recommended reading: overdressed
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline (Portfolio/Penguin 2012)
I tore through a much-awaited pre-ordered copy of this last year and have been pressing it upon unsuspecting friends ever since - this book lays out the problems with the fashion industry as it stands today and is absolutely a must read. Well researched and, I found, incredibly accessible (Cline is interestingly NOT an industry insider, but an average consumer who suddenly realised that owning 354 items of crap clothing was definitely a factor in what is wrong with the world), it covers everything from the history of garment manufacture in America to the frightening attitudes behind youtube 'haul' videos, the slippery slope of mass offshore production to people who are taking steps to slow things down.
While the problem is obviously bigger than one can tackle between two covers Cline has produced an exemplary overview, raising questions that are just as relevant to the everyday consumer as to people who work in the industry, without preaching or being unrealistic...if you are still buying new outfits for $50 every weekend you need to read this.
"...when I walk by an H&M or an Old Navy or a Target, I see what once looked like fashion meccas for what they really are: unsightly jumbles of cheap clothes dressed up as good deals. When we can recognize how clothing is put together, what it's made of, and can visualize the long journey it makes to our closets, it becomes harder to view it as worthless or disposable."