10 Sustainable Fashion Books For A Better Closet & Planet

10 Sustainable Fashion Books For A Better Closet & Planet

Top 10 Sustainable Fashion Books You Can't Afford To Skip / Cait Bagby / World Threads Traveler


Books have always played an important part of my life and sustainable fashion books are now what take up all of my reading time.

I have moved a lot in my life. Twenty-two times to be exact. It’s so much you would think that packing has become a bit of a routine. (It hasn’t) In all those time I have moved homes, apartments, states and countries the one thing that always takes up the most space in my bags are books. For every one bag of clothing there has always been two bags of books. I’ve tried using a kindle or other e-readers but they never have the same effect as feeling the pages between my fingers, that musty smell that comes from old bookstores that require hours to comb through, or even the visual appeal. There is something to be said about a physical book between your hands as you are absorbed into the authors world.

Lately, my reading time has been solely dedicated to learning all I can about the fashion industry and in particular sustainability. But, if you’re new to the topic the sheer volume of sustainable fashion books now on the market can seem overwhelming. To help you get started, whether you’re just looking to learn a bit more or are completely new to the topic, these are my topic 10 sustainable fashion book picks. Each has something unique to offer and provide you with insight into various topics within the industry ranging from social, environmental, and political impact to peeking behind the hoops designers have to jump through to be considered sustainable.

So grab a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), curl up and enjoy! xx

If you’re new to ethical fashion, or just looking for a refresher, The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees is a great introduction. While not a conventional pick, Rees does a phenomenal job teaching readers how to evaluate their closets and find their style. These principles are the foundation of sustainable fashion, assessing what we really need, how to fill in any gaps, creating a capsule collection, or how to shop consciously all while finding your own style.

Andrew Brooks does a masterful job of making the academic side of ethical fashion easy and enjoyable to read. By following a pair of jeans in Clothing Poverty, he traces the inner workings of the fast fashion industry from a market in Mozambique, to Nigerian smugglers and eventually to London. All the time weaving together the global hidden trade networks including what happens to our clothing after we’re done wearing them.

Magnifeco, written by Kate Black, is a staple on any bookshelf. It’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to sustainable fashion. Kate examines eco-beauty and sustainable fashion while giving readers the information they need to have in order to make conscious decisions moving forward. Magnifeco follows the shift in the fashion industry giving insight to where it may be headed.

If you were ever wondering about sustainable fashion production – the problems and solutions – Alison Gwilt provides guidance to help you evaluate the potential impacts in A Practical Guide to Sustainable Fashion. This book is great for designers wanting to be a bit more green or for those interested in the life cycle of a garment.

Over-Dressed was my literary introduction to fast fashion and it’s one that leaves you hanging on to every word. Elizabeth Cline takes readers through a social journey of the fast fashion industry interviewing the everyday consumer to the factory owner. She takes a look at the environmental, social, and economic impacts of our purchases with an open-minded curiosity. From the beginning it’s obvious that Cline didn’t set out with a conclusion in mind. Her journey is one that resonates deeply with readers.

If you’re looking to understand the fashion industry from inside out, Tansy Hoskins wrote the book for you. In Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, Hoskins asks the questions why does size-zero exist and what is life really like for a model? She doesn’t hold back in her examination of the industry covering everything from the environmental impact to the consumers complicity and power. From designers to philosophers this book uncovers the industry in a raw appeal that is sure to resonate with any reader.

Author and founder of People Tree, Safia Minney, makes this list twice because her passion, dedication and extensive knowledge on the fashion industry. Naked Fashion provides an insiders look at exactly what is happening in the sustainable fashion industry, profiling several news worthy change makers including Livia Firth, Emma Watson and Vivienne Westwood. The stunning photography alone with have you hooked.

We may not want to believe that slavery still exists but in Slave to Fashion its modern happenings are laid bare.  Saffia Minney interviews women, men and children caught up in the fashion industries underbelly of slavery. Going further than pulling on the heartstrings of the readers Minney goes on to profile the best practices of brands and designers to prove that slavery doesn’t and should never exist.

If you’re looking for more a historical analysis while still pinpointing the sustainability issues of today, then Sustainable Fashion: Past, Present and Future should be first on your reading list. Authors Gordon and Hill look at the issues one at a time accounting for past and present attitudes. Chapters are broken up by stages of the production cycle including labor practices, treatment of animals, recycling and much more. This accessible overview provides insight into the eco-fashion movement and the relationship between fashion and the environment.

Want to know how to tackle sustainability? The Sustainable Fashion Handbook will have you learning from some of the best within the industry. With case studies from high fashion to high street, Sandy Black does a wonderful job looking at the issues in the context of design. With high quality pictures you’ll want to leave this on your coffee table to reference time and time again.

Not much of a reader or want more sustainable fashion know-how? Check out these Ted Talks.


*This post contains affiliated links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using some links. This does not add to your cost of the product purchased.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *