Never judge a book by its cover. Literally.
Behind this book's supposed shallow title hide plenty of facts from the dark side of the 1 trillion dollar industry. Which might just make you question your own actions more...
Warning! This is a must read for anyone that aspires to be an aware and responsible fashion consumer!
Head of London College of Fashion, Frances Corner, states in her introduction that:
"With this book of 101 bite-sized reflections, I have set out to explain why fashion matters and to sketch out its increasing influence on lives and industries around the globe."
But she did much, much more.
Yes, the fashion world is mesmerizing and home of truly brilliant artists. We can all witness it's beauty each and every day. And it has lots of good parts.
But what about our fashion footprint?
Water consumption. Labour conditions. Pollutants. The treatment of animals.
How often do you stop and think past price, brand and awesomeness level when shopping?
"Fashion is a super consumer of water.
It takes 2700 liters of water to produce one cotton t-shirt from 'crop to shop'.
Imagine how many swimming pools of water it took to manufacture the contents of your wardrobe - and how many more swimming pools will go into extending its lifespan through regular washes at home.
In the meantime, five thousand children die each day due to lack of clean water."
What struck me most about this book was the unusual mix of topics. You'll find this type of eye opening statistics right after 'couture' and right before 'fashion weeks'.
They are all pieces of the same puzzle afterall, and it's our duty to pay equal attention to them all, in order to get the whole picture.
"In my mind, our greatest crime is not the buying itself but the carelesness with which we yield our purchasing power. In recent years, our love of consumption has fed a huge increase in clothing sales across the world.
But while the British, for example, are buying a third more clothes now than they did four years ago, the amount spent per person has remained roughly the same.
That means more is being bought for less. A sure-fire formula for ever-increasing wastage and the too low wages of garment workers."
"When we first try on a garment, we are making a direct and intimate connection with the person who has made it. [...] Despite this intimate relationship, we continue to turn a blind eye to the pay and conditions of these workers. [...] Fashion should not come at any cost. Considering the efforts many of us make to look after our skin, we should take more care in ensuring the hapiness of those humans whose skin first touched the clothes we wear."
What I appreciate most about the author is the fact that after every underlined issue, a solution usually follows. Or the example of a successful outcome. Something to make the reader think and want to act.
"Manufacturers and retailers can do more and we, as cosumers, need to insist that they do. [...] Retailers should be required to produce facilities for recycling and other end-of-life solutions. [...] The fabrics and fibers of clothes that are no longer going to be worn could be recycled into alternative products or made into insulation and rags."
Did you know that Nike has recycled more than 25 million sports shoes into synthetic turf field and sports surfaces, since 1990, when launching their ReUSE A SHOE programme?
What a better world we would live in if more businesses would do their part. And if more people would react.
"We need to start making the connection between what we value and what we wear sooner rather than later. [...] it is up to us to put pressure on the fashion industry to take responsability for how products are sourced and manufactured."
So remember the four R's:
...'Read', actually! :)
See you next Friday!