But if you’ve watched almost every drama, romcom or thriller that the American media-services provider has to offer, or you need a break from watching Friends for the umpteenth time, why not try your hand at these fashion documentaries?
Whether you’re interested in finding out about the creative processes behind some of the biggest names in the field (Franca: Chaos and Creation and Dries) or the environmental and social impact left by the trillion dollar industry (The True Cost), you’ll get a greater and deeper appreciation of the wondrous world of fashion after these shows.
1. The True Cost
You and I know it: Fast fashion is quick and easy. Just pop into any one of the conveniently located stores, pick a dress and pay. Plus, fast fashion promises new styles and designs so you’ll always be spoiled for choice. But The True Cost, which debuted in 2015, talks about the impact that fast fashion has on the fashion industry, from workers toiling under inhumane conditions (Google Rana Plaza), to how the media goads our never-ending consumption to the environmental degradation and unscrupulous business dealings that afflicts everyone in the chain, especially those in less developed nations. Directed by Andrew Morgan and partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, this film is a must-watch to get a glimpse into what goes into the clothing on your back.
2. Franca: Chaos and Creation
What goes on in the mind of a genius? Directed by her son Francesco Carrozzini, Franca: Chaos and Creation delves into the personality of the late iconic editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani. Through interviews with her closest collaborators such as the late Karl Lagerfeld, photographer Peter Lindbergh and director Baz Luhrmann, you can get a glimpse into the thought process and the ground-breaking influence that Franca had on the fashion world. For those who aren’t familiar with her work, Vogue Italia under Franca was the go-to magazine for haute couture and avant-garde imageries that lie in stark contrast with the more commercial American and British Vogue, for example. One of her prominent work was an all-black women cover on the July 2008 issue (also their best-seller) that highlighted the issues of racism in the fashion world.
3. Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards
Possibly one of the most recognisable luxury footwear label, Manolo Blahnik shoes are a cultural icon in their own right. Known for styles such as the famed Hangisi and Swan designs, Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards deals with the personality and the master crafter, Manolo Blahnik himself. Fun fact: He has never had formal education on shoe-making. In the show, Manolo talks about his design processes and the various influences he has had in his four decade long career. Directed by his close friend Michael Roberts, the film also features cameo interviews of fashion and entertainment bigwigs, from Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley to Rihanna and Rupert Everett.
Fashion aficionados would not be unfamiliar with the term Antwerp Six, an influential avant-garde fashion collective made up of a group of designers that transformed the Belgium city into one known for its fashion design and creativity. Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten, the star of this documentary, is one of them. Directed by Reiner Holzemer, this film is a year-long production that looks at his life, his eponymous label and how he develops and creates his romantic and fantastical runways that have since become one of the staple shows to catch during the Paris Fashion Week. With his deep craftsmen-like expertise, the revolutionary artist is known for his use of wild colours and prints and the show is a gateway to understanding the private man and his successes and failures.
5. Social Fabric
We are all guilty of throwing on pieces of clothing without much thought. But while it might seem like just another pair of jeans or a t-shirt in your closet, each article has a story to tell. And it is these stories that are being uncovered and explored by Los Angeles-based streetwear designer Kyle Ng in Social Fabric. Created by Red Bull TV, which means you can also watch the show for free via their website, the 12-episode long series comes in manageable 25 minute segments with each one exploring a different clothing item, such as jeans, t-shirts, cowboy boots and the men’s suit. Kyle travels around the world and speaks to fans and craftspeople to unearth their history and cultural significance.
6. House of Z
If there’s anything more spectacular than seeing someone great fall, it is to see them make a comeback and rise greater than before. It is this tale that’s being told in House of Z, a film by Sandy Chronopoulos on American designer Zac Posen. You might know him for his eponymous label, perhaps his work as creative director to Brooks Brother or his stint as judge on Project Runway. The show details his meteoric rise as one of fashion’s darlings, and his quick fall from grace due to a combined effort of a dislike for his supposed arrogance and the 2008 financial crisis. It also showcases his amazing journey back to fame.
7. Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer
Under Jeremy Scott’s leadership, Italian label Moschino is synonymous with irreverent designs that feature MacDonald’s iconic golden arches and loud, colourful prints. In the documentary, Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer by Vlad Yudin, you’ll discover the journey of how the Missourian farm boy struggled to break into and gain acceptance from the fashion world and his subsequent rise to becoming an iconic designer in his own right. Fans will also relish the cameo appearances of celebs such as 2NE1’s CL, Jared Leto, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, all of whom are fans of this unconventional maestro.
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