Whether you’re traveling abroad or staying local this summer, these fashion books will broaden your perspective and embolden you to lead a more sustainable life.
For many of us, summer is synonymous with lounging by the beach, the pool, or at the park, relishing the warm rays with a book in hand. There is no greater, nor quicker, escape from reality than to sink into a comfortable chaise and travel to a new world through pages of text.
And for those interested in the world of slow fashion, we’ve got you covered with a list of our favorite books on sustainable and ethical fashion — from personal memoirs and practical manuals to investigative and imaginative non-fiction.
Whether you’re looking for a light read or a thought-provoking title, are just dipping your toes in the sustainable fashion industry, or are ready to deepen your understanding of the toxic effects of synthetic textiles, here are six page-turners worthy of your must-read list.
Read more: Being Fashionable Can Still Be Sustainable
If you’re on the search for a book you won’t be able to put down, this is it. Fashion writer Lauren Bravo recollects her journey of taking a year-long break from fast fashion. Through funny and relatable stories, she encourages readers to rethink their relationships with clothes while highlighting the human and environmental impacts of cheap, mass-produced apparel. Drawing from her own experiences, Bravo offers useful and achievable — but never judgmental — advice about overhauling your purchasing habits and revitalizing the wardrobe you already own.
Lauded as “an eye-opening account of the true cost of fast fashion,” Fashionopolis exposes the exploitative labor and environmental practices that have shaped the industry over the last three decades. Amid devastating facts, the award-winning journalist conjures optimism by shining a spotlight on designers and innovators who are leading the slow fashion movement and revolutionizing the clothing production landscape with modern technology.
Consumed is a brilliant and unapologetic book that tackles the difficult topics of colonialism, climate change, and consumerism all at once. Tracing the textile industry to its roots in racism and oppression, Aja Barber addresses the inequities and lack of diversity in the fashion industry. Threading witty and humorous personal anecdotes throughout, she depicts how consumers have the power to dismantle an unjust system and to use their voices for collective change.
Looking for an all-rounded guide to living more sustainably? Marieke Eyeskoot, a sought-after speaker and sustainable lifestyle expert, has compiled a modern handbook filled with practical tips that span all areas of living, including fashion, beauty, travel, and food. Not only will this book inspire you to make thoughtful choices on a daily basis, but its aesthetically-pleasing cover also makes it perfect for displaying in your home or as a gift for friends.
In this compelling and timely thought experiment, J.B. MacKinnon invites readers to reimagine an alternate world where we lived and consumed less — by 25 percent to be exact. Drawing on diverse examples from the pandemic and communities around the world, this book investigates the real-life economic, ecological, and social effects of reduced consumption. According to MacKinnon, the future lies in detaching ourselves from the need for production as a measure of human progress and recreating a world where we can be happy without more things.
In her second eco-fashion book, Clare Press interviews women change-makers who are making an impact locally and internationally. From the grassroots Pussyhats project to the global “Fashion Revolution” movement, the various forms of activism demonstrate how individuals and communities are coming together in creative ways to power the greater sustainability awakening. Rise & Resist will ignite your inner activist and inspire you to act today, in small or big ways, to shape the present and the future.
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