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Sustainable Fashion Book Digest: 2019 Recommended Reading List

Posted on in Fashion by Mariusz Falkiewicz

Sustainable Fashion Book Digest: 2019 Recommended Reading List

Elude the seductively warm glow of the TV set this season with our shortlist of fascinating books on sustainable and ethical fashion that will fill your lazy afternoons with some thought-provoking liveliness, bump up your eco-fashionista status, and (hopefully) inspire some courageous new year resolutions.

Here are the top pics on our long list of slow fashion books for you to read and enjoy:

  1. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline

    Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline book coverAn investigative journey to the roots of the social and environmental impact of fast fashion that began with Clain’s familiar realization, that while shopping for clothes on a weekly basis she had little to show for it other than a closet and storage bins packed full of low-quality fads she barely wore.

    In Overdressed, Elizabeth Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of cheap fashion from the rise of budget clothing, the death of middle-market independent retail­ers, to the psychology behind our obsession with deals and steals.

    "Overdressed" opens reader's eyes on the current state of the mainstream fashion with pages full of well-researched and well-presented facts.

    As a side note, it's worth mentioning that Cline has a new book scheduled for 2019 release, titled: The Conscious Closet: A Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good by Doing Good. Let's hope for another inspiring read.

  2. Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes by Alison Gwilt & Timo Rissanen

    Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes by Alison Gwilt & Timo Rissanen book coverWritten in a practical and accessible manner, Alison Gwilt and Timo Rissanen provide behind-the-scenes look on the current, best practices employed by the pioneering sustainable fashion brands from around the world to inspire change and propose methods for introducing sustainability into fashion.

    For anyone interested in studying sustainable fashion or pursuing eco-friendly textile design this is a definite must-read. It also conveniently serves as an excellent, general overview of the entire sustainable product lifecycle from the conscious sourcing of materials, the minimum-waste approach to design and manufacturing, to the suggestions on how to engage consumers with slow fashion, and concluding on the subject of finding the alternative solutions for managing textile waste to avoid their fate in landfill.

  3. To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle

    To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle book coverWritten in the midst of the last global financial crisis, Lucy Siegle, an 'Ethical Living' columnist, poses a simple question that lends her the idea for this book:

    "When money is tight should we embrace cheap fast fashion to prop up an already engorged wardrobe, or should we reject this as the ultimate false economy and advocate a return to real fashion, bolstered by the principles of individualism and style pedigree?"

    This title should resonate particularly well with the proponents of independent, slow fashion as the panacea to the current shopping mania for big labels and cheap fashion.

    Siegle centers on the importance of our purchasing decisions and rationalizes that to become an ethical fashionista, one needs to become aware of how and where (and by whom) our clothing is manufactured.

  4. Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics by Safia Minney

    Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics by Safia Minney book coverWritten by the founder of fair trade, sustainable fashion label People Tree, the author Safia Minney, makes a strong case for organic, fair trade, and sustainably-made goods taking center stage of future brick and mortar retail supplemented by second-hand and vintage clothing stores.

    Considered the leader of the fair trade fashion movement, and a winner of multiple awards for her work in developing fair trade, sustainable supply chains, Minney shines the spotlight on unacceptable business practices and horrendous tragedies touching people who're trapped working inside fast fashion supply chains.

    The book is not all doom and gloom however as the author manages to encourage the readers to become part of the change by showcasing the examples of innovative brands and businesses that are worth investing into and that put people interest and the environmental sustainability first.

  5. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

    Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough, Michael Braungart book coverThe fashion industry is not the sole focus of this publication. Rather, it proposes a top-level strategy for harmonizing the economic growth and technological advancement with the environmental sustainability - notions that currently stand worlds apart.

    Backed by scientific inquiry (Braungart is a chemist), the authors explain how toxic materials and the harmful chemical compounds that are employed in modern production permeate all aspects of our lives from the fabrics and textiles we wear, the food we consume, the toiletries, machines, and devices we use every day, to the furniture and buildings that surround us.

    William McDonough and Michael Braungart make it clear that the bio-destructive systems and products we've created are not only harmful to us and the environment but are unsustainable in terms of the economic growth.

    To avert the pending ecological disaster, they solicit ideas on designing the sustainability right into the products themselves and reviving the trend of design that's harmonious with the environment - one that could also leverage the natural elements and forces for the benefit of architectural and industrial design.

    This is a highly recommended reading for those who ponder what "green design" really means and implies, and how its principles can be translated into practical solutions.

  6. Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion by Clare Press

    Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion by Clare Press book coverIn a well researched, enlightening and quite entertaining (despite the bleak subject matter) book on modern fashion, the author delights the readers with a short, relevant history of the contemporary fashion industry, exposes our addiction to cheap, disposable clothing, and explains where the thirst for fast fashion came from.

    This is highly recommended read for anyone who wants to understand the history and future of fashion and how to overcome the crisis we're faced with.

    Clare Press, with her witty commentary and well thought out arguments, stimulates and inspires the readers to join the ongoing fashion revolution and become ethically-conscious consumers that feel good about their buying choices and who are proud of their personal wardrobe collection.

The aforementioned books are our top recommendations on slow fashion for when the long winter evenings got the best of you and it's time to cozy up under the warm blanket with something worthwhile your time.

However, this is just a tip of an iceberg. If you're already familiar with these titles, have more time, or wish to explore the subject in more depth, here is:

The complete list on sustainable, ethical fashion for 2019. Enjoy!

  • Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell
  • Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes by Andrew Brooks
  • Eco Chic: How to be Ethical and Easy on the Eye by Matilda Lee
  • Eco Fashion by Sass Brown
  • Ecologist Guide to Fashion: A Green Living Guide by Ruth Styles
  • Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change by Kate Fletcher
  • Fashion Made Fair by Ellen Köhrer and Magdalena Schaffrin
  • Fashion Manifesto: The Guide for the Style-Savvy by Sofia HedstrÓ§m
  • Green is the New Black by Tamsin Blanchard
  • How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas
  • Loved Clothes Last by Fashion Revolution
  • Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-toxic Beauty by Kate Black
  • Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution by Safia Minney
  • Stitched Up: The Anti-capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy E. Hoskins
  • Stuffocation by James Wallman
  • Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys by Kate Fletcher
  • Sustainable Fashion by Colleen Hill and Jennifer Farley Gordon
  • Sustainable Luxe: A Guide to Feel-Good Fashion by Jordan Phillips
  • The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anuschka Rees
  • The Responsible Company by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley
  • The Responsible Fashion Company: Integrating Ethics and Aesthetics in the Value Chain by Francesca Romana Rinaldi and Salvo Testa
  • The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black
  • The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power and Politics of World Trade by Pietra Rivoli
  • The Upcycle by William Mc Donough and Michael Braungart
  • We Are What We Wear: Unravelling fast fashion and the collapse of Rana Plaza by Lucy Siegle
  • Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe by Greta Eagan
  • Why Fashion Matters by Frances Corner
  • Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton
  • Worn Stories by Emily Spivack
  • Zero Waste Design by Timo Rissanen and Holly
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