Although I love Netflix for binge-watching my favourite series and movies, lately I've been watching some of the great documentaries on offer. Some of these have had a profound impact on me, my attitude to the world around me and my place in it. Below are just a few that have caught my eye and have, in some way, made me stop and think:
It all started when I watched Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things, early in the new year. Like most people, I get the get the urge to purge my house of the festive excesses in the new year, so I was probably more prone to being inspired by this than at any other time. The documentary features several people who have minimized their possessions in the pursuit of a happier and more focused life. Not all of the documentary 'spoke to me' ( e.g. the huggers were a bit much... and also, the irony of some of the participants selling books about minimalism... for people to bring home and put on their shelves wasn't lost on me...) but one thing that really resonated was the description of something called Project 333.
It basically means whittling your clothing down to 33 items (not including underwear, pjs or sports-wear) for 3 months. It does, however include shoes, coats and jewellery - things which can add up quickly. 33 items doesn't seem like much but I tried it out the very next day and actually found it quite easy to put away the things I rarely wear or that don't fit properly and save my favourites. I've found it easier to get dressed every single morning since as I barely have to think about it. In fact there are a few things I haven't even worn yet! I haven't thrown anything away yet either. I've just put them in the attic for now. At the end of March I'll have a look through my clothes again and swap out a few things like - a lighter jacket and some different shoes maybe. I suppose by the end of the year I'll have a good idea of what I prefer to wear and a fairly refined 'capsule wardrobe'. It should also be pretty obvious which items I'll never wear and that I can get rid of. It is so amazing to look into my wardrobe knowing that whatever I pull out will both fit me and make me feel good.
The True Cost:
Sticking with the theme of clothing, I also watched The True Cost - a documentary about fast fashion and the cost of our frequent consumption of cheap clothing to both our fellow humans and the planet . We might be aware (and sort of ignore that awareness) of the terrible conditions many garment factory workers in - but we might be less aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion. Fashion is one of the worst global polluters. Second only to the oil industry. We think we're doing our bit by passing on our barely worn, cheap clothing to charity shops - but the truth of it is most of these clothes end up in landfill, as the low quality of these items mean that there isn't really a market for them after they've been worn once or twice. Because of the synthetic nature of most of the fabrics cheap clothing is made from - they don't biodegrade for hundreds of years either.
It's uncomfortable viewing to be honest because I doubt any of us has a wholly clear conscience in terms of buying fast fashion and it's really made me stop and think about how I'll shop from now on. Now that I've reduced my wardrobe significantly, my aim from here on is to only replace clothes that get worn out with clothes from ethical sources. Companies like People Tree make their clothes from organic cotton and natural wool - both of which are biodegradable. They are also 100% Fair Trade and I really like their designs. If you know of any more ethical brands for adult and children's wear - especially for footwear - please let me know in the comments!
Netflix is a great source of inspiration. I do my best to incorporate creativity into my daily life through blogging, creative writing, crafting and working in television. I am obsessed with other people's creative lives too. I read every 'interview with the author' I come across and follow many creatives across social media - makers, crafters, illustrators, designers, artists, musicians and everything in between. Abstract: The Art of Design is a new series that just hit Netflix of Friday 10th February. So far I've just watched the first episode featuring Christoph Niemann - an illustrator, artist and author - it was thoroughly inspirational to listen to him describe his process and get a glimpse into his creative life. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the series.
I suppose if I managed to free myself from the shackles of too much stuff, felt satisfied that what I was wearing was not hurting the planet or my fellow-human and managed to live a life surrounded by inspiration - I couldn't help but be happier, right?! That's our eternal struggle as humans - the pursuit of happiness. Watching Happy, on Netflix will also help you feel happier. Featuring interviews with a diverse range of people from around the world and leading happiness researchers this documentary will bring a smile to your face and make you feel grateful for everything you have. It'll also probably make you cry (or maybe that''s just me...) but it is so worth a watch.
I'm really enjoying watching documentaries on Netflix and would love your recommendations for more I mightn't have spotted. Please feel free to share your favourites in the comments!
Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team I received a Netflix subscription and an Apple TV box in return for posting Netflix updates and reviews. All opinions are my own and I am not being paid to give them. I already had a personal subscription before joining the Stream Team.