One of our favourite things about the CONTENT community is that is it founded on people who love to question. To question what is inside their make-up. Where the ingredients came from that compose their favourite skincare product. And to ask why have synthetics in our bathroom cabinets when natural beauty and green chemistry advances can give us the same, if not better, results. It’s with this ethos and frame of reference in mind that we turn to fashion.
These four books reveal what the fashion industry and many mainstream beauty companies aren’t keen for consumers to know. The realities behind mass scale production and the casualties stretch beyond an environmental impact. Prepare for your eyes to be opened and to be inspired to be a more conscious consumer – you’ll never be able to look at the high street the same again.
Magnifeco by Kate Black
‘Even though fashion and beauty are now regularly prefixed with words like “green,” “natural,” “environmentally friendly,” “eco,” “healthy” and “sustainable,” there are still dark sides to both industries: dangerous chemicals in everyday personal care products, deadly pesticides used to grow cotton, child labor in gold mining and stone cutting and deforestation to make fashion. Consumers have the power to change these situations.’
Your head-to-toe guide to ethical fashion and non-toxic beauty. Kate Black has packed an impressive amount into this 200 page compendium on the state of the fashion and beauty industry and offers practical tips on how to shift your buying habits to be a little kinder on the planet. Chapter titles range from Beauty to Jewelry to Underwear and our favourite Cleaning, Tending and Mending. With 17 pages of endnotes, you can be sure Kate’s concise prose has been thoroughly researched, and its detailed index makes Magnifeco a firm reference book on our shelves.
Clothing Poverty by Andrew Brooks
‘While old clothes are viewed negatively and past fashions often ridiculed, the new clothing sector and the fast-fashion system are positively associated with youth, independence and even female emancipation. This is a charade. Fashion, by its very nature, is effective in restricting social mobility and places consumers in a never-ending contest of purchases which contribute to expressing their identity.’
This eye opening account of the hidden world of fast fashion and the second-hand clothing industry tracks the rise of a single item of clothing – jeans. A lecturer at King’s College London, Brooks’s specialty in development geography lends a chronological and intuitive look at an otherwise overwhelming, entangled global crisis.
Slow Fashion by Safia Minney
‘By joining the Slow Fashion movement, you can help the fashion industry slow down, check where their production is and be sure that exploitation is not taking place. Acknowledging your reaction every time you feel the seduction of fashion advertising is the first step to liberation. This will liberate not only ourselves, but also the people who toil to make what we wear, and the environment.’
Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Founder of People Tree of ethical business trailblazer Safia Minney has compiled a brilliant 360-degree view of the changing fashion world, from the cotton fields to the city streets. Featuring glossy, full colour photos Slow Fashion not only tackles the fluid definition of ‘ethical, Fair Trade, sustainable’ fashion but lays out the best influencers and innovations happening within the industries. It’s a celebration of the makers along every step of the way and a catalogue of businesses to support around the world.
To Die For by Lucy Siegle
‘For anyone labouring under the misapprehension that their individual decisions are too small and too insignificant to have any influence over the status quo, I want to set you straight. It has never been more critical for us consume with care and intelligence. It’s no secret that the present rates of consumption are unsustainable, and it will come as even less of a surprise that fashion’s are wildly out of kilter.’
Is fashion wearing out the world? From one of the UK’s leading journalists on environmental and social justice, Lucy’s columns on ethical living are a CONTENT favourite. To Die For is just as sharp, digestible and informative as you would expect. We love the illustration vignettes that break up the chapters. They provide a snapshot on a typical “affordably priced” clothing item and the shocking reality behind their manufacturing.
Four Ways to Shop Ethical Fashion