sustainable documentaries worth a watch

Long time no see? This seems to be a regular opening on my blog but I am going to try and stick to a regular blogging schedule in the near future because I miss it and I want to inform you all of all the great and wonderful things occurring within the world of ethical fashion.

I’ve got a few posts planned and written for the end of the year so I’m not going to abandon Eleanor Claudie until 2018 don’t worry. Today’s post, however, is about a few ethical fashion and sustainable documentaries that I’d recommend you all to watch if you have the time over the Christmas period.
The true cost
Watch it on: Netflix
The true cost is a documentary by Andrew Morgan that is very widely know, hence why I decide to open with it in this post. The documentary examines fast fashion’s flaws that are not advertised to the public eye and discusses the production line that caused a factory collapse killing more than 1,000 people in Bangledesh in 2013, to the toxic waste from by factories that are producing disposable garments.

Our shopping habits have serious consequences for people and the environment. The actual reality of the fashion industry remains hidden from public view and there is so much more to the industry than what we see plastered over social media, and this documentary shows you all of it. Fast fashion is a serious obsession that’s destroying lives and our environment. This documentary was shown to me in a year 9 Geography lesson forever changed the way I view fashion and although it took me a few years to put it into practice, I’m so glad I did. I know that sounds pretty preachy but I guess that watching these documentaries are truly eye opening. Whether they inspire you to find out more information or just inspire you to want to change your shopping ways – these documentaries are hugely fascinating because these are peoples lives that we have the power to change them.


The Machinists
Watch it on: Youtube
A vivid and moving documentary in which the personal stories of three female Bangladeshi garment workers and the boss of a fledgling trade union in Dhaka intersect to portray the human cost of western high street fashion. The film was brought out in 2013 but still resonates hugely with the treatment of workers today.
If you did want something a little more up to date the Udita (Arise) documentary may be more suitable (this was released in 2015), again it is a documentary following the lives of female workers in Bangladesh in the five years after the Rana Plaza disaster.

Both these films do make you want to change your shopping habits because it opened my eyes to the people behind the garments I was buying. No matter how pretty the dress was, in no way was the story behind it pretty, the women themselves are imploring us to change our shopping habits. You can educate yourself to why you should buy ethical fashion but seeing the people behind the garments and their treatment, It is shocking.
Before the Flood
Where to watch: Youtube
Leo Dicaprio made a film that’s both a political statement and desperate call to arms for action. He’s a United Nations Messenger of Peace, the Academy Award-winner actor travels to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. Speaking to various people that are politically powerful including former President Barack Obama he urges us to think about how we’re impacting this rapid move to global climate change.

It’s far from an ethical fashion documentary but I wanted to include it in this list because there is an aspect of fashion and the way we dispose of fashion that does contribute to climate change. It’s such an interesting film and I would recommend you all to watch, especially if you want some Christmas viewing that is just is serious but perhaps less horrific than some of the other documentaries mentioned.

Tedx Talks

Where to watch: Youtube
After being linked to a Ted x talk on a comment of a blog post, I absolutely fell in love with them. Not just on ethical fashion but also leadership, immigration and young people. They’re not necessarily documentaries as such but they’re shorter and just as engaging videos from people in the business who really know what they’re talking about. The one I absolutely loved wasHow to Engage with Ethical Fashion’ spoken by Clara Vuletich who is a designer, researcher, educator and consultant. It really summed up how you can take part in the movement and make a difference and I would definitely recommend watching if you have a spare fifteen minutes of so. Lucy Siegle did a Tedx Talk three years ago about ‘The Wardrobe to Die For’ and I would also hugely recommend watching that if you wanted to further your ethical viewing.


Undercover: Britain’s Cheap Clothes
Where to watch: Channel 4 online
You wouldn’t imagine that some of the horrific treatment that happens to garment workers abroad would happen to workers in Britain yet it does. This 2017 Channel 4 documentary goes undercover in some of Britain’s factories to show the treatment of some of the workers that made clothes for companies like New Look and Boohoo. It’s a two part documentary (although I seem to only be able to find one part) and it was in one of the interviews that I realised how it’s not just the brands we buy from but our shopping habits surrounding those brands.

It’s worth a watch because I don’t think we would ever assume that the treatment of workers in Britain is under the standard compared to other countries such as Syria yet it is and they’re right on our doorstep.

Are there any ethical documentaries that you’ve watched and had an impact on how you look at the things that you buy?


I’m always up for new recommendations and I’d love to know your thoughts (also if you’ve watched any of these do let me know what you think of them!)


  1. Joanne Amarisa 14th December 2017 at 8:18 am

    Wow, I'm definitely bookmarking this list. I've watched The True Cost and it's completely overturned my views on the fashion world and I'm eager to watch all these other ones you mentioned. I think it's important to be as educated and informed as we can about climate change, and I've been meaning to watch that Leo DiCaprio one for a while now.
    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Have a nice rest of the week xo

    Joanne | With Risa: A Lifestyle Blog

  2. Dalal Tahira 20th December 2017 at 11:36 am

    I've never watched documentaries surrounding fashion and clothing production but I've heard enough about it from bloggers like yourself and the news. It's something I definitely want to become more conscious about, I'll definitely check out The True Cost because as you said, it's the most widely-known one. I shall bookmark this list for later- love how you're spreading the ethical message through providing educational resources!

    Dalal //

  3. libbyjade26 27th December 2017 at 12:01 am

    I'm going to give some of these a watch, I really need to because I want to become more ethical in my approach to everything and clothing isn't something I am overly ethical towards (but part of my blames that at getting a hefty staff discount at ASOS). Going to definitely give The True Cost a watch as I've heard so much about it, and probably the Leo one just because I'm in love with him. Also I know it's beside the point but I love your trousers in this post, also I really loved this post x

  4. Besma | Curiously Conscious 28th December 2017 at 12:13 am

    Thanks for putting this list together Eleanor! I just finished watching the Dispatches episode – it's incredible, the level of poor treatment in fashion even affects UK workers. All the more reason to buy ethical, slow fashion!

    Besma | Curiously Conscious


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *