In the face of global ecological crises, some parts of the fashion industry are taking steps to reduce their adverse environmental impact. This transition from fast, wasteful, and damaging practices towards a regenerative, ethically-conscious model is the focus of several innovative thinkers in the field. To gain a deeper understanding of this transformative journey, we've curated a selection of five insightful books. Each author presents valuable perspectives and incisive critiques of the status quo, illuminating the path toward a greener, fairer, and more responsible fashion landscape.
"Regenerative Fashion" By Safia Minney (2022)
In this transformative work, Minney explores the evolving landscape of the fashion industry amidst intersecting climate, ecological, and social crises. The author advocates for an integrated approach, where fashion businesses operate within broader ecosystems, thereby giving back what the industry has traditionally taken. "Regenerative Fashion" is a dynamic blend of a guide and a manifesto, discussing the necessity to reduce production, end fossil fuel dependency, and establish dignified livelihoods for industry workers. It paints a vivid picture of a potential future in fashion—one where natural resources are used responsibly, factory workers and farmers earn living wages, and craft production is prioritized.
"Fibershed" By Rebecca Burgess (2019)
Burgess provides a ground-breaking vision for our wardrobes in "Fibershed." The book introduces readers to the often-overlooked aspect of clothing production, illuminating its impact on land, air, water, labor, and overall human health. Burgess's solution is a local textile economy that prioritizes climate change prevention and soil restoration, an approach she developed and trialed in her North Central California home community. The book is essential for those eager to understand how fibers, dyes, and the chemistry of modern textile production can coexist within a sustainable agricultural system.
"Fashionopolis" By Dana Thomas (2020)
In "Fashionopolis," Thomas unravels the hidden damages of the colossal clothing industry while simultaneously shining a light on the international grassroots movement striving for its reform. The author travels around the globe to highlight visionary designers and companies who are daringly disrupting the industry by reclaiming traditional craft and pioneering sustainable technologies. This work offers renewed hope in a landscape dominated by fast fashion, globalization, and technological revolution, presenting a compelling case for a new human-scale model in the fashion industry.
"Overdressed" By Elizabeth Cline (2013)
Cline's critique of the fashion industry in "Overdressed" is as timely and incisive now as when she first published it in 2013. She exposes the stark reality of society's consumption habits, particularly the detrimental effects of cheap, fast fashion. The book prompts readers to consider the critical questions of what we do with our mass-produced clothes and, more importantly, what these clothes do to us, our society, our environment, and our economic health.
"The Conscious Closet" By Elizabeth Cline (2019)
Following "Overdressed," Cline's "The Conscious Closet" is a definitive guide to constructing an ethical, sustainable wardrobe. It champions the transformation of the fashion industry, a significant contributor to earth's pollution, into a force for good. By sharing stories from her journey towards sustainable fashion, Cline guides readers on adopting mindful habits in building and maintaining their wardrobes, advocating for style without compromising the environment or personal ethics. Once you've learned about the need for regenerative fashion from the other books on our list, "The Conscious Closet" will teach you what to do about it.