Top 10 books on sustainable fashion

Paulina Kulczycki

Still on the hunt for the best beach reads for your summer vacation? Well, if you’re looking to enrich your summer reading list with some top reads on fashion and climate, we at SANVT have curated the top 10 books on sustainable fashionAfter all, dressing sustainably means more than just looking fabulous – it means making informed choices. So step aside, mainstream magazines! We’re learning about the ins and outs of fashion this summer!


Let’s be honest: the definition of sustainable fashion can be quite elusive in the context of greenwashing and capitalism. Many corporations and brands, even those offering sustainable collections, have such complex and opaque supply chains that the true origin and manufacture methods of their products are hardly traceable. So, what does it mean to consume fashion sustainably these days? What consequences of fast fashion are still obscure? And what influence do we, as buyers, have to make the fashion world greener? Answering these questions requires more than just a blog article. And that's why we're recommending you our top 10 books about sustainable fashion. Immerse yourself in these tomes and you'll become the eco-fashionista you were always meant to be!


Top 10 books about sustainable fashion SANVT booklist


1. To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle

British journalist Lucy Siegle spills the tea on the dark side of the fashion industry. While questioning her own consumption habits, she reveals the shady secrets behind trendy outfits. Siegle compares today's fashion industry with the industry of 50 years ago, highlighting the rapid transformation in production methods and our own consumption patterns. In the end, she offers solutions and advice on how consumers can recognise ethical offerings, avoid greenwashing, and bring the fashion world back to its roots. This book is a must-read, and fits at the top of our list!


2. Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went from Sunday Best to Fast Fashion by Clare Press

Speaking of going back to our roots: podcaster and journalist Clare Press examines the transformation of the fashion industry from the days of traditional, handcrafted garments to the era of mass production and fast fashion. Press takes you on a journey through the fashion industry's wild transformation and explores the social and environmental challenges we face. It's time to step up your fashion game and make conscious choices that align with your values. A deeply instructive reading journey we warmly recommend!

In her other book, "Rise & Resist", Press takes it a step further, embarking on an adventure through the new types of activism sweeping the world. The book features interviews with inspiring innovators such as model-activist Cameron Russell, May Boeve from, the founders of Fashion Revolution Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers, craftivists Betsy Greer and Sarah Corbett, Australian feminist icon Anne Summers, Pussyhat Project creators Jayna Zweiman and Krista Suh, zero-waste warrior Erin Rhoads, and many more. In "Rise and Resist", Press traces the emergence of a new counterculture united by a common goal: rethinking our current lives to build a more sustainable future. Refreshing!


3. Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas

Renowned fashion journalist Dana Thomas doesn't just analyse the devastating impacts of the fast fashion industry but also raises the question of whether sustainable fashion is the future. Thomas explores innovative technologies, materials, and business models that could bring about a transformation in the fashion industry. She introduces companies and designers who use alternative materials, promote recycling, and create fairer working conditions. Thomas then demonstrates how consumers could make more conscious choices in favour of sustainable fashion and how governments and the industry can collaborate to drive positive change. This book presents you with a glimmer of hope for a more sustainable future.


Top 10 books about sustainable fashion boklist SANVT


4. Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose

If you're even remotely tuned in to the world of sustainable fashion, then you've undoubtedly heard of the brilliant Kate Fletcher. She's a true trailblazer, a sustainability pioneer, and the eco-design advisor to heavyweight brands like Marcs Spencer, Clarks, and People Tree. Together with the equally groundbreaking sustainable fashion icon, Lynda Grose, Kate Fletcher unravels the enigma of sustainable fashion through the lens of design in their captivating masterpiece, "Fashion and Sustainability". 

This book is an exhilarating journey as these two delve into myriad design approaches that not only alleviate our environmental disasters but also ignite the flames of social justice. It introduces and explains very practical tools and showcases compelling case studies, making this book a holy grail for all designers yearning to weave sustainable magic into their creations. And if that's not enough, don't forget to check out Kate Fletcher's other gem, "Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys", where she delves into the world of eco-friendly fabrics.


5. Einfach Anziehend by Kirsten Brodde and Alf-Tobias Zahn

For those of you who crave cold, hard facts and statistical revelations, let us introduce you to "Einfach Anziehend"*. Green fashion guru Kirsten Brodde and fashion blogger Alf-Tobias Zahn join forces to dissect the fast fashion industry with surgical precision, in an expose of data-driven deep dives. Zahn and Brodde showcase sustainable alternatives to fleeting fashion trends in a super compelling manner. This book is an essential read for all the fact nerds out there who seek not just a mere glimpse into the realm of fair fashion but an intellectually nourishing conversation with some of the most well documented thinkers on the topic.

*Note that this book is only available in German.


6. Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics by Safia Minney

Another pioneer in the sustainable fashion world is Safia Minney, touted the queen of conscious entrepreneurship, and former CEO of the legendary People Tree. In her book, "Slow Fashion", Safia unravels the slow fashion movement that intersects aesthetics, ethics, and unwavering longevity. While introducing you to a constellation of slow fashion brands and designers who challenge the status quo, she begs us, the buyers, to make more thoughtful choices. Beyond that, Safia Minney has written a handful of noteworthy books on sustainable fashion, including "Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution", "Slave to Fashion", and "Regenerative Fashion". Say goodbye to mindless beach reads, dear fashion aficionados, and immerse yourself in a treasure trove of knowledge that will transform the way you perceive fashion forever.


Best books about sustainable fashion SANVT booklist


7. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline

New York journalist Elizabeth L. Cline unravels the dark secrets of the fashion industry in her superb book, "Overdressed". This is a proper exposé of the dreadful consequences of fast fashion and rampant consumerism – not a light-read! Cline delves into the environmental devastation, labour conditions, and the poor quality of our garments. But fear not, for this book is more than a gloomy tale of fashion disasters. It also serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating alternative consumption practices and sustainable solutions that can revolutionise your fashion choices.

But where do you begin when it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle? Luckily, Cline has you covered with her latest piece, "The Conscious Closet: A Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good". Within its pages, you'll learn the art of decluttering, discover the joy of clothes swapping, while also exploring how to recycle and properly dispose of our old clothes. It's full of tips on how to take better care of your garments, and even gives precious repairing tips! What we love about this book is how practical these tips are, and how you can apply them in your everyday life to make your clothes more sustainable. "The Conscious Closet" is an indispensable guide for eco-fashion novices and experts alike!


8. Green is the New Black: How to Change The World with Style by Tamsin Blanchard

In the summer of 2006 a festival in London installed a mobile confessional booth brought to life by filmmaker Cyndi Rhoades. It is here that the Telegraph Magazine's Style Director and fashion journalist, Tamsin Blanchard, stepped into the booth to confess her fashion sins. Little did she know that this innocent act of self-reflection would ignite a transformative journey of discovery, leading her to explore the realms of pesticide-laden cotton, fair trade garments, clothing dyes, recycling, and beyond.

Fast forward just one year, and behold the birth of the book "Green is the New Black: How to Change the World with Style". This guidebook offers inspiration on how to craft an eco-friendly lifestyle without compromising style or quality. Join Blanchard as she unlocks the secrets to creating a better world through your everyday choices. With this book in hand, you'll discover that green truly is the new black, and style can be a powerful catalyst for positive change.


9. Fashion Changers by Jana Braumüller, Vreni Jäckle, and Nina Lorenzen

For the activists among you, we have another fair fashion guide with a fierce focus on inclusion, gender and diversity. The authors Jana Braumüller, Vreni Jäckle, and Nina Lorenzen tackle sustainability initiatives, cultural appropriation, feminism, and the urgent climate crisis. Prepare to be empowered as they offer insightful tips on becoming a fashion activist, while engaging in interviews with trailblazing brands like Form of Interest, who shed light on the imperative need to transcend gender norms in the fashion realm. This book* goes beyond mere facts and figures, inviting you to explore contemporary and socially relevant perspectives that will challenge the status quo.

*Note that this book is only available in German.


Best books about sustainable fashion SANVT


10. The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black

Last, but not least, we present a treasure trove of knowledge that dives deep into the environmental disaster created by our wasteful and fast-paced fashion cycle. But it doesn't stop there. It sheds light on the social impacts of the global fashion industry, an industry that employs up to 40 million people in production and agriculture worldwide. The author Sandy Black brings together contributions from diverse perspectives: designers and technicians, scientists and journalists, environmental and social activists, artisans and artists, eco-entrepreneurs and representatives of global corporations. 

Each chapter is a compilation of essays penned by writers and thinkers, combined with interviews and statements from fashion icons like Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, and Hussein Chalayan. Black also presents case studies that delve into topics ranging from the life cycle of jeans to smart textiles and fair-trade projects. This handbook is a one-stop resource for all fashion aficionados seeking to make a positive impact on the world through their clothing choices.


Top 10 books on sustainable fashion: conclusion

There you have it! Your ultimate guide to sustainable fashion reads. No matter which of these top 10 books on sustainable fashion you choose, you'll be equipped to make better-informed decisions when it comes to your wardrobe. We do recommend, however, expanding your horizons beyond books by immersing yourself in documentaries and podcasts that shed a fresh light on the subject. Knowledge is power, after all. We firmly believe that the responsibility for making the fashion world greener lies not only with politicians and corporate giants but also with us, the folk buying. After all, our demand shapes the supply, and the more we invest in sustainable fashion while shunning fast fashion, the sooner the industry will transform.

At SANVT, we strive to make our brand, collections, and production as transparent, environmentally friendly, and ethical as possible. We exclusively use sustainable and biodegradable organic materials or recycled natural fibres, produce our collections in fair family-run factories in Portugal, minimize transportation distances, eliminate plastic packaging, use closed water systems, dye our fabrics without chemicals and heavy metals, and neutralize unavoidable CO2 emissions through local reforestation projects. Discover more about SANVT's sustainability initiatives and join us in making the fashion world a shade greener.