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

Dana Thomas. Penguin Press, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-07-3-5224-018
In this informative volume, fashion journalist Thomas convincingly lays out multiple arguments against fast fashion (low-cost, mass-produced clothing) and the cycle of rapidly manufacturing, purchasing, and discarding clothes that is sweeping the globe. Thomas points out that American “shoppers snap up five times more clothing now than they did in 1980,” that fast fashion also preys on consumers’ insecurities, that synthetic dyes and fertilizers have harmful effects on the environment, that southern mill towns emptied when clothing manufacturers sent those jobs overseas, and that outsourcing grievously exploits laborers (as evinced by the devastating collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, where many U.S. companies subcontracted work, which killed more than 1,000 garment workers). In the latter part of the book, Thomas delves into efforts to mitigate these effects through “slow fashion,” such as Levi’s using domestically produced organic indigo for some of its denim, and small, socially conscious companies bringing their manufacturing operations back to the U.S. Thomas interviews individuals such as Natalie Chanin, who grew up in Florence, Ala., “the Cotton T-shirt Capital of the World,” and, upon returning home, has reimagined how clothing can be produced locally in a manner that exploits neither its employees nor the environment. Thoroughly reported and persuasively written, Thomas’s clarion call for more responsible practices in fashion will speak to both industry professionals and socially conscious consumers. (Sept.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review listed an incorrect name for Natalie Chanin.

Reviewed on : 05/13/2019
Release date: 09/03/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7352-2403-2
Ebook - 978-0-7352-2402-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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