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Fashion But Sustainable

Global Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion is a must-read for anyone interested in individual and collective efforts to improve the sustainability of the global fashion industry. Edited by Alison Gwilt, Alice Payne, and Evelise Anicet Ruthschilling, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the environmental and ethical problems linked to fashion, looking at the issue both on a global scale and at the local level. The eighteen essays that make up the book present environmental, ethical social and economic perspectives on the fashion industry from six different regions (Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa/Middle East). 

Evelise Anicet Ruthschilling, Anne Anicet, and Cariane Weydman Camego write about Brazil - a country known to be a world leader in several segments of the fashion industry. It is an industry that feeds economic growth in Brazil and generates huge amounts of profit - yet is also putting a great deal of pressure on Brazil's environmental stability. In response to environmental concerns, an attitude shift is taking place at the consumer level, as Brazilians have begun to buy into durability and ethical values; slow fashion is a buzz word at the moment.

Meanwhile, as Gloria Wong and Benny Ding Leong explain, fashion is causing rampant environmental pollution in Hong Kong and China. Despite high levels of water pollution, water scarcity and poor working conditions among garment workers, there seems to be a lack of awareness among consumers that fast fashion is linked to these environmental and human problems. However, shifts in consumer thinking in the West may influence trends in China and lead to an increase in awareness.

Another location covered by Global Perspectives is Portugal, which Ana Cristina Broega's essay presents as an example of a country where social sustainability projects can significantly improve awareness of sustainability practices. She mentions the "Vintage for a Cause" initiative, which brings women over fifty together to transform old clothes into desirable garments, whilst promoting interaction and companionship.

Whether you are a researcher, student, activist, or simply interested in sustainable fashion, Global Perspectives is a wonderful resource to have on the bookshelf. Published by Bloomsbury.

Review by Jessica Edney

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