The not-so-obvious relation between sustainability and fashion has bred a crucial and fundamental debate. Theorists, creatives, journalists and consumers have engaged in a new way of looking at this industry, questioning it from many different grounds – economical, social or ethical. And, as the discussion opens itself up to many different matters, it can be difficult to keep up to date. Therefore, we have selected six major (and brilliant) books that analyse the fashion industry evolution, our consuming habits, the way we value objects, and many other things. Put together, they form a great cabinet of reflection for a more sustainable and ethical future.
AntiFashion Manifesto - Li Edelkooort
Fifteen years ago, Time Magazine presented Li Edelkoort as part of the 25 most influential people in the fashion industry. Originally a trend forecaster, Li Edelkoort published a manifesto in 2015 that can be considered as one of the most revolutionary fashion books ever. But unlike its name implies, the Anti-Fashion Manifesto isn’t a statement of belief against fashion but against the system fashion evolves in. From fashion schools to luxury fashion houses and magazines, the different spaces of reflection and creation have desacralised garments and the value of fashion. More than ever, the way consume fashion is emptied of all implication. As a solution, Li invites us to buy less and love more.
Dress with Sense : The Practical Guide to a Conscious Closet - Christina Dean, Hannah Lane and Sofia Tärneberg
If you want to discover sustainable fashion step by step, this practical guide will provide you with all the different fundamentals you need to know. Divided into four chapters – Buy, Wear, Care and Dispose – Dress (with) Sense explains the different cycles of a garment and shows how to manage them better. The book is overflowing with great tips and advice from models, bloggers, theorists and designers who give their very own insight into the industry. The book also restores a very important factor that we tend to forget: wearability. A great lesson of (fashion) wisdom all in all.
No Logo - Naomi Klein
When No Logo was published in 2000, it felt like a hurricane. Through this brilliant and extremely complete book, American journalist Naomi Klein denounces the insatiable growth of brands and multinational corporations. Advertising has become their medium to colonize every space possible, from the street to the underground, and from the school playground to our homes, brands are no longer part of our culture: they are culture. Opposed to this unnerving domination of living in a logo-typed world, a new wave of activist has understood that every pound note is as important as every ballot paper.
Craft of use : Post-Growth Fashion – Kate Fletcher
Can we think about fashion through a post-growth perspective? What would fashion be like in a world that has moved beyond consumerism? With her book Craft of use, Kate Fletcher wants to propose a new way to observe fashion and move away from the usual prisms of creation and consumption. Her point is to revalue garments; look at their expressive and symbolic qualities, beyond their consumption value. Through a large number of portraits and stories (a series of interviews conducted in 13 countries) she questions the way people live in their clothes, use them and establish their worth. She also refers to the work of seven international design teams seeking to amplify the use of these practices.
Slow fashion: aesthetics meet ethics - Safia Minney
The immediacy of desires, the constant change of trends, and the growing pace of production have pushed fashion into a frenetic rhythm. And seeing high fashion trying to join the high street fashion model shows that fashion in general is trying to go too fast. With her book Slow Fashion: aesthetics meet ethics, Safia Minney insists on the importance to slow down. Compiling essays by experts, activists, models and designers, Minney has put together a full encyclopaedia of experiences and ideas. Managing supply chains, methods of manufacture as well as slowing down processes are the key actions for a better fashion industry and a more conscientious consumption. By doing so, we can all take some more space and time to make the right decisions, to be more selective. So let’s stop a second and think. We have a whole new world to build and Minney’s book might be a good first step.
Stichted Up, the anticapitalist book of fashion - Tansy E. Hoskins
When Karl Marx meets Karl Lagerfeld… With Stitched up, Tansy Hoskins proposes an utilitarian and critical approach to fashion. From an outsider perspective, she points out the glamour and exciting facets of fashion as well as condemning its darker side, especially emphasising on the social consequences of the industry. Taking the tragedy of the Dhaka factory collapse as a starting point, the author exposes the conditions of fashion workers and the environmental costs of the industry. She also points out the ascendency of fashion in our lives, but Hoskins’ intention isn’t to leave everyone with a bitter taste: the last pages of her book have been written with the intention to resist, reform and revolutionize fashion.