Are you a booklover? When I started taking a serious interest in sustainable fashion in 2015, I was keen to collect good books on the topic. I remember taking a screenshot of an Instagram post by www.fashionrevolution.org (@fashrev) with books to read to kick-start my collection.
Always on a budget, I ordered the most cost effective one first, determined to gradually invest in the rest. I did, and here are my top 5 books on sustainable fashion. Plus three I wouldn‘t necessarily recommend.
For anyone looking for their very first interaction with sustainable fashion, this easy and accessible guide by Greta Egan is the one! Incidentally, this was the first book I purchased on the topic and it has guided my approach to sustainable fashion ever since.
Egan acknowledges that trying to do better can feel overwhelming, and therefore encourages her readers to consciously select one value or criteria that is close to their heart and stick with that. She suggests a simple, intentional system to get you started on this long and sometimes difficult journey of becoming a more conscious consumer.
How I wish I had met (and read) Tara Button sooner. Her book “A Life Less Throwaway” challenges you to question your own consumer habits. It advocates mindful curation in your own life before demanding everyone else to do better.
Button helps us to understand the underlying issues and the complex psychological powers at play when we buy ‘stuff’ while humbly telling her own story of shifting values.
Her practical suggestions and exercises allow you to take immediate action and give you quick results. It‘s as if Button managed to expressed on paper exactly how I feel about sustainable fashion, which makes it a book well-worth owning and coming back to regularly.
Cline describes her own experience with US statistics thrown into the mix and Guardian columnist Lucy Siegle focuses on what‘s going on in the UK. These books will take you to far away places and reveal where your clothes really come from. I love that both authors combine extensive research with their personal experiences – bringing the issue of fast fashion right home to me and you.
After you’ve examined how your buying habits impact everyone in fast fashion supply chain, you may be curious how garment workers are protected by legislation.
Minney‘s “Slave to Fashion” focuses on the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and explains the complex political and economic dynamics involved. Can you explain the difference between human trafficking, bonded labour, child labour, and forced and excessive labour?
The case studies in this book will introduce you to the men and women working on our fashion feasts and help you to understand the terms and conditions that come with their employment in the garment industry.
Three you should avoid…
Without going into too much detail, I know a book does not hit the mark when I can‘t force myself to finish it – especially when it‘s on one of my favourite subjects.
I‘m afraid that “Sustainable Fashion“ by Jennifer Farley Gordon and Colleen Hill as well as “Clothing Poverty“ by Andrew Brooks fall into this camp. More like university textbooks, they are very detail heavy, completely failed to engage me and aren’t ideal for people new to looking into sustainable fashion.
What about you?
I’d love to hear from you which books inspire you to “be the change”!
I’m always looking to expand my collection, so any suggestions or recommendations are most welcome. You can share them in the comments below or email me your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org xx