Ethical Style: Three Good Reads

Inspiring books on sustainability, consumerism and the effect clothes have on women

OVERDRESSED: THE SHOCKINGLY HIGH COST OF CHEAP FASHION

By Elizabeth L. Cline. overdressedthebook.com

Journalist Elizabeth L. Cline sets out to uncover our obsession with bargain buys and throwaway clothing in OverdressedTravelling to garment factories in China to Bangladesh, Cline traces the rise of fast fashion and looks at the impact it has on workers, the environment and local stores through to where our clothing castoffs end up, all in an attempt to pin down the consequences and implications of cheap fashion. “Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. We buy a new garment a week on average and make regular pilgrimages to outlet malls and cheap chain stores," she writes.

"Retailers are producing clothes at enormous volumes in order to drive prices down and profits up, and they’ve turned clothing into a disposable good. But what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more importantly, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?"


TO DIE FOR: IS FASHION WEARING OUT THE WORLD?

By Lucy Siegle.

British journalist and environmental writer Lucy Siegle’s novel presents the idea that green really can and will be the new black. She analyses society’s bad shopping behaviour and the negative effects that the throwaway culture has on the Third World and environment, and discusses how it is possible to be an “ethical fashionista”. In a world swamped and obsessed consumerism and throwaway fashion, Siegle suggests that by simply being aware, informed and conscious about what you’re buying and where exactly its coming from you can make a positive difference to Third World lives.

Cleverly written and with a “no lecture” format, the book provides an insightful view into the world of excess modern day consumerism, disposable clothing, instant gratification and impulse buys without a second thought of the impact, and how cheapbuys are valued over quality items that will last a lifetime.


WOMEN IN CLOTHES

By Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton, and Sheila Heti. womeninclothes.com

Women In Clothes explores how women across the world from a variety of different nationalities and backgrounds view clothing, discussing how the garments we put on present and shape women today, and what style really means.

With more than 600 contributors, from well-known names such as actress Lena Dunham, film director Miranda July and photographer Cindy Sherman to lesser known women from a diverse range of backgrounds, the book provides a well-rounded, insightful view of the way different women hold value to clothing, and what their garments really mean, exploring this concept through conversations, drawings and original interviews.

Though the New York Times best-seller doesn’t touch on the subject of sustainability, it provides valuable insight into the way that women treasure and value their clothing, and that they are so much more than a piece of fast, throwaway fashion — garments have much more meaning.

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