Luxury: Behind the mirror of high-end fashion | DW Documentary

This investigative documentary looks behind the shiny facade of luxury fashion. Shot with a hidden camera, it shows the brutal conditions in Chinese fur farms, and how migrants are exploited in Italian tanneries.

Fine handmade bags from Gucci, Prada and Max Mara in the displays of luxurious fashion boutiques are objects of passionate desire. Luxury labels generate over 70 percent of their turnover with leather products. But hardly anyone knows the reality of their production. The major fashion brands comply with a modern code of conduct that also applies to its direct suppliers. But who controls the subcontractors? The film looks behind the beautiful displays at where the raw material comes from: tanneries in Italy, where migrants produce the leather for luxury handbags under miserable and unsafe working conditions; and behind the scenes in China’s fur animal industry, where the animals are kept under catastrophic hygienic conditions and before being cruelly slaughtered.


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  1. Angelo Bugini

    Behind fashion’s shiny facade is quite an outstanding documentary! Thanks a lot for sharing!

  2. Stan Miggins

    Lost for words.


    Watch the documentary true cost

  4. Freddy Rassinger

    300million USD only? I d say more like 300 billion

    • Elijah Schnake

      Easily, Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy alone had revenue of 46 billion Euros last year.

  5. Wow! This makes luxury goods look really cheap.

    • blabla62871

      they always been.

    • That’s how powerful marketing is and how dumb and shallow humans are 🤮

    • YoshiPeach Mario

      People assume that made in Europe = quality. Fact is, it doesn’t matter where it’s made. It’s the process and the materials only. Brands are just a label. They do not indicate quality

    • blabla62871

      @YoshiPeach Mario yeah, but i expect from European authorities certain level of control, quality of products and quality of working environment

  6. These luxury brands are soaked in pain, misery and blood; Ironic that the people buying them are usually abusers too and beneficiaries of an outdated exploitative global system that has failed. It is the end of neoliberalism and brands like GUCCI and PRADA typify the discredited failed neo-feudalism.

    • If you think about it, Youtube has contributed more to this exact type of exploitation. Youtube stars who promote products made in countries that claim to be “functional socialist” or just straight up communist, exploit illegal workers. Socialism works only if you allow immigrants in to exploit. Youtube is a direct contributor to this global pile of diarrhea.

    • Boys will be boys. Oops, that is for a different situation. Bottom line, no one cares. Customers, suppliers, governments, no one

    • @ken90017 True.

  7. RoaringChicken42

    This documentary is the best example of investigative journalism I have seen in recent times. Much respect to the DW team for their deep dive into the luxury leather goods industry and for their fantastic presentation!

    • cardett75

      I’m french and this documentary is actually a french documentary made by french journalists, DW usually just take documentaries from some european channels, they redo the voice over and enerything and then put their logo on it, i beleive they buy the copyright of those documentaries, but that’s not the first time i see a french documentaries on their channel, also those type of deep dive investigation journalism is commun in France, and it’s part of the french investigation journalism culture which is halfway between police investigation and info journalism. Those documentaries usually take around 2 years of investigation as they often say at the end

    • Doctor Who 2002

      @cardett75 this explains why DW blurs out the logo on the bottom left-hand screen.

    • Does the French show have an English YouTube channel?

    • DW Documentary

      Hi cardett75, thanks for explaining, you are right! We buy or „rent“ the broadcasting rights from many different companies and countries. The French are producing very good documentaries. Stay tuned and find out!

    • cardett75

      @ken90017 they have their youtube channel but it’s only in french, btw the original of this documentary can be found on youtube by just typing: Cash investigation – Luxe : les dessous chocs

  8. Rae Edwin

    Thank you for exposing the myth behind luxury goods. Please do more videos such as this.

  9. Jailton Nascimento

    Really sad. I got sick from knowing that they brake the rabbits’ legs, while they are still alive. Humans are really sick.

    • Simon Kunze

      If that shocked you then you haven’t seen nothing yet. Sometimes animals are skinned while still alive.

    • So do something about those feelings and sentiment and go vegan 🌱 duh

  10. venezoom

    As shocking, appalling and heartbreaking as this documentary is, the sad reality means that for as long as there is demand for fur and leather-based products the horrific suffering and bloody butchering of innocent animals will never stop and the exploitation and mistreatment of non-skilled migrants will also continue…………………

    I worked for the luxury industry for over 20 years and I can tell you I am not proud of that………in fact I feel ashamed to have been part of that evil machinery for so long………………..I feel ashamed of remaining ignorant for so long…………….thank good is all behind me………………………

    The big fashion houses and conglomerates should be held accountable for this horror ………………….but I am afraid it will never happen……………….they are too wealthy and powerful, and people are just too vain, self-absorbed and stupid to give a damn…………………

    One can easily draw comparisons with drug trafficking cartels and the luxury industry…………….both awfully diabolical, powerful and wealthy, and yet demand for their tainted goods never cease to end……………………….

    I don’t want to sound like a religious nutcase but from my logic, only a great fire burning everything to the ground will be able to purify this dark horror-filled planet of ours……………..we as HUMANS have failed miserably and are beyond help……………….

    • So long as there is demand, there will always be supply!… and it seems that the animals aren’t the only ones who’s rights and liberties have been… exploited! So much needless suffering and all for profit and blood money.

  11. hoangky bactien

    There is an article on the internet reporting that Italian women working long, long hours in their tiny kitchens and bed room for an equivalence of 1euro per hour. For example, it took one woman 160 hrs to finish a wedding dress, and the payment is only 120 – 160 euro
    , something like. And they have to be tight lips in order to receive these kind of works.
    I feel Italy is a gigantic slavery gulag of modern time.
    👍Anyway, I salute the bravery of these reporters to uncover these inhuman practices of money making 👌.
    May good health, good luck and good conscience always be with this report team.

  12. nishant singh

    Hats off to this news channel this is what i call a true journalism. The way this documentary is presented is an eye opener for our society.

  13. Praveen kumar

    Irony is the women carrying a high end leather briefcase to investigate impact caused by leather industry. Keep them aside, Dyeing and tanneries are major pollution causing industries around the globe. These industries are often find place in developing countries in the name of employment generating sector. You don’t thing what it take while it give a so called employment opportunity for huge population. What one could do is to use them responsibly. Prefer to wear light shade color and Switch to Fiber bags.

  14. Mithun Sharma

    If European working condition is this! Very hard Imagine the conditions in Developing world….

  15. Simone de B.

    A big kudos to DW Documentary, this is one of your very best. An equally big kudos as well to the courageous investigative journalists who toiled to expose the dirty secrets of high-end fashion. At some points, I feared for their safety due to the violence exhibited by the mafiosos at Termoplak. Even the secretary-general of COTANCE was quite aggressive.
    Lux goods are like blood diamonds. Unfortunately, not too many realise it. And in my neck of the woods, the most rich are the most idiotic.

  16. Now that’s investigative journalism right there, beautiful work exposing the horrors of the industry.

  17. Carlos Rafael

    we need industry fair trade and ethical standard to be implemented as mandatory in global scale. QR label and blockchain system may be the solution to ensure the product ethical from source to sales. any product that failed to this rules may due to labor exploitation, animal cruelty and environment damage should be banned to trade..

  18. George Petrin

    It’s amazing how they manage to lie all the way up from the bottom to the top. The whole industry is corrupt from top to bottom and the rich look the other way.

  19. This is what documentary should be, going any length to seek truth . I admire you .

  20. super Joshi

    13:28 “he lost three knuckles”
    Well no point hiding his face now they know his identity

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