HOW FASHION DOCUMENTARIES ARE CHANGING OUR PERSPECTIVES

In the last few years, documentaries have become extremely popular among fashion brands, to document the growth of the brand and to show consumers behind the scenes. They provide a great opportunity for brands to show off their personality and add to their brand image. They are a real eye-opener to how these fashion brands operate and can have either a positive or negative impact on our perception of the brand after watching them. I have seen a few documentary series that have been shown on tv and have had a very mixed response to them. These were for fashion brands Dior, InTheStyle and Misguided.

Dior

The ‘Inside Dior’ documentary was very well done. It highlighted the history of the brand and focused on Maria Grazia Chiuri becoming the first female creative director of the brand. It also showed the inspiration behind Maria’s debut collection with the brand, which took the company in a more feminist route than previously before. The two-part documentary oozed luxury at its core, with opulent parties and mansions shown in the episodes.

The documentary really showed some of the brand’s biggest strengths, with their quality craftsmanship at the forefront, as we were introduced to key employees at their atelier in Paris. This provided a good image for the brand, as their haute couture workers all looked happy to be working for the company and seemed to love their jobs. It also felt more down to earth, with one of the haute couture designers saying they would never wear their own creations and discussing how special each individual piece is to them.

I would have liked for this documentary to have been longer. It felt very condensed in the two episodes and could have been much more detailed, to give a more in-depth view of the brand (although they did do another documentary back in 2014, so maybe that one had more information). I also wanted to see more of the different aspects of Dior such as their marketing team etc, as there was a very heavy focus on the designers and the making of the products, rather than seeing the business as a whole.

All in all, I maintained my positive perception of Dior after watching this documentary. I didn’t realise just how much effort went into each garment, with them saying it took days just to hand embroider onto the fabric. It emphasised the importance of that luxurious quality for the brand.

InTheStyle

The InTheStyle ‘Breaking Fashion’ documentary definitely gave a good insight into the company and the CEO, Adam Frisby. It was clear from the start, how the brand operates and how they work with influencers to sell their clothing. I actually quite enjoyed learning their process, as it is quite unique to that of other fashion brands. It was also nice to see the faces behind the brand, from every department, who may have highlighted the stresses in their jobs, but also seemed to enjoy what they do. It was a highly entertaining watch and slightly addictive, watching the staff rush to finish in time for a deadline.

One of the issues I found with the documentary was that it didn’t really address sustainability. In the introduction to each episode the CEO says he likes to challenge that fast fashion isn’t sustainable but we don’t get to see how he goes about this in the documentary. We see in most of the episodes that the turnaround time is extremely quick and that the buying department are constantly trying to negotiate the prices of their units down with their suppliers. However we don’t get a glimpse of how the brand is tackling sustainability, which is such a huge issue among fast-fashion brands. With the brand advertising new collections every two weeks and that they ship their garments from China, I think it would have been really interesting to see how the brand implements sustainability, as this is a huge consumer demand influencing the fashion industry.

I will admit, I did actually buy from the brand after watching this documentary, as I hadn’t bought from them previously. I liked that they wanted to make luxury more affordable and create clothing on this premise. However, after a week of owning the two garments I ordered, the stitching came undone and unfortunately the brand was lower quality than I would’ve liked. Now maybe I was unlucky, as I have heard others say they have found the brand to be quite reasonable quality, but it has put me off from buying again (for now anyway).

For me, I think InTheStyle could actively show how they are trying to achieve sustainability. This would definitely impact on whether I would buy from the brand again in the future.

If you want to watch this documentary, check out BBC Three

Misguided

The ‘Inside Misguided’ documentary I found very strange. The whole documentary in general came across less professional as there was lots of swearing and the staff came across overly confident. It didn’t show any real growth of the company. In the first episode they talked about losing millions of their money in 2018. Whilst the brand did gain this money back whilst the documentary was filmed, it wasn’t clear how, as it wasn’t properly shown in the documentary. Instead we saw the brand’s struggles and things that went wrong such as when they tried to get influencer Molly-Mae to join their brand and lost her to one of their biggest competitors.

It was clear from listening to the staff of Misguided, that everyone mostly loved their jobs and the team were willing to work hard to get back what they lost. It did appear that the company had an inclusive culture and are good to their employees. I think the documentary should have focused more on what the company did to get the money back and how they improved and learned from their mistakes. It was clear they were doing something right, to gain all that money back so quickly! I did like when they showed the importance of getting their buying decisions right and creating products their consumers would like. The brand should’ve also mentioned more on their sustainability practices, as it was only vaguely talked about in one episode of the series.

Unfortunately, this documentary gave me a more negative perspective on the brand, rather than a positive one. Overall, I think the documentary fell a little flat and wasn’t the right move towards improving the brand’s image.

Check out this documentary on Channel 4

What’s you opinion of fashion documentaries? Let me know in the comments!