Top 4 Books on Ethical Fashion for the novice
If you’re a bookworm like I am then this list is for you. I am on a personal mission to be as well informed as I can be about the Ethical Fashion movement and making the right changes in my fashion buying habits. I plan on eradicating my wardrobe of all its shameful fabrics, by donating them to the right charities.
“Time to leave the foolish choices of the past behind and look to the future.” (Carrie Bradshaw)
Yes, I pledge allegiance to becoming an Eco Fashion Warrior. Understanding sustainable fashion and everything that goes with it can be a bit of a challenge but there are tons of Ethical Fashion experts who are there to educate us, including our very own Kitty Ferreira.
Valerie Goode founder of Kitty Ferreira was herself inspired to create a fashion label whose mantra was to embrace ethical values in Fashion Design and manufacturing. After seeing the devastation of the manufacturing industry while she worked in China as a senior designer, she thought it best to start her label whilst back in the UK. Here, she subsequently sources and makes all her products and dyes her materials, keeping the label’s carbon footprint as low as possible whilst doing her bit for the economy by supporting UK manufacturing. The silks used for Kitty Ferreira’s collections are eco dyed by hand using only Mother Nature’s ingredients. This means no toxins enter nature’s waters.
The label uses only upcycled fabrics, lengthening its lifespan instead of being thrown away.Further they don’t use any resources and energy to make fabrics for the brand specifically, as a lot of other designers do; it is their belief that there is enough fabric out there already to re-use.
The ethos is to be more self-sufficient and embrace a more earthy, philanthropic way of life; not to say you have to become a hippy, rather think like one and look like a city girl at the same time.
It seems that the issue with Ethical Fashion is that it feels either unattainable to the masses or/and it is seen as unfashionable and undesirable by the media. So it’s in dire need of an image facelift, which forward thinking labels like Kitty Ferreira are working hard to implement and dispel all the myths about the movement.
I reckon a good book on the subject is a great place to start my education. So I’ve done a bit of digging and found a great deal of literature on the matter. These books go a long way to explaining everything you need to know from upcycling to slow fashion from carbon footprint to organic cotton from fairtrade to fair labor and everything in between. So let’s dive in shall we!
Four books I will be tucking into:
1. The Sustainable Fashion Handbook
2. Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change
3. Eco-chic: The Fashion Paradox
4. To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?
1: The Sustainable Fashion Handbook
Sandy Black (Author), Hilary Alexander (Author)
If you are looking for a good guide to sustainable fashion then look no further because this one is for you. Written by Academic Sandy Black and Hilary Alexander, the book illustrates every aspect of contemporary fashion, from the high street to its commentators (fashion blogs and magazine editors) to haute couture, to the eco- footprint of the current system, to the fashion business itself that employs forty million people worldwide.
The book curates an array of articles and essays written by fashion experts and forward thinkers in the business. It also includes interviews with fashion designers who are making moves to make changes in the way they work, such as Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Yohji Yamamoto plus interviews with EDUN founder Ali Hewson. It also illustrates various scenarios of the potentially dangerous path Fashion is heading into if it doesn’t change its ways.
Great place to start your journey, this is the bible to Sustainable Fashion.
2: Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change
Kate Fletcher (Author), Lynda Grose (Author)
This book examines how sustainability has the potential to transform both the fashion system and the innovators who work within it. The issues in fashion are broad ranging and include labour abuses, toxic chemicals use and gross consumption, giving rise to an undeniable tension between fashion and sustainability. Authors Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose do a thorough job on illustrating sustainability by dividing the book in three parts; part one examines the product’s life cycle i.e. the materials used to manufacturing, distribution and use and potential re-use of the garment.
Part two looks at innovative ideas to change the current practice and system in the fashion industry from its root into a new sustainable business and part three is concerned with reinventing the fashion designer from creator/ stylist to a communicator/activist.
This is a good book to get into if you want to thoroughly understand the politics behind reworking the current system.
3: Eco-Chic: The Fashion Paradox
Sandy Black (Author)
This book attempts to challenge the idea that Ethical Fashion Design is simplistic, dull and unfashionable. It is an examination of the relationship between fashion and environmental awareness. Eco designers are bucking the trend and putting their ecological foot forward by buying sustainably and affordably. This has giving them allowance to create high-end designs as oppose to environmentally friendly garments with no design flair.
With this book author Sandy Black illustrates by using case studies the lengths of which the Fashion Industry is going to, to accommodate the current global environmental climate and it’s issues now and in the future.
A good book to read if you want to really see how far great design in Ethical Fashion as come and where it’s going.
4. To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?
Lucy Siegle (Author)
This book explores the reality of the consequences of cheap fashion; it examines the disparity between high street fashion design practices and that of high-end fashion. Written by the Observer’s ‘Ethical Living’ columnist Lucy Siegle, the book is a disparaging expose on the inhumane and environmentally devastating story behind the clothes we so casually buy and wear.
As a result of our current global financial woes consumers have been put into a difficult position, do we buy cheap or do we buy smart?
The book reveals the truth behind cut price, bulk fashion and the importance of your purchasing decisions, advocating the case for a new sustainable design era where we are assured of value for money: ethically, morally and in real terms.
This is probably the kick up the butt you’ll need to make true changes in your buying habits.
These books should be compelling reading for a budding Eco Fashion Warrior like myself; I only hope that the media start placing more emphasis and begin shining the spotlight on the movement and sending out the message to the industry that things have to change.