Sustainable fashion is inherently complex, from the fabrics and factories to all the complexities of operating a business. There's a lot to learn and it can feel overwhelming when you're trying to shop sustainably.
Once you start learning about how clothes are made (and how literally all clothes are hand made), and the challenges and problems that exist in the fast fashion industry it can be difficult to ignore (which is a great thing). There's so many incredible resources out there, so we’ve done the hard work for you to learn more about the impact and complexities of fashion.
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline
Cline’s book Overdressed explains how she, like most consumers, had grown accustomed to cheap but trendy retailers and was buying a new item of clothing on a weekly basis before realising the disturbing nature of the fast fashion industry. She asks the questions: what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more importantly, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being? Cline sets out to expose the fast fashion industry and understand the associated problems. Overdressed makes you aware of the power you hold by spending your money and uncovers the unethical and exploitative nature of the fast fashion industry.
Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion by Clare Press
Wardrobe Crisis is a witty and persuasive book by fashion journalist Clare Press that will motivate you in understanding why we desperately need a fashion revolution. Press explores the history and ethics behind what we wear, examines the entire fashion ecosystem and traces the origins of haute couture culture. When you turn the last page, you’ll wonder just how the fashion industry became a $1.5 trillion industry and realise the complexity of the question: who makes my clothes?
Clothes To Die For
In 2012, an incredible tragedy occurred, with the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1100 people and injuring 2400 more, all working in garment factories for a number of fast fashion retailers. Clothes to Die For gives a voice to those who were directly affected by the greed and corruption of those involved in the fast fashion industry. Described as ‘blunt and brilliant’ the film asks key questions about the evolution of the global fashion industry and the responsibilities of all those involved.
The True Cost
A startling display of untold stories, The True Cost is an exposé into the completely unsustainable business model of the fashion industry. It shows the behind the scenes impact of buying cheap clothes and the contrast between the lives of those on runways and those in slums. The film features interviews with the world’s leading influencers in fashion including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva. The True Cost is an eye-opening documentary on the human and environmental costs of cheap, fast fashion and is a must watch.
RiverBlue takes viewers through the most polluted rivers around the world. It investigates how rivers are being destroyed by chemical dyes and the dumping of toxic materials by large clothing companies. Produced by conservationist, Mark Angelo, RiverBlue shows the lack of accountability on brands and the true cost that fast fashion has on our environment and the people that rely on it.
This is a Good Guide: For A Sustainable Lifestyle
Sustainable fashion and lifestyle expert, Marieke Eyskoot gives readers practical and positive tips regarding fashion, beauty, food, home, work and leisure in her book This is a Good Guide: For A Sustainable Lifestyle. It’s perfect for those struggling to find affordable, easy and realistic ways to live a bit more consciously. Eyskoot offers smart choices to make green and ethical living fun and doable!
A documentary directed by Micha Peled, China Blue follows the life of Jasmine Li, a 17 year old who works in a Chinese jeans factory. Jasmine earned about half a yuan an hour (approximately 6 US cents). China Blue highlights the conditions of factories and sweatshops, the mass production scale, and the problems of this industry for workers.
The fashion industry is complex as supply chains are complex with fabrics, trims, accessories and so many different elements coming together to create clothing. We think the best thing we can all do is further educate ourselves about how we can all shop more responsibly, more ethically and with greater understanding about who we are supporting through the power of our purchases.