I mentioned ages ago, that I read the ‘Overdressed’ book and how excited I was about it. I also watched the documentary ‘True cost’, which I thought was an excellent addition to getting the whole picture of the issues in the fashion industry. Well, close to a whole. I am sure there are still many problems that have not yet come up to the public eye. First of what I would like to say is that if you like fashion and shopping for fashion, you should read and watch these. I think everybody should know the backgrounds of items they love so much. Not so that people would stop shopping, but so they would be shopping smartly, with intention and understanding. Also, I really think these two should be read/watched together. What one leaves out the other fills in.
Overdressed: The Shockingly high cost of cheap fashion by Elizabeth L.Cline
This book goes through very well the insane mass consumption of fashion in the USA and the history of how they got to it. She is writing this from a USA point of view, however, I think it can be somewhat transferable to the European consumer as well. Elizabeth is not really blaming the consumer or the businesses for problems in the fashion industry but rather explains how the system is intricate and has so many layers it is difficult to tackle.
Basically, she explains how fast-fashion is a horrible problem in many ways from exploiting labour to poor fitting fashion and masses of textile waste. Unlike articles about all these problems, however, she does explain what she thinks would help to slowly resolve at least some of these problems.
I was really interested in why there is no more support for small businesses and makers and why are the conditions in developing countries not improving in spite of all the media attention.
Elizabeth’s writing is very interesting, thorough and clear. I found it very easy to read although with somewhat mixed feelings. Where the book is interesting, it is also very sad and depressing and it made me feel a bit powerless, nevertheless of her tips. Although after reading it I felt this urge to do my part in moving towards slower fashion. The only thing I would have wished to have more in the book is the sustainability and other environmental issues, as she only scratches the surface on these issues and rather sticks with the labour issues.
True cost movie (available on Netflix)
This movie does touch some of the issues mentioned in the book but concentrates more on the environmental problems, such as toxicity and erosion, which are usually overlooked in articles and in the media when talking about the problems in the fashion industry. I really liked how in depth they took this subject without blaming the consumer but exploring the wider implications. They questioned the economy and capitalism as a part of the driving forces in this problem, which rarely is mentioned and they talked about what we could do if we shopped sustainably and ethically.
The documentary was filmed well and Andrew Morgan has done a great job directing it. It was interesting and grabbed my attention, but also made me a bit depressed. The only thing I was wishing a bit more from the documentary was showing more the problems we have with the waste resulted from the fashion industry.
As a result of watching and reading these, I felt the need to do more and better and a little empowered to move in the right direction. Whereas previously I felt I didn’t have any options, now I feel I do. Yes, it is depressing but it is also so informative! There are so many companies and people who think they can get away with doing just about anything and this is one of the ways they can be exposed.
I definitely recommend checking out both of these and when you have please leave me a comment. I would love to discuss these issues further! And please let me know if this is something that you are interested in reading more about on my blog.