Eco-Chic: The Fashion Paradox

Author: Sandy Black
Pub: Black Dog Publishing
Price: £24.95


Eco Chic: The Fashion Paradox by Sandy Black

Some of us in the Resource office face a dilemma when it comes to fashion – we love having new clothes and looking fashionable, but don’t want them to cost the earth or a textile worker’s dignity or health. Personally, I get most of my clothes at charity shops and have never set foot in a Primark, but there are still some items in my wardrobe that make my environmentally- and socially-aware side blush in embarrassment.

And, judging from this book, I am not alone. The title says it all – Eco-Chic: The Fashion Paradox. The world of fashion is indeed full of contradictions, not least of which is the reality that the Western world’s overconsumption of clothing fuels an industry which puts undue pressure on the environment and yet provides millions of people – one in six of the world’s population – with their livelihood.

Still, it’s clear that the rise of fast fashion must slow, but also that it’s still growing; shockingly, we consume a third more clothing now than we did just four years ago!

Black claims that ‘eco fashion must aspire to be the norm’ and describes 13 approaches through which it can do so, including: life cycle thinking; upcycling; using mono materials (to facilitate recycling); and designing for delight (‘creating a new and sustainable feel-good relationship with clothes to be valued’).

As you’d expect, this is an attractive book replete with many a stylish picture. I’ve no doubt the content would be of great use to a designer looking to embrace sustainability, but many of the approaches Black describes really require consumers to get on board and change their behaviour. And something tells me that your typical demander of fast fashion, your average Primark addict will never get their hands on this book or get to grips with the admirable ideas it so carefully explains.