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Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes

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An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry and the grassroots, high-tech, international movement fighting to reform it What should I wear? It's one of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry and the grassroots, high-tech, international movement fighting to reform it What should I wear? It's one of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs every sixth person on Earth. Historically, the apparel trade has exploited labor, the environment, and intellectual property--and in the last three decades, with the simultaneous unfurling of fast fashion, globalization, and the tech revolution, those abuses have multiplied exponentially, primarily out of view. We are in dire need of an entirely new human-scale model. Bestselling journalist Dana Thomas has traveled the globe to discover the visionary designers and companies who are propelling the industry toward that more positive future by reclaiming traditional craft and launching cutting-edge sustainable technologies to produce better fashion. In Fashionopolis, Thomas sees renewal in a host of developments, including printing 3-D clothes, clean denim processing, smart manufacturing, hyperlocalism, fabric recycling--even lab-grown materials. From small-town makers and Silicon Valley whizzes to such household names as Stella McCartney, Levi's, and Rent the Runway, Thomas highlights the companies big and small that are leading the crusade. We all have been casual about our clothes. It's time to get dressed with intention. Fashionopolis is the first comprehensive look at how to start.


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An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry and the grassroots, high-tech, international movement fighting to reform it What should I wear? It's one of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry and the grassroots, high-tech, international movement fighting to reform it What should I wear? It's one of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs every sixth person on Earth. Historically, the apparel trade has exploited labor, the environment, and intellectual property--and in the last three decades, with the simultaneous unfurling of fast fashion, globalization, and the tech revolution, those abuses have multiplied exponentially, primarily out of view. We are in dire need of an entirely new human-scale model. Bestselling journalist Dana Thomas has traveled the globe to discover the visionary designers and companies who are propelling the industry toward that more positive future by reclaiming traditional craft and launching cutting-edge sustainable technologies to produce better fashion. In Fashionopolis, Thomas sees renewal in a host of developments, including printing 3-D clothes, clean denim processing, smart manufacturing, hyperlocalism, fabric recycling--even lab-grown materials. From small-town makers and Silicon Valley whizzes to such household names as Stella McCartney, Levi's, and Rent the Runway, Thomas highlights the companies big and small that are leading the crusade. We all have been casual about our clothes. It's time to get dressed with intention. Fashionopolis is the first comprehensive look at how to start.

30 review for Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nore

    Fashionopolis is an extremely well-written, comprehensive book; Mrs. Thomas spoke to people from all levels of the manufacturing chain, from workers on the floor of the factories to fashion moguls in LA and NY, giving the reader a comprehensive look at the industry from the initial sketch to the finished product, as well as a brief history of the fashion industry and the rise of fast fashion. Her writing style is clear and engaging, which made this a quick, enjoyable read. I came away from this Fashionopolis is an extremely well-written, comprehensive book; Mrs. Thomas spoke to people from all levels of the manufacturing chain, from workers on the floor of the factories to fashion moguls in LA and NY, giving the reader a comprehensive look at the industry from the initial sketch to the finished product, as well as a brief history of the fashion industry and the rise of fast fashion. Her writing style is clear and engaging, which made this a quick, enjoyable read. I came away from this book much more hopeful than I did after reading Overdressed, a book near and dear to my heart, a book which solidified my decision to do 99% of my clothes shopping in thrift stores (the only things I usually buy new now are underwear and socks). Hearing about the advances in sustainable fabrics and manufacturing processes that have been made just in the past five years makes me wonder if one day, I won't be able to buy affordable new clothes without feeling like a terrible person, and that's wonderful! So why only three stars? What didn't I like about this book? Dana Thomas is the sort of woman to buy a $1,000 dress without it causing her too much stress (in fact, she portrayed buying this £831 dress in two installments as fantastic way to acquire clothing). Dana Thomas is the sort of woman who is able to afford a $750 blouse. Dana Thomas, while not one of the uberrich, is clearly well off, and deeply invested in fashion in a way the average consumer is not and cannot afford to be. The most expensive thing I have bought in the past five years was a new pair of Converse to replace the pair I'd worn for 11 years - since they were custom, it ran me about $85. The second-most expensive thing I've bought was a secondhand leather backpack about three years ago. I paid $15 for it. Most of my clothing has cost me between $7 and 25¢, since everything I buy is thrifted. I'm currently saving to purchase a few items from a small brand I love that uses deadstock fabric and sustainable practices (Noctex, which has gorgeous stuff), and their clothes only run between $60-175, depending on what you're looking at. So I think anyone reading this review can understand why I chafed at Thomas's neverending insistence that the only way to purchase responsibly was to buy from brands that list coats at $2,100, or, if you're really strapped for cash, to buy secondhand Gucci from The RealReal for a couple hundo instead of a thousand. No matter how you look at it, the brands that Thomas presents as ethical and affordable in this book are out of reach of basically everyone I know, and everyone my friends know, and everyone THEY know. We aren't out here buying $1,000 dresses. We aren't going to spend $80 a month to be able to pick a few pieces of designer clothing to wear to our office jobs. So who was this book written for? The very narrow subset of fashion magazine writers who don't quite make enough to afford the clothing they write about? I've never been so angry at a woman for talking about dresses! As interesting as it was to read about the technology going into sustainable fashion these days, none of it was practical or affordable for me or anyone I know. So here's some advice for the people Thomas isn't writing for, the people out here making enough to keep afloat, the people who want to look nice, as ethically as possible, without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on clothing: - Thrift. Find the local thrift stores in your town. Find the ones in nearby towns. Not just Goodwill - look for the ones owned by people in your community. - Learn to sew, at least enough to do basic mending. It'll make your clothes last longer. Do some research on how to care for your clothes (For instance: Got a twisted seam? Don't put it in the dryer; hang it and pull the fabric back into shape. Doesn't fix the problem, but it disguises it!). - Look for smaller indie brands like Noctex who are attempting to make clothes ethically, but affordably. Maybe they aren't using all of the most cutting-edge technology, but anything's better than shopping at F21 or H&M. Good luck out there to my fellows out there who are also relatively poor, but like to wear nice clothes. I'd still recommend this book in order to see what's going on with textile science (seriously, it was interesting), but don't expect to come away with any practical advice for where to shop.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    The other night I went to my son and daughter-in-law's house for a casual Friday night dinner. They have two young daughters and some time before dinner was devoted to the girls trying on clothes and shoes their mother had ordered on line - giving their measurements and shoe sizes - and deciding what they were going to keep and what would go back. This modern day Wells Fargo Wagon delivery system is only one of the ways that clothes for all ages get made and distributed these days. In her book, The other night I went to my son and daughter-in-law's house for a casual Friday night dinner. They have two young daughters and some time before dinner was devoted to the girls trying on clothes and shoes their mother had ordered on line - giving their measurements and shoe sizes - and deciding what they were going to keep and what would go back. This modern day Wells Fargo Wagon delivery system is only one of the ways that clothes for all ages get made and distributed these days. In her book, "Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes", author Dana Thomas takes the readers behind the scenes to look at clothes made for Zara and its competitors, which provide cheap fashion just made to wear-and-throw-away, to the "back to nature" clothes, hand made in communities in the US and Europe. Zara's clothes are made in real-life sweat shops based in Asia and Central America, and Thomas doesn't stint on giving the hoary details of those places. Thomas also looks at the history of fashion and how politics has often affected it. I hadn't realised how much NAFTA had helped wipe out much of the manufacturing base in the United States since the 1990's. Thomas shows how our decline was matched by the uptick in world-wide production went to areas where it was cheaper to produce. I didn't get the sense she was condemning NAFTA; rather that she was explaining the after-effects. Dana Thomas's book on the ins-and-outs of how today's fashions are produced and how the future of fashion will look is not for the reader casually interested in the subject. She covers fashion from the designs to the manufacturing to the distribution of clothing and accessories and the reader should be at least somewhat familiar with the names and the histories and techniques she refers to.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This is a thoroughly well researched and well written book on the behind scenes of the fashion industry. Focusing on clothing production, the book is enlightening and frightening at the same time. To find out in detail what it takes to make a single pair of jeans and how damaging it is to the environment was shocking. After reading this book, it will be a long time before I buy another pair. It was interesting to learn about designers who are trying to create not only more sustainable fabrics, This is a thoroughly well researched and well written book on the behind scenes of the fashion industry. Focusing on clothing production, the book is enlightening and frightening at the same time. To find out in detail what it takes to make a single pair of jeans and how damaging it is to the environment was shocking. After reading this book, it will be a long time before I buy another pair. It was interesting to learn about designers who are trying to create not only more sustainable fabrics, but also more eco-conscious reusing of material. Parts of it really reminded me of Silent Spring in the urgency of what wanting up the minute fashion does to the environment. A must read not only for eco-lovers, but also for fashionistas. It's eyeopening to find out where your clothes come from.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    The biggest reason people buy fast fashion is the one thing that's not really addressed in this book: Price. Someone who buys fast fashion can't afford the "reasonable" price of around $300 to rent an outfit. Or $800 for a "slow fashion" sweater. Or even $50 for a t-shirt. One other thing that bothered me was the complete lack of awareness of race and class history when discussing the history of, for example, the American cotton industry. How do you talk about cotton in the South without even The biggest reason people buy fast fashion is the one thing that's not really addressed in this book: Price. Someone who buys fast fashion can't afford the "reasonable" price of around $300 to rent an outfit. Or $800 for a "slow fashion" sweater. Or even $50 for a t-shirt. One other thing that bothered me was the complete lack of awareness of race and class history when discussing the history of, for example, the American cotton industry. How do you talk about cotton in the South without even mentioning slavery, Jim Crow, etc.? I did like learning about environmental issues and new technologies in fashion, but again, if it doesn't address the price issue, it doesn't really address the consumer need.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    One of the most interesting, well researched insights into the world of fast fashion and its impact on its workers, consumers, the environment, and beyond. I'll edit this review tomorrow, but I simply floored over what I just read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allyson

    Listened to this (read by author on Audible) as I wanted to learn more about the environmental and societal impact of the apparel industry, as well as future innovations. This book definitely brought me up to speed in a great way on those areas. However, as some other reviewers have mentioned, this book really spent a lot of time focusing on innovations made by luxury brands such as Alabama Chanin and Stella McCartney, that are prohibitively expensive to the average consumer. One skirt that Listened to this (read by author on Audible) as I wanted to learn more about the environmental and societal impact of the apparel industry, as well as future innovations. This book definitely brought me up to speed in a great way on those areas. However, as some other reviewers have mentioned, this book really spent a lot of time focusing on innovations made by luxury brands such as Alabama Chanin and Stella McCartney, that are prohibitively expensive to the average consumer. One skirt that Alabama Chanin sells is $9,000, which is stupid expensive. The author seemed to spend over an hour talking about the innovations and sustainable practices this company employs. I would argue that they are not strategies that make a massive difference if they produce $9,000 garments. Now the ideas that come from these practices are interesting to think about, but it is not worth lauding over and profiling them for the amount of time that the author did. The book is slightly tone-deaf throughout the book, highlighting sustainable practices employed by the luxury fashion industry, and slightly turning up her nose at the only slightly-affordable brand for consumers, The Reformation. This book does not contain much advice beyond shop at the luxury retailers she highlighted and if you can't afford to buy from the source, buy at the sale of the sale of the sale, or buy secondhand, or buy secondhand on sale. This is not practical advice. I think it slightly promote elitism that only wealthy consumers can have a choice in how they look, leaving the leftovers for everyone else. She also highlights renting clothing as a viable option and again does not particularly focus on Rent The Runway, a company attainable for the average consumer, but a French rental company that rents Stella McCartney and other couture designers. I would read this book if you have a specific interest in learning about the environmental impact of various manufacturing practices, where the industry is generally, and what types of innovation are happening. This is not a how-to book, nor a book for the average person looking for an interesting read. It's dense and fairly academic.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This should be required reading for every single person that buys clothing and thinks of shopping as a fun, harmless activity. It is not! And our choices are killing the planet and even many of the people who are tasked with making the clothing. What’s the future? Common sense: buy less, rent, reuse, repair, buy secondhand. An enlightening and tremendously reported read that I won’t soon forget.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Krystle Meyer

    #nonfictionnovember2019 - Design Prompt I liked reading portions of this book....but not most of it -hence the rating. The subtitle is "the price of fast fashion and the future of clothes," but 80% of this book is about "the future of clothes" and only 20% is about "the price of fast fashion." The majority of this story reads like vignettes - there's a chapter about natural indigo, a chapter about new technologies in denim distressing, etc. - and although the vignettes somewhat weave together, I #nonfictionnovember2019 - Design Prompt I liked reading portions of this book....but not most of it -hence the rating. The subtitle is "the price of fast fashion and the future of clothes," but 80% of this book is about "the future of clothes" and only 20% is about "the price of fast fashion." The majority of this story reads like vignettes - there's a chapter about natural indigo, a chapter about new technologies in denim distressing, etc. - and although the vignettes somewhat weave together, I found they aren't very in depth. I had high expectations for this book, because I absolutely loved Dana Thomas's book "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster." This book is clearly well-researched, but still somehow managed to lack the depth or "point" of "Deluxe." If you're really into learning about the nitty gritty technology about how jeans are being made to be more sustainable, you should read this. Otherwise - pass.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a must read for anyone interested in the business of fashion, as well as environmentalists. Lots information, can be a little dry at times, but it is eye-opening and also hopeful about the future. Dana Thomas does a good job of explaining everything that goes into our clothes, and it is not all negative as I expected, but states the facts with some background, present day and what the future holds and who is leading the way. Like anything worthwhile, it is a marathon not a sprint.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Halley

    Dis you know 82% of the clothes made this year will end up being destroyed or dumped in a landfill?!? What an eye-opener about where my clothes actually come from, and how they make it into my hands. I honestly don't think I'll ever see a mall the same again after this book, and I'm more dedicated than ever to Poshmark/consignment shopping to reduce the impact what I wear has on the environment.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Spiller

    "Fashionopolis" is a continuation of a subject covered in Thomas' earlier book "Deluxe," which examined the decline in quality of luxury brand products as they evolved from small to global scale. "Fashionopolis" explores the ways in which clothing has become increasingly disposable, and the human and environmental cost of the increasing global demand for "fast fashion". Having set out the effects of our fashion bulimia of binging and purging, Thomas then describes various innovations that can "Fashionopolis" is a continuation of a subject covered in Thomas' earlier book "Deluxe," which examined the decline in quality of luxury brand products as they evolved from small to global scale. "Fashionopolis" explores the ways in which clothing has become increasingly disposable, and the human and environmental cost of the increasing global demand for "fast fashion". Having set out the effects of our fashion bulimia of binging and purging, Thomas then describes various innovations that can make clothing production more environmentally friendly, humane to workers, while at the same time being financially remunerative. Fashionopolis' major flaw is that Thomas does not critically consider whether the "slow fashion" trends she describes will be accessible to any beyond sophisticated and wealthier punters. It's one thing to lionize the environmentally friendly means of producing selvedge jeans, but is a family of modest means going to spring for $200 jeans for their kids? Is someone working two jobs going to spend time looking on boutique online resale shops to buy gently used couture that would otherwise be unaffordable? This is a minor quibble with an otherwise thought-provoking book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Signe

    A book about fashion is a book I would likely never read. Full disclosure: I skimmed the parts describing everyone's outfit for the day. I am the type of person who buys a good quality, practical sturdy purse and will use it every day for ten or more years. This book is about far more than fashion and will really make me think the next time I consider buying something. Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes is a fascinating history and expose of the fast fashion A book about fashion is a book I would likely never read. Full disclosure: I skimmed the parts describing everyone's outfit for the day. I am the type of person who buys a good quality, practical sturdy purse and will use it every day for ten or more years. This book is about far more than fashion and will really make me think the next time I consider buying something. Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes is a fascinating history and expose of the fast fashion industry. I have often wondered how we can be producing so much garbage in this world and how the heck are we going to deal with that down the road? The thought of how much garbage we produce is overwhelming. I learned quite a few interesting things, like the blue dye used in denim has multiple carcinogens in it. That microfibre and plastic clothes shed a lot of microfibres into the water supply with predictably deadly results. I learned about the sheer tonnage of the crappy clothes shipped around the world. About how cotton is one of the top toxic and wasteful products out there only due to the choices people make in the supply chain. I learned how Levi’s, America’s iconic denim maker, filed Chapter 11 and it was bought up by WL Ross & Co. owned by Wilbur Ross for $46M. He then folded Levi’s into Burlington Industries to form a thing called “International Textile Group” and “Levis” began outsourcing more and more. In the weeks prior to President Trump’s election based on the promise of saving American jobs, Ross sold ITG for $99M. Trump appointed Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary. One year later, ITG laid off the last 208 Levi’s workers and closed down the last premium denim producer in the United States. Their jobs went overseas. I learned more details about the horrid working conditions that nameless, faceless people across the globe suffer, and how their poor working conditions at less than poverty wage never seem to go away, and why they never go away. Surprisingly, it is not all grim. Since I try to buy locally made (sometimes it’s not true, I found out) I was aware that there are small shops producing their own fabrics and clothing where there is no mass production, therefore, much less waste than standard fast fashion companies produce. The will to correct this awful situation created by the fashion industry is going far beyond those few little shops. There may be hope that the industry can be re-created for sustainability. She writes at length of the interesting innovation in the United States, the UK and Europe to create vertical companies that employ local people at sustainable wages using environmentally sound production methods. Organic cotton industry is growing. Cotton recycling is being developed. One lady started growing real indigo again. A company called Stony Creek Colors started producing real indigo for manufacturers. Patagonia, Levis, Wrangler, and LA Lucky had small short runs. Unfortunately, it was extremely small amount and nothing seems to be available at this time. Most of the jeans were for men and the few women’s selections were typically skinny jeans. She discusses the technological innovations taking place, including 3d printing to make clothes. Other things, like using robots to mass produce will likely create more of the same problem of creating waste and pollution. The really bad news embedded in the good environmental news is that technology displaces workers. Some countries rely on the textile industry. Globalization has caused serious moral and ethical quanderies. Some countries have become dependent on industries catering to the wealthier countries, so when things evolve beyond the productions methods of today, the person who has been working to barely eat has no resource to improve their lot. Even if manufacturing returns to the States, it will never employ the numbers of people it has in the past. Some have long thought that technology will require us to subsidize people who don’t have jobs. There will simply be too many people for the amount of jobs available. The other bad news the author does not address is that as long wealth becomes increasingly stratified, a majority of people will live on stagnant wages and low minimum wage jobs or no job, most people will not have the luxury of buying environmentally friendly, morally and ethically sound clothing unless they buy used clothing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Murat Aydogdu

    I really enjoyed reading Thomas' most recent work, Fashionopolis. It was an eye opener for me. I am hugely into fashion and I thought I knew quite a bit about the business side of things. But still, I was surprised to read about the size and reach of this industry. The book is focussed on womenswear but really, it is relevant to anyone. There's quite a bit about fast fashion and its (negative) impact on the world, the history of workers' explotation in the industry since its inception, and I really enjoyed reading Thomas' most recent work, Fashionopolis. It was an eye opener for me. I am hugely into fashion and I thought I knew quite a bit about the business side of things. But still, I was surprised to read about the size and reach of this industry. The book is focussed on womenswear but really, it is relevant to anyone. There's quite a bit about fast fashion and its (negative) impact on the world, the history of workers' explotation in the industry since its inception, and fashion's environmental damage. But there's also hope. Thomas surveys people and companies who are doing it right, including Stella McCartney. She also points out ways out of aggressive consumption. (Hey, don't judge me, man!) Highly recommended

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

    So she does a great job with research and facts about the fashion industry and how we have gotten to a point of so much waste. Very interesting! Definitely a book about environment and how fashion is impacting it. That being said as a consumer with a large family I could never fully agree with her solutions. She is a woman who can afford designers and expensive reusable clothing solutions. But for me as an average American i will continue to stick with our own solutions. A good read. Not great. So she does a great job with research and facts about the fashion industry and how we have gotten to a point of so much waste. Very interesting! Definitely a book about environment and how fashion is impacting it. That being said as a consumer with a large family I could never fully agree with her solutions. She is a woman who can afford designers and expensive reusable clothing solutions. But for me as an average American i will continue to stick with our own solutions. A good read. Not great. Can’t say I’d highly recommend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    A must read for anyone interested, or certainly working in fashion. Factual, well researched, interesting and informative the book is surprisingly optimistic and full of good news about technological breakthroughs and inventive and courageous individuals battling to make fashion more sustainable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    Excellent reporting, useless "advice" This makes me want to reread Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. I didn't love it at the time, but I remember Cline sharing practical advice and tips for more sustainable clothing for those of us who can't afford to drop $128 on a (organic cotton, handmade in the United States...) t-shirt or might actually like to own their clothes (and wear them out). Thomas' research and quality of interviews is excellent, but her parting words Excellent reporting, useless "advice" This makes me want to reread Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. I didn't love it at the time, but I remember Cline sharing practical advice and tips for more sustainable clothing for those of us who can't afford to drop $128 on a (organic cotton, handmade in the United States...) t-shirt or might actually like to own their clothes (and wear them out). Thomas' research and quality of interviews is excellent, but her parting words are...just rent clothes? Or spend $128 on a t-shirt. Or figure out where to buy U.S-grown indigo-dyed jeans. Or wait for the as-yet not commercially available lab-grown "leather" belt. Or a $1,000 Stella McCartney blazer. (Or less if bought used...which I suppose is the point? But still. How many of us can afford to buy a $500 pre-owned blazer?) Thomas thinks nothing of dropping $1,000 on a dress ("just pay in two installments!" and it's suddenly more affordable). I would have appreciated this book much more if there had been even the smallest nod to the average person who cares about sustainability but can't afford Thomas' suggestions. And if the only solutions are prohibitively expensive, that could have merited a much larger discussion. At the very least, I'm now hyper-aware of my clothing purchases and consumption--and what exactly goes into bringing cheap garments to market. My goal for 2020 is to find a (used) sewing machine and experiment with making my own clothes. (I'm not sure what the impact of making fabric is, and I hope that it's less than ready-made clothes...) h/t: Anne Helen Petersen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    The fashion industry is wasteful. The moment high fashion runway models leave the stage, the new season series is immediately copied and knock-offs are reverse engineered to be sold in them High Street shops. Marginal cost theory makes companies churn out way too many clothes. They are then discounted a few times and eventually end up in landfill or incinerator. These are often made in sweat shops in developing countries in dangerous and uncomfortable environment. The production requires lots of The fashion industry is wasteful. The moment high fashion runway models leave the stage, the new season series is immediately copied and knock-offs are reverse engineered to be sold in them High Street shops. Marginal cost theory makes companies churn out way too many clothes. They are then discounted a few times and eventually end up in landfill or incinerator. These are often made in sweat shops in developing countries in dangerous and uncomfortable environment. The production requires lots of water, industrial dyes and also generate lots of poisonous waste. The clothes are of such low qualities, they are worn only once and then thrown away. This has to stop. How? 1. Best way: think circular. Recycle and rent clothes. 2. Grow indigo and not benzene-based dye. 3. Use technology: rather than manually wash jeans to get the worn look, use laser and machines that is cheaper and much friendlier to the environment. 4. Make to order with online orders to reduce waste; or 3D print. So no more inventory. All these solutions are now available and entrepreneurs are busy building new companies to do these. Hopefully the big High Street fashion companies will eventually listen. I am so Glad I have worn my denim jeans for more than 10 years! Unfortunately work shirts and trousers just don’t last that Long!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary A

    This was a good book very insightful. It makes one rethink before buy clothes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    Fashionopolis... a breath of fresh air, revealing fast fashion's history, present, and future. Facts after facts! This book shows human and environmental impacts along with economical losses associated with outsourcing clothing manufacturing to foreign countries in sweatshop condition. Author touches on the movement for more sustainable fashion with less harmful materials, using renting websites in lieu of purchasing new, and repurposing exhausted garments into raw material.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Eye-opening, interesting, depressing, and a bit hopeful. I was hoping for a bit more for how the middle class consumer could encourage better clothing choices, but I have many companies I was introduced to, to do some more research on. But this book definitely made me now double think about my clothing purchases.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    3.75 Stars. I think this book addresses an important issue. I was hoping for more suggestions that individuals could use to effect change, personally and globally. About 2/3 of the way through the book, it started to become a slog. A little more editing would have helped.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Myles

    The next time my daughter complains about her university-level chemistry course I’m going to urge her to stick with it. It seems there are tremendous employment opportunities for young chemists and biologists to figure out ways to undo the mess that the synthetics industry have created over the past 60 years. Today the fashion industry sells 80 billion apparel items every year, and if the global population swells to 8.5 billion by 2030, we will buy 63% more fashion, or about 102 million tons of The next time my daughter complains about her university-level chemistry course I’m going to urge her to stick with it. It seems there are tremendous employment opportunities for young chemists and biologists to figure out ways to undo the mess that the synthetics industry have created over the past 60 years. Today the fashion industry sells 80 billion apparel items every year, and if the global population swells to 8.5 billion by 2030, we will buy 63% more fashion, or about 102 million tons of the stuff. About 20% of that stuff never even gets sold. Much of it ends up in landfill. And we all now know what happens to the microfibres it generates: they get into everything including the fish we eat, even into the waters of Antarctica. Then there is the environmental impact of all those dyes and their associated deadly chemicals that get into the rivers and lakes, and the pressure of production on our poorest citizens. Fortunately, as Dana Thomas points out, there are entrepreneurs and industry leaders investing in methods and technologies to lead us away from our worst instincts; the instinct to buy, buy.buy without due regard for the consequences. A sidebar to this conversation is the one I regularly have with whoever will listen: eCommerce has stimulated an orgy of courier shipments, and in the fashion industry, as many as 75% of their customers will send back ill-fitting or used online purchases. That will result in another courier pickup and delivery. When you factor in that many of these purchases will stimulate at least four courier trips, the trips to the customer may mean single package trips, you are adding immeasurably to the pollution in our cities and the costs of maintaining our roads. The returns in my business are about 3.5%, far lower than industry averages, and another reason why shopping in local stores not only is good for local employment, but good for the environment as well. In theory the mass retailers are more efficient than the neighbourhood store. But if people have little idea what their buying those efficiencies go out the window.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    I work in apparel design for a midsize retailer based in the US that manufactures overseas, and sustainability has been a pet cause of mine for over a decade. Because of this, I wasn’t sure how much would be new info for me, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was for me to learn in this book. There’s a lot of exciting developments happening, and I left feeling more optimistic about the state of the industry than I expected. My co-workers and I talk about the problems inherent in I work in apparel design for a midsize retailer based in the US that manufactures overseas, and sustainability has been a pet cause of mine for over a decade. Because of this, I wasn’t sure how much would be new info for me, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was for me to learn in this book. There’s a lot of exciting developments happening, and I left feeling more optimistic about the state of the industry than I expected. My co-workers and I talk about the problems inherent in fashion every day, and it’s great reading about the technological advancements happening. Many of the most exciting chemical and robotic shifts aren’t happening at a scale able state yet, which means we don’t know much about them. My one frustration with this book: it is very much written by a fashion media insider. Because of this, I felt like Thomas lionized many luxury brands and ethos. Her writing tended toward fetishizing the people she believes are changing the industry/granting her interviews. Every introduction of a new player included a flattering physical description— not just of their clothes, but their actual features. I found this really icky and distracting. This is a pretty good combo of persuasive writing on why we should rethink our buying and manufacturing habits, coupled with an update on new tech for both. If you are looking for a simple primer on shopping more sustainably instead, simple advice: the most sustainable items are the ones you already own. Re-wear, repair, wash less, buy less.

  24. 4 out of 5

    lemonsmol

    3.5/5 Summary: Interesting if you want to learn about bleeding edge technologies being introduced to the fashion industry. If you are looking for a book to explain why fast fashion is wasteful, the first few chapters will tell you why but will not offer practical solutions for the individual. Overall, would recommend if you have interest in the topic but would not be good for educating anyone who is reluctant to acknowledge these issues. Positives: Good book with very important information in it. 3.5/5 Summary: Interesting if you want to learn about bleeding edge technologies being introduced to the fashion industry. If you are looking for a book to explain why fast fashion is wasteful, the first few chapters will tell you why but will not offer practical solutions for the individual. Overall, would recommend if you have interest in the topic but would not be good for educating anyone who is reluctant to acknowledge these issues. Positives: Good book with very important information in it. Highlights issues with the fashion industry and describes technological and corporate advances in textiles and the fashion industry. I appreciate that it focuses on how the industry needs to change instead of shifting all burden to the consumer. Negative: I found the writing style very weird and hard to get through. Especially towards the end when I felt like I was reading page after page of "meet A, a glamourous 30 something who is making new textiles out of recycled bottles" with only loose ties between information. I just wasn't sure what the thesis was in later chapters, was this book supposed to be a technology summary or an FYI about how rubbish fashion is or some sort of book of advice? I do not feel like this book will age well based on its focus on current technology trends in fashion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jaki

    I really enjoyed this book, but I think it’s important to go into it with the right expectations about what it is and what it is not. Unfortunately I don’t think the blurb or marketing fully capture that. IS: - a high-fashion US-centric look at the fashion industry, with brief coverage of history and mass fashion - a hopeful exploration of early technology that may radically shift how we manufacture clothes - anecdotes about various designers and manufacturers and artists trying to do something I really enjoyed this book, but I think it’s important to go into it with the right expectations about what it is and what it is not. Unfortunately I don’t think the blurb or marketing fully capture that. IS: - a high-fashion US-centric look at the fashion industry, with brief coverage of history and mass fashion - a hopeful exploration of early technology that may radically shift how we manufacture clothes - anecdotes about various designers and manufacturers and artists trying to do something different in alignment with their values (again mostly high fashion and/or made-in-USA/UK) IS NOT: - particularly socially conscious, though it does explore some aspects - particularly environmentally conscious, though it does explore some aspects - a how-to guide or practical tips for changing your own clothing habits (if you’re willing and able to pursue high-fashion luxury brands then maybe but that’s not really the purpose of this book) - representative of the entire fashion industry or in any other way THE definitive book on the topics it covers Ebook from my local public library

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Day

    Kind of a sobering read. I find the history and present day story of retail so interesting, but it is also depressing in a lot of ways. However, it does help me be more mindful about my and my family's consumption habits. A lot of the problems are not easily solved solely by individuals, though every little bit helps. It is difficult to read about how bad fast fashion is, when a lot of people can't afford high end, sustainable and ethically made items. I wouldn't want to put a burden or guilt on Kind of a sobering read. I find the history and present day story of retail so interesting, but it is also depressing in a lot of ways. However, it does help me be more mindful about my and my family's consumption habits. A lot of the problems are not easily solved solely by individuals, though every little bit helps. It is difficult to read about how bad fast fashion is, when a lot of people can't afford high end, sustainable and ethically made items. I wouldn't want to put a burden or guilt on someone who has to get their clothes from a fast fashion store. I get around it by buying most things secondhand, but that is only one option. Another one I'm trying is to reduce my consumption overall, which can take a lot of motivation and discipline I haven't quite mastered yet. A lot of the solution depends on changes to the system and policy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Behrak

    I can't think of anything positive to say about this, though in all honesty I couldn't get past chapter 5. - superficial in its analysis (when there is an analysis) - full of mundane details which cannot be interesting to 99% of readers (do we care that garment city is moving out of manhattan to brooklyn?... really?) - terrible writing (and/or editing, cannot figure out which... ). first time in ages, that I have to reread some sentences 5 times to understand what is being said - absolutely no I can't think of anything positive to say about this, though in all honesty I couldn't get past chapter 5. - superficial in its analysis (when there is an analysis) - full of mundane details which cannot be interesting to 99% of readers (do we care that garment city is moving out of manhattan to brooklyn?... really?) - terrible writing (and/or editing, cannot figure out which... ). first time in ages, that I have to reread some sentences 5 times to understand what is being said - absolutely no structure whatsoever, basically a collage of anecdotes (and/or some not so subtle plugging of small mom-and-pop apparel brands) just terrible across the board, only saving grace is that it is short and terrible from the very beginning so one can quickly ditch it and not waste too much precious time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    If you read one book in 2020, make it this one! Certain books become milestones - life before and life after; one of mine is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” which really changed my life and awareness when I read it about ten years ago. “Fashionopolis” will be another one. Ms. Thomas’ new book will change how you shop, how you think of brands, how you consider your own environmental footprint by considering what is in your closet. Most frighteningly, you will never shop for jeans in the same way, and I If you read one book in 2020, make it this one! Certain books become milestones - life before and life after; one of mine is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” which really changed my life and awareness when I read it about ten years ago. “Fashionopolis” will be another one. Ms. Thomas’ new book will change how you shop, how you think of brands, how you consider your own environmental footprint by considering what is in your closet. Most frighteningly, you will never shop for jeans in the same way, and I say that as someone who wears denim almost every day. Despite the terrifying facts presented there is still a lot of hope; technology and slow fashion are merging to create more sustainable, economically-viable, and innovative verticals, and it’s truly inspiring. Cannot recommend this enough...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hayley James

    Lots of really good info but not what I was expecting. Went really deep into who the big players in fashion are, the history of fashion, exactly how to make a certain garment and the technologies that are coming out regarding fashion which for me was a bit of a slog to get through. I wanted quick facts and what can we do to help, personally I don’t really care too much about specific people’s businesses that I don’t know about. For someone who is studying fashion, or is into more than just Lots of really good info but not what I was expecting. Went really deep into who the big players in fashion are, the history of fashion, exactly how to make a certain garment and the technologies that are coming out regarding fashion which for me was a bit of a slog to get through. I wanted quick facts and what can we do to help, personally I don’t really care too much about specific people’s businesses that I don’t know about. For someone who is studying fashion, or is into more than just wearing fashion it will definitely be for them. I just found it slightly hard to get through and a bit much personally, but definitely well written, informative and eye opening!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ben Yosua-davis

    If you read this book, you won't shop for clothes the same way ever again. She clearly lays out the human and ecological costs in the first part of the book; but then, before swerving permanently into doomsday territory, spends the latter (if slightly less thematically coherent) half of the book, exploring hopeful developments that leave the reader feeling like making better choices is indeed possible.

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