FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY: DESIGN FOR CHANGE
by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose
Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change (2012, Laurence King) reimagines the complex fashion machinery as a well-balanced ecosystem. An astute manual and manifesto for change—Paul Hawken, who wrote the forward, describes it as a “masterpiece of systems redesign”—the book examines innovations in materials, manufacture, distribution, use, and reuse while illustrating a future where designers play the role of social communicators, activists, and facilitators.
NAKED FASHION: THE NEW SUSTAINABLE FASHION MOVEMENT
by Safia Minney
Actress Emma Watson, fashion icon Livia Firth, and designer Vivienne Westwood are just some of the bold-faced names set to appear in Naked Fashion (2012, New Internationalist), a book about the “new sustainable fashion revolution.” Written by People Tree founder and CEO Safia Minney, with a foreword by Firth and To Die For author Lucy Siegle, the book offers stirring accounts of the lives of garment workers in the Third World, case studies on fashion that doesn’t cost the earth (literally or otherwise), and profiles of designers, photographers, filmmakers, and other movers and shakers who are reshaping the industry from within.
TO DIE FOR: IS FASHION WEARING OUT THE WORLD?
by Lucy Siegle
Observer journalist Lucy Siegle’s chilling exposé of fashion’s seedy underbelly, To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? (2011, Fourth Estate) takes aim at our mania with big-name labels and disposable fashion. But far from consigning us to a future of drab, organic threads, Siegle offers advice on making better choices by being aware of how, where, and by whom our clothing is made.
SHAPING SUSTAINABLE FASHION: CHANGING THE WAY WE MAKE AND USE CLOTHES
by Alison Gwilt and Timo Rissanen
Have a yen for product life cycles? Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes (2011, Routledge) has your number. Dividing their book into four sections (Source, Make, Use, Last), Alison Gwilt and Timo Rissanen couple explorative essays with case studies to present strategic solutions to some of the industry’s stickiest challenges.
by Sass Brown
If navigating the semantic morass that is “eco-fashion” leaves you at sea, Eco Fashion (2010, Laurence King) by Sass Brown is the lifeline you seek. Her book not only covers the multiple facets of ecological design but also the players who are charting this nascent but vital terrain. Above all, Brown’s tome is a historical record. “I feel that eco-fashion has reached a tipping point,” she told Ecouterre in 2010, “where the best of the best are simply the best in the industry. And that needs to be recorded, celebrated, and communicated.”
AMELIA’S COMPENDIUM OF FASHION ILLUSTRATION
by Amelia Gregory
Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (2010, Amelia’s House) is such a visual feast, you’ll swear you gained 15 pounds just by cycling through its pages. The self-published catalog features profiles of 45 of the world’s top eco-fashion designers and labels—including Ada Zanditon, Christopher Raeburn, EDUN, and Prophetik—artfully interpreted by 30 international illustrators.
THE TRAVELS OF A T-SHIRT IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
by Pietra Rivoli
Revised and updated, The Travels of a T-shirt in a Global Economy (2009, Wiley) by Pietra Rivoli illustrates the harsh realities of globalization from an economist’s point of view. Chasing her T-shirt across the planet, Rivoli examines the intersection of history, economics, and politics with a gimlet eye. Her cross-continental adventure takes her full circle while shedding some light on the belligerent tango between free trade and protectionism.
WHERE AM I WEARING?: A GLOBAL TOUR TO THE COUNTRIES, FACTORIES, AND PEOPLE THAT MAKE OUR CLOTHES
by Kelsey Timmerman
Like Rivoli, Kelsey Timmerman plays planet-trotting tour guide in Where Am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes (2nd Edition, 2012, Wiley). Tracking his T-shirt, “all-American” blue jeans, boxer shorts, and flip-flops leads him to Honduras, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and China, where he confronts from uncomfortable questions with vim, humor, and disarming candor.
SUSTAINABLE FASHION AND TEXTILES: DESIGN JOURNEYS
by Kate Fletcher
Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys (2008, Routledge) by Kate Fletcher was among the first books to challenge existing ideas about the scope and potential of sustainability issues in garments and textiles. The book doesn’t just define an emerging field but it also promotes the then-revolutionary idea of design as a means to promote—and propagate—social change.
ECO-CHIC: THE FASHION PARADOX
by Sandy Black
Sandy Black, a professor at the London College of Fashion, stripped sustainable fashion of its hemp-clad, granola-crunching stereotypes with the publication of Eco-Chic: The Fashion Paradox (Black Dog) in 2008. Using case studies of Katharine Hamnett, Marks & Spencer, and Linda Loudermilk, Black makes a case for accommodating environmental concerns in a visually heightened format.
GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK: HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD WITH STYLE
by Tamsin Blanchard
More canny girlfriend than stodgy schoolmarm, Tamsin Blanchard’s Green is the New Black: How to Change the World With Style (2008, William Morrow) breaks down the principles of green fashion into a self-guided meditation of facts, clever tips, and shopping lists. The trick to overcoming the “fahionista’s dilemma,” Blanchard says, is to divert your spending power to businesses that produce clothes in an ethical and environmentally sympathetic way. Fist bumps!
Our favorite model-designer-entrepreneur paved the way for world domination by authoring Style, Naturally (2008, Chronicle Books), a lavishly detailed primer on the finer points of conscious consumption. Jammed with hundreds of Summer Rayne Oakes’s favorite designers, including Stella McCartney, Loomstate, Levi’s, and People Tree, the consummate tastemaker opens up her little black book of resources for you to rifle through.
by Summer Rayne Oakes
FUTURE FASHION WHITE PAPERS
by Leslie Hoffman and Earth Pledge
em>Future Fashion White Papers (2008, Earth Pledge) is a collection of essays from a diverse and international group of contributors, including designers, manufacturers, farmers, professors, models, business owners, and creative directors, all who add their unique experience and wisdom to provide a holistic view of the apparel and textile industry. Its preface is penned by none other than Diane von Furstenberg, who writes that the environment must be protected for its inherent relevance to fashion design, as well as its and our own survival.
FUGITIVE DENIM: A MOVING STORY OF PEOPLE AND PANTS IN THE BORDERLESS WORLD OF GLOBAL TRADE
by Rachel Louise Snyder
In Fugitive Denim (2007, W.W. Norton), journalist Rcahel Louise Snyder tracks the global garment industry from a New York design atelier to cotton growers in Azerbaijan to factories in Cambodia and China. Designed to neither polemic nor prescriptive, Snyder’s matter-of-fact prose captures the human, environmental, and economic forces in our complex 21st century world.
OVERDRESSED: THE SHOCKINGLY HIGH COST OF CHEAP FASHION
by Elizabeth L. Cline
Launching this June, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion (2012, Penguin Portfolio) by Elizabeth L. Cline promises to do for clothing what The Omnivore’s Dilemma did for chow. Like fast food, fast fashion has become the new normal, says Cline. But this breakneck cycle of consumption isn’t just damaging our sense of style or the environment, she argues, it’s also detrimental to our souls.