Sustainable fashion: 7 resources to educate yourself
Sustainability is undoubtedly the number one issue in the global fashion industry.
Nearly three-fifths of all garments produced (a figure in the billions) will end up in incinerators or landfills within a few years. Fashion is also responsible for 20% of all industrial pollution annually and releases 10% of carbon emissions into the air. Environmental issues aside, fashion is also plagued by ethical issues, like reliance on workers subjected to appalling conditions in far flung countries.
Everyone knows that the industry is one of the most disruptive to the planet, but what are we actually doing to further educate ourselves about how to make better choices and lessen the impact?
Below are the resources to bookmark for in depth learning and advice on how to become a more ethical consumer.
Fashion Revolution is one of the most visible nonprofits leading the charge in the conversation around the need for change.
Via their platform, you can sign up for a weekly newsletter containing information and tips. The organization has also created a free online course, Fashion’s Future: The Sustainable Development Goals, that you can enroll in to learn about the industry’s impact on people and the planet. Fashion Revolution’s other resources include a brand transparency index, interviews, industry reports and white papers.
True Cost is an eye-opening documentary by Andrew Morgan which highlights the devastating side of the fashion industry and reinforces how imperative change is. The 2015 project features interviews with leading sustainably-minded designers and campaigners, including Stella McCartney and LIvia Firth, and begs the question: who really pays for the price of our clothing? The documentary also looks at the lives of the many people tasked with producing increasingly inexpensive garments.
Conscious Chatter: This podcast, hosted by ethical fashion pioneer Kestrel Jenkins, is listened to by people in over 115 countries around the world, making it a true global conversation starter. Jenkins explores essential topics through interviews with industry leaders, journalists and academics.
Spirit of 608: In her media strategy and fashion business podcast, Lorraine Sanders delves into a range of issues both widespread and niche, such as ethical fashion blogging, fashion gaming and sustainable luxury.
American Fashion Podcast: This comprehensive audio offering aims to let people look “under the hood” of the industry on a weekly basis. Ethical and sustainable fashion topics feature prominently across more than 200 episodes, including deep dives into model’s rights, supply chains and the slow fashion movement.
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion: Fashion journalist Elizabeth L. Cline wrote one of the first major investigations into the flawed industry when she penned this book back in 2012. Her 2019 followup, The Conscious Closet, has also been deemed “a must-read for all fashion lovers who care about the state of the planet.”
Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes: Name-checked by the likes of Forbes and NPR as a vital read, Dana Thomas’ book wants us to pay attention to the stark figures instead of continuously turning a blind eye. Like its contemporaries, Fashionopolis interviews workers and advocates, but it primarily aims to provide a blueprint for how consumers can actually start changing their habits.