Open your wardrobe and take a look inside – how many of those items have you taken care of or even worn? Do you know any of the stories behind how they were made, where and who by? How many could be turned into a whole new piece of clothing? If your answers are none, none and all of them then you need this book.
The fashion industry – designers, magazines, blogs – has been telling us for years to shun cheap, throwaway clothes in favour of investment pieces. And we have sighed and moaned that not all of us can afford a designer price range. What Lucy Siegle does in her new book is to make the case that you get what you pay for and we, as fashion consumers, have the chance to put our money where our soul (or wardrobe) is.
Siegle, who writes about ethical and sustainable fashion, zips through 300 pages throwing in shocking statistics, a bit of history, global comparisons and a lot of fabrics. I loved the finale too – she doesn’t just provide us with a ‘how not to buy’ but also how to achieve style self-sufficiency. Making your own clothes, renting clothes from “libraries”, clothes swapping, knitting with natural yarns and recycling garments a la East London’s Junky Styling.
With Esthetica growing from strength to strength at every LFW, the day can’t be far off when, as Siegle suggests, we’ll be scanning items with our smartphones and getting up to date information on the factory conditions, workers’ wages and Corporate Social Responsibility agreements of each big fashion brand, right there on the shop floor.
I am a Class A example of grabbing cheap throwaway basics and wearing my favourite pieces too much – thus ruining them. Look at your wardrobe and think how much time and energy it would take you to make all of those items. I’m exhausted just going through my cardigan collection.