These six documentaries capture the social, introspective side of fashion, showcasing the vulnerability and courage of various icons in the fashion world. Viewers are taken down an authentic relatable journey of what it takes to work in the industry through different angles.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
Why you should watch: Diana Vreeland’s life story from a young Parisian girl to Fashion Legend is a story of beauty, identity and ambition through a woman’s eyes.
A key thing to watch for: Listen to the meaning behind her idioms.
” Does anyone read a picture book from the beginning . I don’t. The eye has to travel”
“My education was the world”
“My aim was to use fashion to be a transformer”
The Gospel According to André
Why you should watch: André Leon Talley’s life story from humble beginnings in southern North Carolina to global fashion editor is infused with American history and told through the lens of an African American Fashion Legend.
A key thing to watch for: Watch for the “Queen Kong” moment
“Create your own universe and share it with people you respect and love”
“I had something to say and I think the people who mattered realized that”
“You have to see the world through the kaleidoscope eyes of a child. And just be in awe of everything”
Why you should watch: Lee Alexander McQueen’s life story is one from simple surroundings to an avant garde, larger than life designer who interpreted complex issues from a creative angle through the medium of fashion.
A key thing to watch for: Watch the progression of “light” to dark” throughout the documentary.
“Fashion is a big bubble and sometimes I feel like popping it”
“Every fashion designer wants to create an illusion, create things that disturb [and] fascinate people.”
“Clothes are really beautiful to work with but there’s also a reality outside. Some people don’t want to hear it. It’s all lovey dovey and everything’s fine in the world all the time [but] I tell it the way it is”
Why you should watch: Just like people aren’t a monolith, neither is fashion. Fashion comes in many forms and streetwear fashion has its own global story rooted in art, reality and ingenious creativity.
Key things to watch for:
Dapper Dan and the fusion of luxury and urban fashion
The birth of Cross Colours
The influence of hip hop music on streetwear fashion worldwide
“The only way you can show that you have anything and show some kind of status is [by] what you have on your body. What you have on your body is a reflection of how you’re economically doing” – Damon Dash, Rocawear
“When times are bad, a lot of people tend to gravitate toward art. Art takes your mind to another place” – Edwin Phade Sacasa, Shirt Kings
“I’ve seen the influence of hip hop fashion all over the world, Japan and places in Europe. It’s how they relate to the music. They don’t just listen to it, they embody it.” – Pusha T, Play Cloths
“Who’s to say or give a definition of what fashion is or what category it should be in. If it’s great work, it’s great work” – Sean P-Diddy Combs, Sean John
Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist
Why you should watch: Dame Vivienne Westwood’s life story from making clothes at age 11 to highly skilled global fashion designer and activist is a combination of intellect, ambition and social change all in one.
A key thing to watch for: The moment Dame Vivienne is given the British Designer of the Year Award
“I was really a woman on a mission because I knew I was stupid and I had to discover what was going on in the world”
“Every time I design something it has to have a story. It’s got a character”
“I didn’t consider myself a fashion designer at all, but I realized I was very talented and I felt that I wanted people to know that the stuff that was on the Paris catwalk came from me”
Why you should watch: At age 96, Iris Apfel breaks the limits we set for ourselves as we age. Her extraordinary 75 year long career that spans the gamut of fashion and interior design, is a story of wonder, individuality and pragmatism.
A key thing to watch for: Iris Apfel’s thoughts on the disappearance of handcrafted work
“I like individuality. It’s so lost these days. There’s so much sameness, everything is homogenized. I hate it.”
“I had a great sense of history and I realized that everything is interrelated, that politics and science and economics and fashion and all that are one in part of the same.”
“It’s better to be happy than well-dressed”