As much as I appreciate films, podcasts, posts and social media feeds, none of them have actually changed my life as consistently or dramatically as books have.
There is a depth of research study and singularity of focus possible in between the covers of a book that is difficult to attain in a Twitter thread. So possibly it’s not a surprise that I can still point to the novels that shaped my imaginative landscape, the poetry that sustained me through low points and the nonfiction that permanently shifted my worldview, even if I forget about half the tabs I save in my web internet browser.
Surprisingly, a few of the books that have most directly impacted how I report here at Fashionista aren’t in fact about style at all. In 2015, for example, Anand Giridharadas’s book “ Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World” challenged my vision of how social excellent is achieved, and shifted how I compose about the role brand names can and can’t play ahead of time sustainability And “ The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace Wells, which was my pre-show reading during NYFW a couple seasons earlier, altered the seriousness of language I utilized when blogging about environment breakdown.
I had an inkling that a lot of other sustainability– minded style folks may have had comparable experiences, so I chose to ask a variety of industry professionals– stylists, designs, designers, PR individuals, influencers, activists and more– what books have actually been game-changing for them. Their responses were extensively different (although “ Braiding Sweetgrass” emerged as a clear favorite for lots of) and got me delighted all over again about the possibility of discovering to much better live in harmony with our world.
Whether you’re looking for instructional reporting, encouraging poetry, spiritual guidance or a method to introduce a kid in your life to the concept of ethical style, there’s something ahead for you. (When it comes to me, I’ll be over here working my way through Wendell Berry’s “ The World-Ending Fire” and wanting to find individuals to discuss “ The Overstory” with.) Here’s hoping this list assists you find your next sustainability deep dive– delighted reading!
Aditi Mayer, sustainable fashion blog writer
” My rec is ‘ Earth Democracy‘ by Vandana Shiva. Shiva is an activist and environmentalist, called among the leading critics of traditional agriculture and biotechnology, particularly the impact of GMOs on India’s farmers. ‘Earth Democracy’ interrogates the governing values in our democracy. Shiva checks out four types of insecurities– environmental, financial, cultural and political– and how each results in violence.”
Alec Leach, expert and founder of Future Dust
” To me, it is essential to actually look at the ‘why’ behind our shopping habits, not just the ‘how’– the mental impulses and advises are frequently overlooked of the conversation. ‘ The Dharma of Style: A Buddhist Method to Our Life and Clothes‘ is a series of conversations between Parsons professor Otto Von Busch and Josh Korda, a Buddhist instructor. Together they analyze consumerism through the lens of Buddhism. Why do we love clothes? The Buddha would say we’re simply sidetracking ourselves from the impermanence, suffering and loss that are an inevitable part of life.”
Ayesha Barenblat, creator and CEO of Remake
” I would suggest ‘ A Harvest of Thorns‘ by Corban Addison. Addison is a lawyer-turned-fiction writer who writes about the most pressing human rights abuses of our time. This book is an imaginary reimagining of the awful Tazreen factory fire and what would have happened if workers had their day in court. The book’s dedication chokes me up each time: ‘For the woman of Tazreen, whose stories will never ever leave me. On behalf of an absent-minded world, let me state I am sorry.’ I love this book due to the fact that I’ve personally worked against much of the abuses he covers from Bangladesh to Jordan to Malaysia, however as a work of fiction these complicated human rights issues feel truly friendly.”
Benita Robledo, ethical style supporter and content developer
” My choice is ‘ The One Straw Revolution‘ by Masanoubu Fukuoka. It was written as an intro to organic farming, but it really proposes an entire new philosophy of life. It challenges the design of constant growth (both in farm production yields and in our own lives), and instead asks us to stop and consider why we’re trying to have constant development in the first location and at what expense. Fukuoka challenges the notion that technology will conserve us, asks us to discover to do less and in doing so create much better crops and more fulfilling lives. This book gave me the self-confidence to step away from a work schedule that was burning me out and find a method to move through the world with greater ease and purpose.”
Cameron Russell, model
” I ‘d advise reading Audre Lorde’s ‘ Usings the Erotic: The Sensual as Power‘ due to the fact that it is among the very best reviews of capitalism I’ve ever read, and I believe [it] is a great guide for where we can go, and how we arrive.”
Céline Semaan, founder of Slow Factory
” What Naomi Klein exposes in her book ‘ No Logo‘ is the very systems that perpetuate oppression and exploitation justified by marketing or branding worths. It’s the principle of a ‘hollow company’– one that isn’t vertically incorporated, but operates as a distributed system where accountability isn’t easily traceable in a complex web of middlemen. Where branding and the message is king, the logo design becomes the supreme symbol of connection between the public and the business.”
Dominique Drakeford, primary curator at Melaninass and co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn
” I truly enjoy ‘ Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Outdoors‘ by Carolyn Finney. It’s one of the most important educational pieces that challenges mainstream environmentalism and is a foundational blueprint for dismantling the whitewashing of sustainability. She does a stellar job of showing how Black people historically have actually been stewards of the land however likewise the complexities of that relationship due to an American cumulative identity of racism and controlled power relations.”
George MacPherson, communications consultant
” David Wallace-Wells’s book ‘ The Uninhabitable Earth‘ is furiously articulate, data-driven and yet poetic at the exact same time when discussing climate science. I read this book in early 2019, just when it was clear to me that I had a responsibility to understand more than I did, and perhaps understand more than I wished to. DWW’s writing has a sense of determined drama in cooly setting out truths with a building urgency that is meant to provoke action in the reader.”
Jasmin Malik Chua, style reporter
“‘ Where Did My Clothes Come From‘ by Christine Butterworth. What’s not to love about this book, from the darling illustrations to the remarkably comprehensive description of garment manufacturing? It’s never too early to learn that clothing don’t simply emerge from a device whole fabric, and about the complex social, farming and ecological systems that power our closets. I probably enjoyed this more than my kid, who cannily (and precisely) thought that I was trying to impart a capital-l Lesson.”
Kestrel Jenkins, host and developer of the Conscious Chatter podcast
” I could not think of a more poignant book to be checking out today than ‘ Braiding Sweetgrass‘ by Robin Wall Kimmerer. There’s a quote I’ve been coming back to throughout these extreme times– ‘we make a severe mistake if we try to separate specific wellness from the health of the whole.’ ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ is an effective ode to native wisdom, advising us how important it is to be linked to plants, and to be open up to listening and gaining from them. I enjoy how the author fuses oral histories with clinical information, shows how the dominant food system is naturally colonial and prompts us to rebuild reciprocal relationships with nature.”
Kim Cam Jones, developer of the Fore
” In ‘ Quiet Spring,’ Rachel Carson handled the chemical market and informs of the damage of the delicate balance of nature triggered by using DDT (considering that banned in the USA). She details the result of a single application and the causal sequence that has on animals, human beings and our natural world. ‘ The Sixth Extinction‘ by Elizabeth Kolbert concludes that human behavior is on the verge of causing the sixth mass catastrophic extinction. It is a research study on the relationship between human and environment and how the history of life is stressed by periods of catastrophic change. Elizabeth Kolbert details what we can do to fix it.”
Korina Emmerich, designer and founder of Emme
” Among the books that mainly formed my views on our present sociopolitical situation is ‘ World War Z‘ The book explores this sham hierarchy we’ve created within society from a capitalist lens … We’re propping up the ‘living dead’ like oil companies who now can’t even earn enough to stay in service. What does this relate to fashion and sustainability? We are facing a worldwide slowdown. The customer suitable that items need to show up with near immediacy is changing. We need to restore our systems and recognize that we are not the supreme being of this land. It resonates with me, recognizing that my own traditional skills as an Indigenous female from Coast Salish Territory ought to never be forgotten or eliminated … my survival skills will never be deemed frivolous [in a crisis], whether it’s a zombie apocalypse or overall capitalistic or financial collapse.”
Laura Jones, star stylist and creator of the Frontlash
” In ‘ We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness,’ Alice Walker advises us that developing modification needs perseverance, compassion and hope. She reiterates to us that we are of the natural world, not above or beyond it. I refer back to the poems in this book when I feel overwhelmed by anguish or like modification will never come. And ‘ Hope in the Dark‘ by Rebecca Solnit covers subjects like war, politics and ecological destruction, weaving together an image of how the injustices in our world are interconnected and systemic. Her writing is graceful, filled with hope and a satisfaction to check out. I read this book in one sitting and review it typically.”
Matt Stockamp, sustainability lead at Nisolo
” My recommendations are less academic, and more about individual experiences with nature and how it shapes us: One, ‘ Paddling My Own Canoe by Audrey Sutherland, who writes “Go simple, go solo, go now.” We are at our best when we have an excellent relationship with nature. This is a book that motivates you to get out into the wilderness and explore your curiosities. And two, ‘ Upstream: Selected Essays‘ by Mary Oliver. We can discover a lot from the rhythms of nature. This book will assist you get familiarized with those rhythms.”
Mara Hoffman, designer and founder of Mara Hoffman
“‘ Grist for the Mill‘ by Ram Dass isn’t particularly about environment change or fashion but it covers EVERYTHING and the oneness of this experience. I believe it’s important to approach these topics from the spiritual mindset in order to connect the dots. Sorrow and pain are catalysts for fantastic change and Ram Dass is one of the skillful and really ‘human’ teachers of our time who sets out the practice of REMAINING IN order to recover from the within out.”
Maxine Bédat, creator of the New Standards Institute
” Barbara Ehrenreich, author of ‘ Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Managing in America’ is the OG on a great deal of labor issues that are now pertaining to the surface area. ‘ Empire of Cotton: A Worldwide History‘ by Sven Beckert strongly unpacks how clothes drove the global slave trade and our modern economic system. Adam Minter’s brand-new book ‘ Secondhand: Journeys in the New Global Garage Sale‘ is an enjoyable checked out following where things go when we no longer desire them. And we need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the sustainability identifies that we connect a lot significance to, which ‘ Organic, Inc: Natural Foods and How They Grew‘ by Samuel Fromartz digs into.”
Rachael Wang, stylist and specialist
“‘ Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver‘ Some days I feel overloaded and anxious and poetry is the only sort of reading I can metabolize. Mary Oliver dedicated her life to worshipping the natural world and her work exposes the elusive yet permeating effect nature has on our individual well-being. Oliver’s poems fill me with reverence for what valuable natural deposits we have left and the inevitability of our demise, both emotional and physical, should we fail to maintain its well balanced abundance.”
Whitney R. McGuire, co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn
” I’m presently checking out ‘ Sister Outsider‘ by Audre Lorde. I think it’s crucial to check out the political commentary and narratives of the descendants of enslaved Africans, particularly women-identifying Black individuals. Because these point of views not just articulate and analyze, with excellent depth, the absurdity of white supremacist capitalism and its results, but ingrained in these viewpoints are structures for sustainable (read: regenerative and equitable) development. Embedded in the essays I’ve checked out up until now is this style of care as the antidote to violence … Sustainability requires the utmost care, and the growth of our capability to extend care. ‘Sibling Outsider’ is a fantastic foundational text for any approach based on sustainability.”