Isn’t it fascinating that the fashion world moves so fast, with over a trillion interactions and pursuits yet, someone can take a moment to just…summarize it all? That’s the magic of fashion documentaries.
Every established fashion brand has a documentary or is at least, working on one. In the last decade, more brands have opened up to the idea of having cameras around recording bits and pieces of their day-to-day and slotting in old tapes and b-rolls to tell their story. Valentino has one. Manolo Blahnik has one. Iris Apfel has one. Alexa Chung has one too.
A good fashion documentary is not only insightful but has the power to demystify misconceptions about the industry and inspire a new generation of talent. Take The First Monday in May, an activity filled documentary offering a peek into what goes on into crafting and planning fashion’s biggest night – the Met gala – through the event of one of most popular fashion exhibits in history: the 2015 art exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass. With Anna Wintour and several Vogue authorities taking the lead, you’re bound to see a lot of management, unsurety, last minute decisions and success which is enough to make you think again about the nature of the industry.
Here are 5 fashion documentaries that aren’t based on ratings or sales but on the simple notion that they were enjoyed by people like me and the expectation that they will be enjoyed by you too.
Director: Anissa Bonnefont
Watch on: Netflix
Fame can be a weird thing when people focus on it without recognizing there are other real life unsolved mysteries in people’s lives. In this documentary, Olivier Rousteing bares it all by exposing the public to his life inside and outside of being Balmain’s creative director while searching for his own personal identity and history.
Alexa Chung: The Future Of Fashion
Director: Jim Demuth
Watch on: YouTube
In this hour long documentary series, Alexa Chung and British Vogue take an in-depth look into the industry through a guided list of questions from the public. The documentary takes on interview style featuring PR officials, psychologists, designers and insiders getting the views and options on the state of fashion at the time and now it ties into the future.
Franca: Chaos and Creation
Director: Francesco Carozzini
Watch on: Prime Video, Apple TV
This documentary brings human emotion front and center in a way that’s real and natural. Filmed in guerilla style, it captures the memories, musings and hopes of Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue, on her life in fashion before her illness. One other thing notable about this documentary is that it was filmed by her own son.
Maddman: The Steve Madden Story
Director: Ben Patterson
Watch on: Apple TV, Peacock
If this wasn’t one of the industry’s most accomplished fashion documentaries, it would very well pass for a great drama. The story trails Steve Madden’s life as a lover and maker of women’s shoes and his rise to the top after being sent to prison following his involvement with Jordan Belfort aka the wolf of wall street. This documentary is one of proactivity, relationship, hope, dedication and determination, encouraging people to not only have love for something but go the extra mile to protect it and watch it grow against all odds.
Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer
Director: Vlad Yudin
Watch on: Prime Video, Apple TV
Where young boys run away from colour and things that look too cute to be “masculine,” it’s Jeremy’s cue to jump right in. A true lover of fashion design and creativity that doesn’t need to make sense at first glance, this aptly-named documentary follows the humble beginnings of the former creative director of Moschino and his rise to the top while remaining true to his unconventional and distinct styles that are not only about clothes but people and exiting brands alike.