If you are looking for some must-read sustainable fashion books, you are in the right place. I have gathered the 10 best books on sustainable fashion that should be added to your reading list ASAP – cause they are that good.
In this list of books on sustainable fashion, you will find both classics and newer sustainable fashion books. I have tried to find something for every taste, so some of the books are more focused on the theory, economy, and supply chain of fast fashion vs. sustainable fashion, while others focus on how you yourself can become more sustainable.
Before you start scrolling through the list I will warn you. Most of these books aren’t light reading and don’t really fall under the category “feel-good”. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t super interesting or not worth reading.
Considering quitting fast fashion? Read our guide about 11 tips to quit fast fashion
They are all very informative and will allow you to get a deeper understanding of how fast fashion actually is affecting the earth and people producing. All the stories and facts are important reading, and I will guarantee you will feel more enlightened after reading some of these sustainable fashion books.
10 must-read sustainable fashion books
Whether you are a solid follower of sustainable fashion, a novice in the field, or just want to learn more about the topic, you will definitely find these ten sustainable fashion books interesting.
They are all important and no matter which one you choose, I bet you will be engulfed by the book. of course, you can always go back to this guide and look for a new book, when you finished the first one!
1. The travel of a T-shirt in the global economy by Pietra Rivoli
If you want to know more about the economy behind the fashion industry, but think a book was written by a professor always seems too big a mouthful, now you have the chance. This sustainable fashion book is written by the business professor, Pietra Rivoli is so well written, and give you an inside view on the fashion industry, more precisely the economy and the life journey of a t-shirt.
And when I say it is about the life journey of a t-shirt I mean it quite literally. In the book, we follow Rivoli’s five-year journey on tracing a cotton t-shirt starting in a Texas cotton field, to a Chinese factory to a clothing market in Africa.
On the journey, the reader gets to explore topics such as the economy, politics, and ethics of modern business and globalization. The books take the reader on a unique journey and the unique idea of using the journey of a “simple” t-shirt makes the book both very entertaining and enlightened – and definitely worth adding to your reading list!
2. Overdressed: The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline
This sustainable fashion book has gone really popular and I sure do understand why. The book is written in a very easily read language and tells the story of how Elizabeth Cline realized she was buying new cheap clothes from fast fashion stores every week without anyone ever actually seeing it except the back of her closet.
When she found herself having seven pairs of identical canvas flats from the same store, she realized that something was deeply wrong with the way most people on the planet consume.
So she took a decision on changing her consumer habits and the way she looks at clothes. She wanted to become a sustainable shopper. And that let her on a great journey where she got to explore the true colors of the fashion industry with overproduction and horrible working conditions.
In her book, “Overdressed” Cline shows the reader that there is a way to break the buy-and-toss cycle that many people in are so used to live in. And she does it in a way that is filled with fact and horrible truths that makes you want to start becoming more sustainable right away. All in all definitely a sustainable fashion book worth adding to your reading list!
3. To Die For: Is fashion wearing out the world by Lucy Siegle
In this book, Siegel sets out to explain the other and not so pretty side of the fashion industry, but while she does that, she also brings hope to the reader by stating how she believes that you can be a fashionista and still support sustainable fashion.
So through the book, she sets out her ideas on how you can be an ethical fashionista and do fashion in a responsible way. Spiegel sets and agenda for the urgent change and you should add this book to your list if you want a deep analysis of the unsustainable fashion market as well as tips on how to join the sustainable one.
4. Slave to Fashion by Safia Minney
This sustainable fashion book is written by the founder and CEO of Fair Trade and sustainable fashion label Tree People, and she knows a thing or two by the environment, trade, and ethical fashion.
She has written multiple books on this topic, but Slave to fashion is one of my favorites. The book is made up of interviews, and micro-documentaries with men, women, and children working in the fashion industry under what you will categorize as modern slavery.
The people in the book make the clothes you see hanging in malls and outlets all over the world and Minney uses strong images and visual graphics, to make the reader understand the true consequences of some parts of the fashion industry.
This sustainable fashion book gives you a strong picture of why ethical fashion is so important and gives the reader facts and stories on why and how we can eradicate modern slavery.
5. The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black
This book is often described as a manifesto rather than a sustainable fashion book. But no matter what, you can’t make a list of the best books on sustainable fashion without seeking in the Sustainable Fashion Handbook.
This is not light reading, and I would say you have to be a little interested in the topic to get through this book. BUT, if you are solid slow fashion support this book is a must-read.
The book is for those who are concerned about the topics of sustainability, environment, and all earth-preserving subjects. A must for all the sustainable followers out there.
6. Fashion and Sustainability: Design for changes by Kate Fletcher
This is the sustainable fashion book for those dreaming about becoming a sustainable designer or are looking for alternative ways to make fashion. In the book, Fletcher discusses the transformation of fashion products and how garments impact in the world can be reduced.
ideas on how to transform the whole system and industry including business models and practical ideas on how the industry can change. Fletcher gives new designers the possibility of breaking with the “old” way of doing things and gives the reader a new opportunity for rethinking the way we do fashion.
7. The wardrobe crises: How we went from Sunday Best to Fast Fashion by Clare Press
Who made your clothes? This isn’t exactly an easy question to answer, right? You might be able to tell where in the world some of your shirts were produced, but by who? And under what working conditions? Well, that is actually close to impossible to tell right. But it hasn’t always been.
Back in time, your clothes were made by the tailor down the street, the seamstress around the corner, or maybe even your mother. But those times are long gone. Today you probably don’t even know a single thing about your clothes other than it was either cheap or expensive.
But Clare Press allows you to go on a journey through history to see how the fashion industry has changed through the years and introduces you to everyone from Marie Antoinette to Carrie Bradshaw and gives you an inside look at the revolution of the fashion mastodonts such as Chanel and Dior.
It is one of the more light sustainable fashion books that want to make you feel like everyone is evil afterward and is easy to read. So go add it to your must-read list right away.
8. Slow Fashion: Aesthetics meets Ethics by Safia Minney
This is another sustainable fashion book by the popular writer Safia Minney even though this one is a bit more positive than the one further up this list.
This is truly a sustainable fashion book filled with innovative eco-concepts, sustainable designs, and colorful photographs and designs. In the book, Minney convinces the reader that the only future for fashion is a sustainable one that consists of the best Fair Trade and organic products along with vintage and local shopping.
All in all a great book if you want to read about the initiatives, innovations, and traditions breaks we see and will see in the future fashion industry.
9. Routledge Handbook on sustainable fashion
This sustainable fashion book is one of the heavy ones. It is actually used at universities to teach on subjects such as sustainable fashion, ethical fashion, product process, and the economy behind the fashion industry.
But it is a great resource if you are interested in hard facts – because this book is filled with them. You will find information on anything regarding sustainability in the fashion industry and the consequences of fast fashion. This is your go-to book is you want a more theoretical view in the fashion industry in general and the consequences it has.
10. Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan
This is your handbook for navigating both fashion and ethics while still looking good. It is an easy guide to shop anywhere while supporting your values and living a sustainable life. So basically a sustainable fashion book filled with great advice and tips on how to navigate the field.
The book is also filled with facts and info about sustainable and unsustainable fashion as well as research and experience from real life. The book tries to show that sustainability and style can go hand in hand – they can live in harmony.
Don’t have time to read a whole book about sustainability?
In a busy everyday life it can sometimes be difficult to find time to read a book and find the time to sit down and learn about a new concept like sustainable fashion. But of course there is a much quicker and easier way to learn about sustainability, ethical fashion and fast fashion.
If you don’t feel like you have time to read a book, then spend an hour watching a important and educating sustainable fashion documentary. You are probably watching a ton of tv or series already, so why not spend some time learning while relaxing on your couch?
Does that sound interesting? Then check out our guide to sustainable fashion documentaries. It is field with important and provoking sustainable fashion documentaries that will help you understand ethical and sustainable fashion in depth fast.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and found one or two books to add to your reading list!
If you don’t feel like reading an entire book on the concept of sustainable fashion just yet? Then check out some of our articles on sustainable fashion right here.