Sick of looking at your screen all day long? Pick up a book! Whether you are new to sustainable fashion, or keen to learn more, here are 8 great books that will make you think twice before shopping High Street again.
OVERDRESSED: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline – Perfect for: The Newbie
Former ‘Fast Fashion Addict’, Elizabeth Cline offers an easy-to-read introduction into the world of fast fashion. Cline touches upon the environmental, social, and economic costs of fast fashion. She ultimately argues that cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way we think, dress, and consume. Instead of offering insight into changes that can be made in the industry, Cline focuses on what individuals can do to fight fast fashion. For instance, she advocates mending and repairing old clothing as “sewing gives back a feeling of agency and self-sufficiency”. A great introductory book to have in your ‘fast fashion’ arsenal.
The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black – Perfect for: The Fact Lover
The Sustainable Fashion Handbook offers an in-depth, complex look at the dark side of the fashion industry. The book is fact-driven, with five chapters covering everything from fashion culture to business. Each chapter includes thought-pieces, interviews, and insights from various leaders in the industry. Ultimately, the book offers an innovative, solution-led look into sustainable fashion. If you like getting all your facts straight, this illustrated handbook is the choice for you.
You can buy The Sustainable Fashion Handbook here.
To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing the World Out? Lucy Siegle – Perfect for: The Passionate
British journalist and activist, Lucy Siegle, is a long-time champion of reform in the fashion industry. The ‘Ethical Living’ columnist of the Observer wrote “To Die For’ in attempts to shed light on the environmental, social, and moral cost of cheap, bulk fashion. Through conversation and interviews, she humanises the faceless garment workers. The book reveals the harsh working conditions of factory workers in Cambodia, Bangladesh and West Africa, and unprecedented suicide rates among cotton farmers in India. Siegle offers a seething account of the fashion industry, pleading to companies, consumers, and governments alike for increased accountability within the industry.
Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan – Perfect for: The Practical Shopper
As stylist and founder of fashionmegreen.com, Greta Eagan offers a great user-guide to shopping ethically. This book has three major parts. It begins with an in-depth, fact-driven analysis of the fashion industry and why it needs to change. The second part prompts a critical look at your current wardrobe. Finally, the third section showcases eco-fashion makeovers and natural beauty recommendations to finish your look. Complete with an ‘Integrity Index’ to help you assess the merits of different brands, this is a great practical guide for ethical style.
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli – Perfect for: The Economist
Acclaimed by The New York Times, Financial Times and more, ‘The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy’ is a fantastic read if you are interested in global economics and trade. The book follows the life of a regular T-shirt from the cotton fields of Texas, to manufacturers in China, back to a storefront in the USA, only to end up at a used clothing market in Africa. This story sheds light into the complexities of globalised trade, examines political and economic incentives for lengthy, international supply chains, and ultimately addresses the multifaceted moral issues that arise within this system.
You can buy The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy here.
Slave to Fashion by Safia Minney – Perfect for: The Humanitarian
Written by a sustainable fashion expert, ‘Slave to Fashion’ is a public cry to end modern-day slavery. In this book, Safia Minney paints a picture of the 35 million people trapped in modern slavery today as a result of demand for cheap labour. ‘Slave To Fashion’ is the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign to combat modern slavery, and demand greater accountability from large companies. This is a serious read with action points and goals to reduce modern slavery. If you like Minney’s writing, she has a few other great reads including ‘Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics’ and ‘Naked Fashion.’
The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years. By Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley – Perfect for: The Business Owner
This is a fantastic read if you work in the fashion industry and want to learn how to work towards a more sustainable company. Written by the co-founders of Patagonia, the book is simple and easy to read. It provides adequate background on global supply chains, and documents the successes and pitfalls of Patagonia as they navigate the changing global market. Filled with practical advice and tools, this book is great for anyone looking to change, or start an organisation within the industry.
Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose – Perfect for: The Innovator
This is an incredible read for those looking to completely disrupt the fashion industry. ‘Fashion and Sustainability’ views goals of becoming sustainable as a widespread opportunity for innovation and change within the industry. The book brings in new ideas about the transformation in three sections. The first focuses on the actual product and product lifecycle, including how it is made, the materials used, distribution requirements, use and reuse. The second section addresses transformation within the fashion industry as a whole, looking at different business models, and product lifecycles. Finally, the last section examines the role of the fashion designers as change-makers and activists promoting a more sustainable style. Fantastic read for the creative innovator.