Documentaries and films are a great way to spread awareness about ethical fashion and the issues surrounding the fashion industry. Here’s our list of favorites.
P.S. We highly recommend enjoying these films with friends and snacks!
TOP TWELVE LIST
1. The True Cost
This documentary is all about fast fashion and the impact it has on the people who make our clothes, as well as its impact on the planet. It’s about unethical practices in the fashion industry and how we as consumers can be more informed about the choices we make and the brands from which we buy. The film follows the life of a garment worker in Bangladesh (one of the largest manufacturers of clothing in the world) and the conditions in which she is forced to work in and her quest for a better life for her child and her family.
2. Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion
The film explores the disposable culture the fast fashion industry has created and asks if there are ways to slow this down. Alex James, a musician from the English rock band Blur, looks at how the clothing industry has evolved from using natural fibres to mostly man-made fibres and what impact this has on the environment. He investigates the reasons behind the shift and if going back to natural fibre clothing is the most sustainable for the planet. He seeks to find solutions to the major problems associated with fast fashion culture and to spread awareness about the alternatives available to the consumer.
3. River Blue
This documentary focuses on water pollution caused by the fashion industry. We all need water to survive and thrive and it’s one of our most precious resources. The film looks at the leather and the denim industry and the toxic chemicals used and discarded in the process of its manufacture. It also looks at how this toxic waste is adversely affecting the health of the people living and working in these communities.
4. The Machinists
This film follows the lives and explores the hardship of three female Bangladeshi garment workers. Bangladesh is one of the largest manufacturers of garments in the world and a majority of the workers are women. It reveals the pressures faced by the workers and the human cost of the garment industry, the bulk of which is exported to developed markets in the US, UK, Europe and Canada. It also explores the role of the leader of the largest trade union in Dhaka and his fight for fair wages for the workers, better working conditions, equal rights for women and dignity of labor. Exploitation is a major problem in the garment industry, with workers being denied their meagre wages and not given the rights that we would all expect from working in a factory setting.
5. Fashion Victims
This documentary examines the aftermath of the disastrous Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 in Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka. It is one of the world’s poorest cities where the cost of labor is cheap. This momentous event changed the fashion industry’s reputation and brought to the forefront the need for ethical business practices throughout the supply chain. It was determined that working conditions in the building were grossly inferior to acceptable standards and the cost pressure the factory workers encountered from the brands led them to ignore and neglect serious health and safety concerns at the building. This led to a collective outrage not just from human rights activists and the garment workers but also from consumers demanding more transparency of manufacturing practices and adherence to an ethical standard of business.
This a heart wrenching documentary about the cruelty and abuse of animals in the factory farming industry in Australia. The film exposes the harsh realities of animal agriculture and brings to question the ethics of breeding large populations of animals just to be slaughtered for meat and other industries. It explores the sheer dominion of humankind over the animal kingdom and the morality and ethics of doing so. It focuses mainly on animals being bred for food, but also explores the exploitation of animals and their use in other industries like fashion, entertainment and research.
This is a shocking documentary revealing animal abuse, misuse and exploitation. The makers of the documentary used hidden cameras to expose the cruelty involved in the animal trade worldwide. A must watch for everyone who wants to understand how we all contribute to the appalling practices of the animal trade industry. Parental guidance is recommended as the scenes are truly horrific.
8. Udita (Arise)
A fashion relevant documentary about sweatshops and garment workers in one the world’s largest manufacturing countries, Bangladesh. It focuses on women workers in particular and their struggle for fair working conditions, pay as well as human rights in one of the most poor and impoverished countries in the world. The labor unions and workers are seen fighting for their due while the owners and manufacturers earn big bucks by blatant exploitation of vulnerable populations. It also documents how the formation of workers unions has taught workers their rights and given them a better chance of achieving fair pay and safe working conditions.
This film examines the environmental impact of large-scale factory farming, as well as the powerful hold of the industry on our governments and elected leaders. The film makers interview several environmental leaders in an attempt to uncover how corporate money and lobbyist from the industry are working hard to keep the secrets of factory farming undiscovered and out of the mainstream media.
10. Food Inc.
Another powerful and informative film about factory farming that focuses more specifically on the food system in the U.S. It empowers consumers to make better choices—better for the planet and better for our health.