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25 Fashion Documentaries You Must Watch in 2024

I created a list of 25 must-watch fashion documentaries for 2024 in this article. Between glimpses of the lives of the world’s most well-known designers and journalists in fashion, what happens to our clothes, and the glamour of high-profile magazines like Vogue, these documentaries give a diverse and insightful exploration of the fashion world. So, grab your popcorn (or other favorite to-go movie snack) and come along on a documented cinematic journey through the captivating world of fashion, art, culture, style, the environment, and history together.

By Alna ArmoniaPublished 3 months ago 9 min read
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25 Fashion Documentaries You Must Watch in 2024
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Disclaimer:

  • No affiliate links, sponsorships, or partnerships are featured in this article. Any recommendations for where the documentaries mentioned in this article can be watched online at the recommended places.
  • Some documentaries in this article contain an audience discretion notice, ranging from foul language to trigger warnings. No matter which documentaries have this notice or not, viewer discretion is advised in all documentaries listed in this article.

Introduction

Immerse yourself into the captivating world of fashion, art, culture, and history with this handpicked selection of 25 documentaries that each offer a unique, informative, and insightful perspective on the creativity, craftsmanship, and stories behind the garments we wear, inviting viewers to immerse themselves into the tapestry and history of the fashion industry. Whether you're a seasoned fashion enthusiast, a social justice advocate in the fashion industry, or just simply curious about the stories behind iconic designers, journalists, and cultural phenomena in the fashion industry, these documentaries promise to entertain, enlighten, educate, inform, and inspire. From glimpses of the lives of the world’s most well-known designers and magazines to the truth behind what happens to our clothes, these documentaries provide a diverse and comprehensive look at the artistry, craftsmanship, and importance behind the clothes we wear and the significance of how the fashion industry shapes society today and the future:

1. “McQueen" (2018)

(Trigger Warning): This documentary contains mentions and visuals for the discussions on the topics of violence, gender inequality, sexual abuse, etc. Viewer discretion is advised.

(Foul Language Warning): This documentary contains foul language in some parts of the documentary. Viewer discretion is advised.

This documentary delves deep into the complex world of legendary designer Alexander McQueen, where it explores his genius, struggles, and the lasting impact and legacy he had on the fashion world altogether. “McQueen” (2018) can be watched on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Vudu.

2. "Dior and I" (2014)

Directed by Frédéric Tcheng, this documentary tells the story of a designer named Raf Simons as he creates his first Haute Couture collection for Christian Dior, providing a glimpse into the creative process behind one of fashion's most revered luxury houses. “Dior and I” (2016) can be watched on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Philo, Google Play Movies & TV, Tubi, Pluto TV, Vudu, Crackle, PLEX, FuboTV, and YouTube.

3. "The September Issue" (2009)

This documentary steps into the world of fashion publishing and goes behind the scenes of Vogue's annual iconic September issue, offering a fascinating look at the editorial process led by Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour. “The September Issue” (2009) can be watched on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Tubi, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, and YouTube.

4. "Bill Cunningham New York" (2010)

(Foul Language Warning): This documentary contains foul language in some parts of the documentary. Viewer discretion is advised.

This documentary celebrates the life and work of beloved street-style photographer Bill Cunningham, and captures his unique perspective on fashion and New York City. “Bill Cunningham New York” (2010) can be watched on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Kanopy, and Max.

5. "Iris" (2014)

(Foul Language Warning): This documentary contains foul language in some parts of the documentary. Viewer discretion is advised.

This documentary tells the story of Iris Apfel and celebrates her life, eclectic style, and unapologetic attitude, proving that fashion is about self-expression and embracing individuality at any age. “Iris” (2014) can be watched on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, and Youtube.

6. “The Clothes We Wear" (2020)

Created by the German broadcasting service DW Documentary, this documentary discusses how dangerous fast fashion is for the environment, people, and the planet. From this discussion, the documentary looks at the manufacturing process of clothes for fast fashion brands (including Primark, Zara, and H&M) and how the practices of these fast fashion brands environmentally and humanitarian-wise have an impact on the world negatively. This documentary can be watched on YouTube.

7. "Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards" (2017)

This documentary immerses viewers into the whimsical world of shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, highlighting his creativity and passion for footwear. "Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards" (2017) can be watched on YouTube, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu.

8. "Franca: Chaos and Creation" (2016)

(Trigger Warning): This documentary contains mentions and visuals for the discussions on the topics of violence, gender inequality, sexual abuse, etc. Viewer discretion is advised.

Directed by Francesco Carrozzini, this documentary pays tribute to Vogue Italia Editor-In-Chief Franca Sozzani, showcasing her fearless approach to fashion journalism and her transformative impact on the fashion industry. "Franca: Chaos and Creation" (2016) can be watched on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.

9. "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" (2018)

(Trigger Warning): This documentary contains mentions and visuals, for the discussions on the topics of violence, gender inequality, sexual abuse, etc. Viewer discretion is advised.

(Foul Language Warning): This documentary contains foul language in some parts of the documentary. Viewer discretion is advised.

This documentary tells of Vivienne Westwood and her rebellious spirit as a fashion icon, celebrating her punk-inspired designs and outspoken activism. "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" (2018) can be watched on Tubi, Apple TV, Roku, Pluto TV, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu.

10. "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel" (2011)

Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, this documentary explores the life and career of legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland, offering a glimpse into her influential role in shaping the fashion industry. “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” (2011) can be watched on Tubi, Pluto TV, PLEX, Apple TV, Sling TV, Roku, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Kanopy, Curiosity Stream, and Vudu.

11. “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's" (2013)

This documentary gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the iconic luxury department store, Bergdorf Goodman, in New York City and celebrates its rich history and influence on fashion and culture. “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's" (2013) can be watched on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies + TV, Vudu, Roku, Kanopy, PLEX, and Apple TV.

12. "Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution" (2012)

This documentary tells of the historic fashion showdown between American and French designers at the 1973 Battle of Versailles and explores the event's impact on the fashion world. "Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution" (2012) can be watched on YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Apple TV, Vimeo, Roku, Google Play Movies & TV, and Vudu.

13. "The True Cost" (2015)

Directed by Andrew Morgan, this eye-opening documentary examines the environmental and ethical issues surrounding the global fashion industry, prompting viewers to gain more awareness of these issues and rethink their consumption habits, their view on the fashion industry, and how they can make the fashion industry better through their consumption habits and purchasing decisions. “The True Cost” (2015) can be watched on Peacock, Tubi, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video.

14. "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston" (2010)

(Trigger Warning): This documentary contains mentions of the topic of drugs. Viewer discretion is advised.

(Foul Language Warning): This documentary contains foul language in some parts of the documentary. Viewer discretion is advised.

This documentary tells of the rise and downfall of well-known designer Halston and delves into his designs and influence on 1970s fashion and nightlife. "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston" (2010) can be watched on Peacock, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Roku, Pluto TV, PLEX, and Vudu.

15. "The Gospel According to André" (2017)

Directed by Kate Novack, this documentary shows the candid portrait and life of fashion journalist and icon André Leon Talley, tracing his journey from the segregated South to the upper echelons of the fashion world in New York City in the U.S. and the rest of the world. "The Gospel According to André" (2018) can be watched on Hulu, Max, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies + TV, Apple TV, Vudu, and YouTube.

16. "Unravel: The final resting place of your cast-off clothing" (2016)

This documentary shows what happens to clothes after they are thrown away, and focuses on India as a prime example, following the process and journey of how clothes are cast off from the US, the UK, and other countries to later be destroyed in Third World countries who receive the cast-off clothing. "Unravel: The final resting place of your cast-off clothing" (2016) can be watched on YouTube.

17. "Fashion Reimagined" (2022)

This award-winning documentary tells the story of fashion designer Amy Powney, where she brings viewers on her journey of turning her well-known clothing brand, Mother of Pearl, into a more sustainable fashion brand. Within this journey, Powney explores the negative impacts of today's fashion industry and the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry for the future. "Fashion Reimagined" (2022) can be watched on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Roku, Sky Documentaries (in the UK), Apple TV, and Vudu.

18. "The Secret World of Haute Couture" (2007)

This BBC documentary explores the world of Haute Couture, going behind the scenes of Paris Fashion Week and showcasing the craftsmanship and artistry of the world's top designers. "The Secret World of Haute Couture" (2007) can be watched on YouTube and Vimeo.

19. "Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion" (2016)

This documentary follows the story of musician Alex James as he uncovers the cold, hard dark truth of what happens with fast fashion in the fashion industry, the impact of fast fashion on the environment, and the best solutions to combat fast fashion and its negative humanitarian and environmental impact on the world. "Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion" (2016) can be watched on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.

20. "The Next Black: A Film About the Future of Clothing” (2014)

Directed by David Dworsky and Victor Köhler, this documentary explores the future of fashion and sustainability, showcasing innovative technologies and practices that are shaping the fashion industry today and in the years to come. “The Next Black: A Film About the Future of Clothing” (2014) can be watched on YouTube.

21. "Discovering Stella McCartney" (2016)

Directed by Tania Love, this documentary looks at the life and career of fashion designer Stella McCartney, highlighting her commitment to sustainable and cruelty-free fashion. “Discovering Stella McCartney” (2016) can be watched on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.

22. "Advanced Style" (2014)

Directed by Lina Plioplyte, this documentary celebrates the style and spirit of New York City's most fashionable seniors, offering a refreshing perspective on aging, fashion, style, and self-expression. "Advanced Style" (2014) can be watched on Sling TV, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play Movies + TV, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video.

23. "In Vogue: The Editor's Eye" (2012)

Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, this documentary explores the role of Vogue's editors in shaping the magazine's iconic images and influence on fashion and culture. "In Vogue: The Editor's Eye" (2012) can be watched on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.

24. "The Artist Is Absent: A Short Film on Martin Margiela" (2015)

Directed by Alison Chernick, this documentary short film offers a glimpse into the world of fashion designer Maison Martin Margiela and explores his innovative designs, art, and reclusive nature in the fashion industry. "The Artist Is Absent: A Short Film on Martin Margiela" (2015) can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.

25. “ReDress The Future” (2021)

This documentary series follows climate justice activist Mikaela Loach as she explores different ways for the fashion industry to become more sustainable, including showing how old clothes can be repaired to keep them long-lasting, how old clothes can be recycled into something new, and how old materials can be created into more sustainable materials. "ReDress The Future" (2021) can be watched on WaterBear, and you can find more information and resources there too.

Conclusion

These 25 fashion documentaries are great to watch in 2024 because they offer a unique opportunity to explore the creativity, innovation, ethics, and stories that have helped shape the fashion industry throughout the past few decades, as well as how the fashion industry can be a better industry for the future. By delving into the personal narratives and artistic processes behind the world's most well-known designers and journalists, these documentaries talk about artistic and cultural phenomena during the lives and legacies of these fashion designers and journalists. To explore how to solve the most important problems in the fashion industry, this list of documentaries also invites viewers to see fashion as more than just exploring clothes, but also a reflection of one’s values, ethics, identities, aspirations, inspirations, and what they truly care about in the world.

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About the Creator

Alna Armonia

Experienced eco-fashion, DIY, & art writer & advocate for sustainability & mental health. Follow for eco-fashion, mental health, eco-art, & pop culture with unique insights blending fashion, eco-consciousness, mental health advocacy & art.

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