Fashionopolis is a well-written and researched book that looks at the cost of fast fashion in terms of labor relations, environmental damage, and changing forms of production. It asks, “is the current trend of quick output and rapid turnover in shops like Zara sustainable?” Not surprisingly, the answer is no.
Many are probably well aware of new reports about labor exploitation in the garment industry, but there is also an environmental impact that has been gaining attention. For example, a large amount of water is consumed to grow cotton to produce items such as t-shirts and jeans. Not to mention the vast amounts of pesticides and chemicals needed to grow the crops and process clothing. And what happens when we are tired of wearing these items? Throwing them in a landfill is not the answer since many fabrics are not biodegradable.
The author focuses her attention not just on the history of production but also on how businesses and researchers are seeking new ways to help the industry change to a model of production and use that is better for consumers and the environment. But will customers be satisfied with the idea of buying less but paying more for quality? I'm not so sure but, after reading this, I will be thinking more about the real cost of the garments I'm wearing.
This review was written by me originally for City Book Review.