Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys by Kate Fletcher
Earthscan Publications Ltd., 2008
Most of us consider the growing and harvesting of fibers and the production, printing, and finishing of the cloth in our assessment of whether a fiber is a “green” choice. But too often, oversimplification, myths, and greenwashing by marketers cloud the truth. In Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys, author Kate Fletcher discusses, in technical yet surprisingly readable detail, the environmental impact involved in every step of textile production and consumption process. Best practices for designers and manufacturers are listed throughout.
Fletcher also discusses labor practices, garment production and waste, travel, laundering, and disposal in depth. (Yes, laundering. Did you know that machine washing and drying a garment just once can consume many times more energy and than it took to make it in the first place?) Along the way, Fletcher highlights designers who are using sustainable practices — some familiar (Alabama Chanin, American Apparel) and some experimental (Lauren Montgomery Devenney’s stain dress, which is intended to look better as it acquires stains and smudges.)
This book was published early last year, but I only found out about it this year, and I’m so happy to have it in my library. If you are at all interested in organic fabric and sustainable sewing practices — whether you are a home sewer or in the textile or apparel trades — this book is a must-read.
Further Reading: Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials by Betz White (STC Craft, 2009). See our interview here. Incidentally, Betz just announced a big giveaway of her book and a five-piece sample set of her Indian Summer organic cotton fabrics, which is happening now at Burdastyle.