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Wardrobe Crisis, How We Went From Sunday Best To Fast Fashion

Book Review

In Wardrobe Crisis, fashion journalist Clare Press explores the history and ethics behind what we wear.

Last year, I volunteered at a Dress for Success warehouse sale. As I stood in the sizeable warehouse, I was thrilled at the retail prospectives. Good brands, great brands, amazing brands at exceptional prices. I wore my new pieces and received compliments on them but as the weeks went on, questions simmered away and one in particular: how did we become so enamoured with fashion and consumerism?

I asked Eric Phu from Citizen Wolf, who directed me to Clare Press’ book. Clare comes from within the fashion industry and imparts her experiences and knowledge of fast fashion and its huge impact on the environment and on people. Clare brings together fashion’s metamorphosis over the last 100 years without being heavy handed or an overwhelming data dump. The book doesn’t tell you what you must or should do but draws out a sketch of fashion filled with just the right amount of colour and darkness. There are facts about Chanel, Rana Plaza, Calvin Klein, water usage, the history of silk and mulesing. The best part about Wardrobe Crisis are interviews with designers from all sorts of backgrounds, as they bring to light the depth and complexity of the fashion industry. I highly recommend the book to anyone staring at their wardrobe and thinking “Why did I buy this?

I highly recommend the book to anyone staring at their wardrobe and thinking “Why did I buy this?

Wardrobe Crisis

This book isn’t about you being a bad person – it’s about you understanding what your retail choices mean. Since my experience with Dress for Success and reading Wardrobe Crisis, I have made the choice to extend my shopping experiences to include second-hand items. I’ve repurposed old sari’s into new outfits and shawls into jackets (follow me @darshana_is_dash to see more). Being sustainable isn’t about a grand gesture, statement or living a life of austerity so severe it borders on being cultish. It’s about small consistencies. Walking to the local shops. Having two vegetarian days in the week. Repurposing an old jacket. I’ve decided fashion is mine. What’s yours?

Wardrobe Crisis, How We Went From Sunday Best To Fast Fashion is published by Nero (RRP $36.99).

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