Sometimes online searches yield treasures. By chance, I found this ethical fashion documentary (intended to be the first in a series), and couldn’t understand why it didn’t have more views. “Is Fashion Destroying the Planet?” was originally made in August of 2016 but it’s still very topical. I contacted the person who posted it, Jay Lawrence (who incidentally was a camera operator on the show and the editor), and he kindly gave me permission to share it here.

Hosted by the effervescent Paris Lees and featuring Lily Cole, Carrie Somers (founder of Fashion Revolution Day), Kate Goldsworthy, designer Sindoso Khumalo, Hannah Cowie of TAMAY & ME, Lizzie Harrison of Antiform and vlogger Hannah Wilton, among others, it’s full of great accessible information and is equally entertaining as it is persuasive.

This doc underlines the importance of facing the harsh realities of the fashion industry and understanding our role in it, all so that we can do better, and look good and have fun while doing so. It is fashion, after all!

As Simone Cipriani of the Ethical Fashion Initiative says in the video, “You must empower people to be the agents of change. Once you’ve done it, it’s people who find their own solutions.”

Jay shared some background information about the documentary, via email.

What compelled you to make this documentary about sustainable fashion?

Hazel McCoubrey, the executive producer, had originally made pieces of content with YouTuber Patricia Bright, showing how they re-use and repurpose old clothes. This documentary was an evolution of that and a real passion of hers. I edited the documentary and was one of two camera operators. This documentary was made with the intention of selling it but sadly it was never picked up.

The documentary was originally owned by Disney. I used to work for Maker Studios which was a Disney-owned company. At the time Maker was going through a revamp and Disney wanted to branch out and have a platform that was similar to Vice (a bit on the edgier side of things); this part of the company became known as The Studio. The Studio is now defunct and this documentary would have never been seen otherwise.

What was your involvement in or knowledge of fashion (sustainable or otherwise), prior to making this doc? 
I had no knowledge or involvement in fashion prior to this but it was a real eye opener for me as I didn’t realize the effects it was having on our planet. Especially considering I use the washing machine a lot! I cut right down after editing this doc.
What was the most surprising thing about the industry that you learned while making the film? 
The amount of textiles that are being put into landfills was quite shocking. There were a few positives though, seeing that textiles companies send second hand clothes that are close to new, to Africa for people who are worse off. That way the clothing can be re-used by someone else instead of thrown away.
Has making this doc changed your consumer habits in any way? 
I didn’t buy a lot of clothes prior to this anyway. Plastic waste is becoming a growing concern and I have tried to change my habits on this front.
Is this a series or is it a one-off? 
It was intended to be a series but sadly as the company no longer exists it will remain a one off.
What is next on the horizon for you? 
I worked for Disney for 2 years as an editor but last year moved over to Formula 1 where I am currently head of digital graphics. I do like to try and make short documentaries on my YouTube channel JayLaw.
I think your choice of host was really inspired, how did you come to work with Paris Lees? 
I wasn’t involved in the casting of the host so I couldn’t tell you how that came about but she was lovely to work with and very funny.
“Is Fashion Destroying the Planet?”
Director: Samantha Lambart
Executive Producer: Hazel McCoubrey
Editor: Jay Lawrence
Video/Editing/Motion Graphics/Photography