8 Sustainable Fashion Documentaries to Watch

Welcome to a cinematic exploration of the intersection between style and sustainability. In a world where fashion choices can have profound impacts on the environment, ethical filmmaking serves as a powerful lens through which we can examine the evolving landscape of sustainable fashion. From documentaries uncovering the true cost of fast fashion to fictional narratives envisioning a future of eco-conscious couture, these movies inspire reflection and action. Discover how the reel world meets the real world, unraveling the threads of sustainable fashion on-screen in a way that both entertains and enlightens. Let the screen be your guide to a more conscientious and stylish future.

The True Cost

“The True Cost” is a riveting documentary that unveils the hidden realities behind the fast fashion industry, exposing its environmental and ethical consequences. Through poignant storytelling and eye-opening interviews, the film takes viewers on a journey from glamorous runways to the harsh realities faced by garment workers in developing countries. With a compelling call to action, “The True Cost” urges audiences to reevaluate their consumer choices and consider the profound impact of the fashion industry on both people and the planet.

Made in China

“Made in China” emerges as a poignant documentary, bravely capturing the journey of personal growth and self-acceptance within a culture where a voiceless generation strives for the opportunity to express their true selves. The film masterfully weaves a universal narrative against the backdrop of a conflicting and unknown world, shedding light on the struggles faced by individuals in search of identity in a society that often demands conformity. Through its compelling storytelling, “Made in China” invites viewers to empathize with the challenges of self-discovery and underscores the universal resonance of the human experience within the complexities of a specific cultural context.

The Machinists

“The Machinists,” directed by Hannan Majid and Richard York, is a compelling 2012 British documentary that sheds light on the harsh realities faced by garment workers in Bangladesh. Through the personal narratives of three young women toiling in Dhaka’s factories, the film unveils the exploitation and challenges they endure, from insufficient and delayed pay to mandatory, uncompensated overtime. With a poignant focus on individual stories, the documentary exposes the broader issues of labor exploitation in the garment industry, prompting viewers to contemplate the ethical implications of the clothes they wear, often produced under conditions of extreme hardship.


“Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” is a compelling exploration of the minimalist lifestyle, offering a thought-provoking perspective on the pursuit of meaning over material possessions. Through interviews with experts, authors, and individuals living minimalist lives, the film challenges societal norms around consumerism and highlights the liberating benefits of simplifying one’s life. With its visually engaging storytelling and inspirational narratives, “Minimalism” encourages viewers to reconsider their own values, sparking a reflection on the true essence of happiness and fulfillment beyond the trappings of excess.

The Economics of Happiness

“The Economics of Happiness” is a thought-provoking documentary that delves into the profound impact of globalization on local economies and communities. Through compelling narratives and expert interviews, the film advocates for a shift towards localized, sustainable practices as a counterbalance to the homogenizing effects of global economic forces. With a powerful message about the importance of prioritizing community well-being over unbridled growth, “The Economics of Happiness” challenges viewers to reconsider their perspectives on economic success and embrace a more sustainable and equitable future.

The Next Black

“The Next Black” is a thought-provoking documentary that explores the future of the fashion industry, delving into innovative and sustainable practices that challenge traditional norms. Through interviews with industry leaders, designers, and innovators, the film offers a glimpse into the potential of transformative technologies and sustainable approaches in shaping the next generation of clothing. With its visually engaging storytelling and forward-looking perspective, “The Next Black” encourages viewers to reconsider the environmental impact of fashion and contemplate a future where style and sustainability seamlessly coexist.

The Deadly Cost of Fashion

Produced by Ismail Ferdous and Nathan Fitch, this documentary follows a photojournalist who reported on the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013. The photographer uncovers compelling connections to New York as he discovers clothing labels amidst the rubble, illustrating the global implications of the devastating event. The film serves as a powerful exploration of the interconnectedness of the fashion industry and its profound impact on a global scale.


“RiverBlue” is an eye-opening documentary that delves into the environmental impact of the fashion industry, particularly focusing on the pollution caused by the dyeing processes. The film takes viewers on a global journey, exposing the devastating consequences of toxic chemicals released into rivers and waterways, affecting communities and ecosystems. With a blend of investigative journalism and stunning visuals, “RiverBlue” serves as a powerful call to action, urging audiences to consider the ecological footprint of their fashion choices and advocate for sustainable practices within the industry.

Looking for more resources? Find a list of recommended books here

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