Book To Read Now: A Harvest of Thorns

Corban Addison, known for addressing human rights issues through his three best selling novels, has created a masterpiece with his newest work that shines a spotlight on the current state of the fashion industry and what your purchases really mean. A Harvest Of Thorns was written with the hope of raising questions, about supply chains, corporate responsibility and the need for all stakeholders to take proactive measures in order for change to occur, and it does exactly that. 

Presto is the much loved American corporation which this fiction novel revolves around. A main stay in the countries department store landscape for over 50 years, Presto was built with the goal of offering consumers access to quality goods at an affordable price. But, when a devastating factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh claims the lives of hundreds of workers and sees a photo from the aftermath go viral, it's the beginning of what could be Presto's demise. Inspired by a real event and written based on information gathered from various industry insiders and experts, the events that unfold go well beyond the factory fire and traverse multiple countries. Touching on the complexity of the fashion industry and continually coming back to the question of who assumes responsibility, the novel orbits the worlds of two main characters. Cameron Alexander, Presto's general counsel, and Josh Griswold, a former journalist, who provide the perfect balance of perspectives to navigate the storyline.  

"...the companies that would define the future were the enlightened ones who saw business as a means to contribute to society, not just to enrich investors."

This is a gripping novel with a thought provoking ending and lots of twists and turns along the way. A must read for anyone interested in ethical fashion or who purchases clothing, this book captures an issue that touches all of us and as the plot develops it's clear to see how closely this fictional story resembles reality. This was one of those books that I couldn't put down once I picked it up but each time I picked it up I was slightly hesitant because I didn't want the story to end! Get your hands on a copy of this amazing book today and learn more about Corban Addison and his other books.

Podcast To Listen To Now: Conscious Chatter

Image -  Trusted Clothes

Conscious Chatter is a podcast hosted by Kestrel Jenkins of AWEAR World, an audio space "where what we wear matters" and all things fashion, style and sustainability are discussed. Kestrel's journey began 8 years ago, making her a bit of an expert in the slow fashion arena, and her vision for AWEAR World was to create a community of mindful consumers and stylish change makers. Through the Conscious Chatter podcast Kestrel is spreading the word and providing amazing insight into the garment industry while also helping listeners understand how they can contribute to making positive change in the industry. 

I wanted to listen to the episodes in order from the beginning and although I'm only half way through the 50 episodes currently available I couldn't wait to share this with you all! The content and guests on the podcast are so varied, highlighting just how large this industry is and how many layers there are to it. I'm learning about things I didn't even know existed, each episode is an enlightening and informative journey with messages that are sure to stick with you. One quote that really resonated with me is one that both made me giggle but also put into perspective the need for us all to understand this industry and take an active role in changing it for the better:

"Clothing affects 100% of the population and it shows no sign of stopping. I mean, humanity does not look hell bent on becoming nudist in the future, we will always wear clothes!"
- Orsola de Castro, Conscious Chatter S01 Episode 07

I highly recommend listening back through all of the episodes but here's a few of my favourites so far (I'm 20 episodes in!) to help you on your way:

  • S01 Episode 05 | Waste
  • S01 Episode 07 | Fashion Revolution
  • S01 Episode 11 | Supply Chains
  • S01 Episode 17 | Transparency
  • S01 Episode 18 | Mara Hoffman + Mindfulness 

Get this podcast on your playlist now, there's no better time to start tuning in each week as new episodes are released! You can listen to all episodes of Conscious Chatter on iTunes and head over to AWEAR World for all of the latest news and content.

Book To Read Now: Overdressed

Image -  Colette

Image - Colette

An insightful and change inspiring holiday read that will help you on your path to conscious consumption. After a realisation that she owned more clothing than she did anything else but knew the least about it of anything she bought, Elizabeth L. Cline set out on a journey of discovery. Having settled into a routine of purchasing on average one new item every week, just below the national average in America, but with only low quality fads she didn't enjoy wearing to show for it, Elizabeth decided to find out the effects our shopping habits are having on us, our society, our environment and our economic wellbeing.

Her journey unfolds with the fashion industry examined from a number of aspects as she covers topics including the rise of fast fashion, the death of middle market and independent retailers, our obsession with deals, the realities of factories in China and Bangladesh, and the impact our unwanted garments are having on thrift stores and textile recyclers. This book provides a holistic and thought provoking view of where the fashion industry has ended up and highlights the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion.

Overdressed shines a spotlight on the need for us all to take an active role in the fashion industry, understand and appreciate quality and know who made our clothes. Elizabeth takes you on her journey with her in this revealing and thought provoking documentation of the little known truths about our clothes and the industry that produces them. The book concludes with Elizabeth leading by example as she discusses her own experiences, highlights what is necessary going forward and shows how you too can achieve a better wardrobe.

"Repairing our wardrobes, making sure they fit us, and buying the best quality we can for our money are all parts of clothing sustainability." - Elizabeth L. Cline

Overdressed will inspire you to make change, discover your own look and always feel good about what you wear. Get your copy today here

Movie To Watch Now: The True Cost

Andrew Morgan has created an incredible documentary film which elegantly navigates the unfathomably ugly side of the fast fashion industry. Prompted by the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in April 2013, Andrew and his crew, with funding from a Kickstarter campaign, set out on their journey to answer the burning question, where do my clothes come from?

Exploring all aspects of the fashion industry, from the runways right down to the cotton farms, The True Cost gives the most real and insightful account into the people and places behind our clothing. Production of the film was approached with the knowledge that one solution is not the answer but instead a holistic view is needed. In his Kickstarter campaign Andrew states "Real change can only be sustained through the creation of a synergistic approach, one that involves the adaptation of policy, the improvement of industry standards and a shift in consumer consciousness."

The narrative has been crafted perfectly, evoking real emotion and uncovering shocking truths. Human rights and environmental impacts surrounding the fast fashion industry are presented under a spotlight that can't be ignored. And while the movie highlights a terrible situation that we are all a part of it manages to avoid placing blame, instead taking an informative, moving and change inspiring angle.  

This movie was a key motivator in the decision to focus my personal styling skills on encouraging reduced consumption and ensuring more of us are aware of the negative impacts our fast fashion habit is having on the world and it's people. I urge you to watch The True Cost as part of your journey to becoming a conscious consumer and understanding the impacts of your purchase decisions.

To find out how you can watch, visit The True Cost Movie