The 7 Best Ethical Fashion Books and Zines to Get Your Hands on

Kate Hall

You know the saying ‘you are what you eat’?

Well, it’s the same as reading: you are what you read.

Educating ourselves on topics that matter is important, and reading is a key way to getting that juicy info into you.

Whether you’re new to ethical fashion or an absolute wizard, these seven books are must reads when it comes to what is happening in the fashion industry and how we can change our habits for the better.

ethical fashion

ethical fashion

Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics – Safia Minney

Slow Fashion collates leading people, brands, designers, and projects who are pulling slow-fashion forward into a global spotlight.  From fair-trade and ethical practices, to empowerment and sustainable design, Safia Minney explains how important it is for every aspect of fashion to be sustainable. Through interviews, beautiful bold photography, and a format that won’t ever leave you bored; this book is different to the rest.

ethical fashion

Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went from Sunday Best to Fast Fashion – Clare Press

How the heck did we get from the seamstress next door, to sweat shops in third world countries? Clare Press dives into the history behind the drastic change in how our clothes are made, and tells the story behind iconic labels such as Chanel, Dior, and Hermes. Wardrobe Crisis gives you a new appreciation for your wardrobe. This is a must read, especially if you’re a fashion guru heading away from the ‘dark side’ to find ethics at the core of fashion.

ethical fashion

To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World – Lucy Siegle

An oldie, but a goodie! Lucy Siegle, currently an ethical living journalist for The Guardian, hits the issue of fast-fashion hard. She analyses not only the issue of unethical fashion, but the morality around why we consume fast-fashion without a thought. To Die For brings up the question ‘how we can afford ethical fashion when money is tight’, and emphasises the importance of considering the true cost of fashion.

Loved Clothes Last – Fashion Revolution

The fanzine we’ve all been waiting for. Loved Clothes Last was created by world leaders: Fashion Revolution. The second in its series, this fanzine explains issues including textile waste and mass consumption. It explains how to look after our clothes, buy less, and generally care more about our wardrobes. Fashion Revolution use poetry, diagrams, full colour images, articles, and interviews, to portray these issues and tips in an attractive and tangible way that is accessible to everyone.

ethical fashion

Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion – Tansy E. Hoskins

Hoskins goes a step beyond ‘what is fast-fashion’, and looks at the psychology around consumerism, advertising, and class. Fast-fashion stems from our contemporary culture which tells us we should always want MORE. Tansy Hoskins uses the Rana Plaza collapse to remind us all that ethical pay and safe working conditions are just the beginning; it is our mindsets and consumer ideologies that must change.

ethical fashion

Building a Conscious Wardrobe – Leiden Magazine

If you’re a newbie to this ethical fashion thing, this half book half magazine styled publication is something to snap up. It’s a simple but unique way of sharing key fast-fashion issues, and how we can boycott them. Leiden Magazine have created a fun filled book with pictures, images, doodles, and oh so much colour. This is your go-to guide for how to build a conscious wardrobe, and it’s also the best thing you can pass on to your intrigued friends.

ethical fashion

Stuffocation – James Wallman

Diverting slightly from just fast-fashion, Stuffocation puts forward the argument that materialism and ‘stuff’ make us anxious, depressed, unhappy, and overwhelmed. James Wallman goes back in history to unpack why we now consume ‘stuff’, including fashion, at an unsustainable rate for the planet. He touches on examples of individuals abandoning their ‘stuffy’ lifestyles for a minimalist approach, and shows how living simply could be the best way for us all to live in harmony and happiness.

There are thousands more word smiths out there, sharing their knowledge through hardbacks made from recycled paper, and e-books that save the trees. What are your favourite ethical fashion reads?

Kate Hall

I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.