Written by The Sustainable Buyer

Whether your reading on your commute, taking some off screen time on a Sunday or getting a few pages in before bed. These 4 books – read and recommended – will give you a good understanding of the current situation of fashion in the context of sustainability from the brands perspective, the workers perspective and the critical perspective of fashion reporters. This article contains affiliate links to Hive. Hive is an online bookstore that supports local independent bookshops.

>Fashionopolis The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes – Dana Thomas

This has to be one of the most talked about publications of 2019/2020 and it has inspired some of the articles on this site! It’s great balance of positive and negative in the industry. Thomas gives us the hard truth no frills attached and then goes on to highlight some of the pioneering work going on in the industry. She covers some really innovative fields such as recycling mixed blended fabrics (notoriously challenging) and the dying of jeans at the cotton growing stage! The commentary on brands is again both negative and positive which makes for an engaging read. This book will give you a holistic understanding of the fashion industry in the context of an environmental crisis. 

Get this book at Hive

>The Song of the Shirt: The High Price of Cheap Garments, from Blackburn to Bangladesh – Jeremy Seabrook

This book concentrates on garment workers in Bangladesh, it was published in 2014, a year after the Rana Plaza tragedy in Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh). Garment workers in Bangladesh are some of the most vulnerable people in fashion’s supply chains and they are also some of the furthest removed from the end consumer. Seabrook gives us a chapter each on four major cities in Bangladesh: Dhaka, Barisal, Murshidabad and Kolkata. He also highlights some provoking parallels between the Bangladesh garment industry and the garment industry in Manchester, UK during the 19th century. This book will help you understand how garments are produced in the context of our industrialised world.

  Get this book at Hive

>To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? – Lucy Siegle (also wrote Turning Tide of Plastic

Although originally published in 2011 this book remains every bit as relevant and interesting today. Author Lucy Siegle is a British journalist and directed the documentary The True Cost (see link to own page). Siegle delves in various areas of the industry from being a consumer, to problematic materials. The chapters on materials are a highlight of this book – well research and explained well. Siegle focuses on wool, leather, snake skin, fur and of course cotton. Chapter 7 – Picking Cotton is a rounded view on the complexities of the cotton industry back with the shocking truth about the cotton industry in Uzbekistan. This book will give you the perspective and knowledge and to be a conscientious buyer. 

Get this book at Hive

>Let my people for surfing – Yvon Chouinard 

As it was originally written as a manual for the employees of Patagonia, it takes you on the journey of Patagonia from the founders, Yvon Chouinard, perspective. Chouinard, self proclaimed ‘Reluctant Businessman’, (whose business turns over more than $200 million US dollars a year) discusses his philosophies across production, production, distribution, finance, marketing, human resources, management and of course the environment. There are also interesting anecdotes and instagram worthy outdoors photos scattered throughout. It’ll give you an insight into approaching business in an employee and planet friendly manner. 

Get this book at Hive