Regular MyDomaine readers have probably noticed that our editorial staff has an affinity for documentaries. From visually stunning nature documentaries and awe-inspiring travel documentaries to thought-provoking health documentaries, we're always prepared with non-fiction film recommendations that'll help even the most indecisive Netflix viewer narrow down their streaming options.
Spanning a documentary that's been deemed "the real Devil Wears Prada," to films that take a critical look at the human and environmental cost of fashion, these are the movies that style editors find the most inspiring, fascinating, and captivating.
Scroll on to find out which 20 fashion documentaries the Who What Wear editorial team recommend streaming stat (including a handful of our own picks.)
In the 21st century, the idealistic standard of beauty is still as thin as the fashion models strutting down the catwalk. Straight/Curve examines the systemic lack of body diversity in the fashion industry and why it matters, which can begin as early as fashion school. "We live in a melting pot society and most people are simply not being represented. Perhaps some men and women don't care about fashion, but everybody has to wear clothes," the film's director, Jenny McQuaile, tells Bazaar.
The Colour of Beauty (2010)
If the fashion industry is a microcosm of broader workplace shortcomings, then this documentary, highlighting black model Rene Thompson's efforts to strive for career success in a largely homogenous industry will feel familiar across industries. The Colour of Beauty is short (at 17 minutes), yet poignant warning that there's still work to do when it comes to representation.
Available on: National Film Board of Canada
Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
"Bill Cunningham New York is required viewing for anyone with even a mild interest in fashion, New York City, and street style (or anyone who just loves a feel-good documentary.) He's so pure and genuine and will always be a fashion industry legend."
The Tents (2012)
Beneath giant white tents, New York Fashion Week was born. From its early days in Bryant Park to its current home at Lincoln Center, The Tents follows NY Fashion Week's growth into the industry's biggest event. It includes exclusive, behind the scenes footage and interviews with top fashion designers, including Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger to Zac Posen.
Diana Vreeland (2011)
"Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. I can't say I'm quite the maximalist as Vreeland is—not even close. But I can't help but be delighted by her over-the-top 'Why don't you?' approach to personal style. And truthfully, as a fashion editor, it fascinates me to see what the profession looked like way before anyone even knew what an internet connection was."
Seamless follows ten aspiring fashion designers as they compete in a contest hosted by Vogue magazine and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Like a reality television show, the documentary focuses on both design and the high-stakes business behind its garments. Appearances by Anna Wintour, Vera Wang, and Isaac Mizrahi also grace the screen.
Available on: Amazon (DVD)
Crazy About Tiffany's (2016)
From humble jewelry store to global icon, go behind the scenes of Tiffany & Co.'s past and present history. Crazy About Tiffany's gives viewers an inside look at how the distinct blue box grew to become coveted around the world.
"Iris was not only an amazing glimpse into the real-life happenings of Iris Apfel, but was also so funny and entertaining it could really be called a comedy." Fans of eclectic fashion and wise-cracking older women will want to watch this.
Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco (2017)
Antonio Lopez was arguably fashion's most recognized fashion illustrator, and this eponymous documentary features interviews from famous friends in his orbit as they piece together his whirlwind life. From his youth in Puerto Rico to his rise within the fashion media industry in the '60s, Lopez's squad takes viewers through his colorful, inclusive life.
Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (2018)
Westwood is a documentary about Vivienne Westwood, once a fashion outsider turned industry darling, social and environmental activist. Viewers watch her decades-long career; her struggles and triumphs, as well as hear from Westwood herself. Westwood actually wasn't much of a fan of Westwood when it released in 2018, reports Vanity Fair, but we'll let you develop your own opinion.
Fresh Dressed (2015)
Fashion and hip-hop go hand-in-hand, and one documentary, Fresh Dressed, aims to examine this symbiotic relationship, including its DIY roots. "Long before Jay Z was rapping about fashion designer Tom Ford, Pharrell Williams was pitching for Chanel or Kanye West was a front-row fixture at Givenchy, kids were customizing jean jackets with spray paint and accessorizing shell-toed Adidas shoes with starched laces," reported the Los Angeles Times in 2015.
The First Monday in May (2016)
The line where art ends and fashion begins is murky, and the industry's biggest cultural event of the year poses this question annually. The First Monday in May gives viewers backstage access to the Met Gala, featuring marquee designers, filmmakers, pop icons and other creatives, including Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour.
Dior And I (2014)
"Dior and I is a fashion documentary I've watched an embarrassing amount of times. It kind of just has it all—the marvel that goes into a couture house, the typically unseen transition of a new artistic director, and much more."
The True Cost (2015)
Do you know who made your favorite pair of jeans, or your go-to night out dress? More often than not, it was made in the developing world. The True Cost casts a critical spotlight on harsh industry working conditions through the stories of three Bangladeshi garment workers.
The Next Black (2014)
What we wear, how we wear it, and what clothing can do for us is changing. The companies and brands highlighted in The Next Black—from Adidas to Patagonia, to Biocouture, a biodesign company working to minimize toxic waste produced in the production of clothing, show us the future of fashion.
Available on: YouTube
"I have a fascination with fashion from the '90s, and Unzipped offers a glimpse inside that world. The film follows fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi in a funny, inspiring, and raw look at working in fashion during the decade—supermodels included."
When the Western world's clothes are discarded, they take a likely trip to India. There, local female workers turn them into thread, where it is then used to make blankets that go back to the West, reports Refinery29. Directed by Meghna Gupta, Unravel follows the journey of clothing cast-offs to India's industrial interior.
Available on: YouTube
The September Issue (2009)
"The September Issue is definitely my favorite fashion documentary. I live for Anna Wintour because she's the most powerful woman in fashion, and I also loved the behind-the-scenes look at Vogue because I used to dream about working there when I was younger."
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's (2013)
Critics of Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's can't seem to distinguish where documentary ends and infomercial begins, and yet it is a fun peek behind the curtains at one of America's most iconic department stores. Among the who's who of the fashion world, the film follows Bergdorf's fashion director, Linda Fargo, personal shopper Betty Halbreich, and David Hoey, who designs the department store's extravagant window displays.
A Man's Story (2012)
A Man's Story tracks the career and personal life of British tailor and fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, who is often described as having been the youngest person to have his own shop on London's storied Savile Row. Boateng—Givenchy's former Creative Director—was also the first tailor to show at Paris Fashion Week, and in 2018, signed on with British Airways to design their employees's in-flight uniforms.