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Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  518 ratings  ·  98 reviews
An investigation into the damage wrought by the colossal clothing industry and the grassroots, high-tech, international movement fighting to reform it

What should I wear? It's one of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  518 ratings  ·  98 reviews


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Nore
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: actual-books
Fashionopolis is an extremely well-written, comprehensive book; Mrs. Thomas spoke to people from all levels of the manufacturing chain, from workers on the floor of the factories to fashion moguls in LA and NY, giving the reader a comprehensive look at the industry from the initial sketch to the finished product, as well as a brief history of the fashion industry and the rise of fast fashion. Her writing style is clear and engaging, which made this a quick, enjoyable read.

I came away from this
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Jill Meyer
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The other night I went to my son and daughter-in-law's house for a casual Friday night dinner. They have two young daughters and some time before dinner was devoted to the girls trying on clothes and shoes their mother had ordered on line - giving their measurements and shoe sizes - and deciding what they were going to keep and what would go back. This modern day Wells Fargo Wagon delivery system is only one of the ways that clothes for all ages get made and distributed these days. In her book, ...more
Diana
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
The biggest reason people buy fast fashion is the one thing that's not really addressed in this book: Price. Someone who buys fast fashion can't afford the "reasonable" price of around $300 to rent an outfit. Or $800 for a "slow fashion" sweater. Or even $50 for a t-shirt.

One other thing that bothered me was the complete lack of awareness of race and class history when discussing the history of, for example, the American cotton industry. How do you talk about cotton in the South without even
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Jessica
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a thoroughly well researched and well written book on the behind scenes of the fashion industry. Focusing on clothing production, the book is enlightening and frightening at the same time. To find out in detail what it takes to make a single pair of jeans and how damaging it is to the environment was shocking. After reading this book, it will be a long time before I buy another pair. It was interesting to learn about designers who are trying to create not only more sustainable fabrics, ...more
Casey
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most interesting, well researched insights into the world of fast fashion and its impact on its workers, consumers, the environment, and beyond.

I'll edit this review tomorrow, but I simply floored over what I just read.
Allyson
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Listened to this (read by author on Audible) as I wanted to learn more about the environmental and societal impact of the apparel industry, as well as future innovations. This book definitely brought me up to speed in a great way on those areas. However, as some other reviewers have mentioned, this book really spent a lot of time focusing on innovations made by luxury brands such as Alabama Chanin and Stella McCartney, that are prohibitively expensive to the average consumer. One skirt that ...more
Krystle Meyer
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
#nonfictionnovember2019 - Design Prompt

I liked reading portions of this book....but not most of it -hence the rating. The subtitle is "the price of fast fashion and the future of clothes," but 80% of this book is about "the future of clothes" and only 20% is about "the price of fast fashion." The majority of this story reads like vignettes - there's a chapter about natural indigo, a chapter about new technologies in denim distressing, etc. - and although the vignettes somewhat weave together, I
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Lindsey
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for every single person that buys clothing and thinks of shopping as a fun, harmless activity. It is not! And our choices are killing the planet and even many of the people who are tasked with making the clothing. What’s the future? Common sense: buy less, rent, reuse, repair, buy secondhand. An enlightening and tremendously reported read that I won’t soon forget.
Gwen
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: culture
Excellent reporting, useless "advice"

This makes me want to reread Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. I didn't love it at the time, but I remember Cline sharing practical advice and tips for more sustainable clothing for those of us who can't afford to drop $128 on a (organic cotton, handmade in the United States...) t-shirt or might actually like to own their clothes (and wear them out). Thomas' research and quality of interviews is excellent, but her parting words
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Kim
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone interested in the business of fashion, as well as environmentalists. Lots information, can be a little dry at times, but it is eye-opening and also hopeful about the future. Dana Thomas does a good job of explaining everything that goes into our clothes, and it is not all negative as I expected, but states the facts with some background, present day and what the future holds and who is leading the way. Like anything worthwhile, it is a marathon not a sprint.
Halley
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
Dis you know 82% of the clothes made this year will end up being destroyed or dumped in a landfill?!? What an eye-opener about where my clothes actually come from, and how they make it into my hands. I honestly don't think I'll ever see a mall the same again after this book, and I'm more dedicated than ever to Poshmark/consignment shopping to reduce the impact what I wear has on the environment.
John Spiller
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Fashionopolis" is a continuation of a subject covered in Thomas' earlier book "Deluxe," which examined the decline in quality of luxury brand products as they evolved from small to global scale. "Fashionopolis" explores the ways in which clothing has become increasingly disposable, and the human and environmental cost of the increasing global demand for "fast fashion". Having set out the effects of our fashion bulimia of binging and purging, Thomas then describes various innovations that can ...more
Signe
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book about fashion is a book I would likely never read. Full disclosure: I skimmed the parts describing everyone's outfit for the day. I am the type of person who buys a good quality, practical sturdy purse and will use it every day for ten or more years.
This book is about far more than fashion and will really make me think the next time I consider buying something.

Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes is a fascinating history and expose of the fast fashion
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Murat Aydogdu
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading Thomas' most recent work, Fashionopolis. It was an eye opener for me. I am hugely into fashion and I thought I knew quite a bit about the business side of things. But still, I was surprised to read about the size and reach of this industry. The book is focussed on womenswear but really, it is relevant to anyone. There's quite a bit about fast fashion and its (negative) impact on the world, the history of workers' explotation in the industry since its inception, and ...more
Hillary
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
So she does a great job with research and facts about the fashion industry and how we have gotten to a point of so much waste. Very interesting! Definitely a book about environment and how fashion is impacting it.

That being said as a consumer with a large family I could never fully agree with her solutions. She is a woman who can afford designers and expensive reusable clothing solutions. But for me as an average American i will continue to stick with our own solutions. A good read. Not great.
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Claire
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2020
Super informative read for anyone who buys clothes (so everyone!). It definitely made me rethink how I buy and consume clothes and the environmental and social impact of my shopping. My only complaint is that the suggestions to counteract fast fashion tended to only be feasible for people with a lot of disposable income.
Meredith
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A must read for anyone interested, or certainly working in fashion. Factual, well researched, interesting and informative the book is surprisingly optimistic and full of good news about technological breakthroughs and inventive and courageous individuals battling to make fashion more sustainable.
Daniel
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The fashion industry is wasteful. The moment high fashion runway models leave the stage, the new season series is immediately copied and knock-offs are reverse engineered to be sold in them High Street shops. Marginal cost theory makes companies churn out way too many clothes. They are then discounted a few times and eventually end up in landfill or incinerator. These are often made in sweat shops in developing countries in dangerous and uncomfortable environment. The production requires lots of ...more
Mary A
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a good book very insightful. It makes one rethink before buy clothes.
Rachelle
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fashionopolis... a breath of fresh air, revealing fast fashion's history, present, and future. Facts after facts! This book shows human and environmental impacts along with economical losses associated with outsourcing clothing manufacturing to foreign countries in sweatshop condition. Author touches on the movement for more sustainable fashion with less harmful materials, using renting websites in lieu of purchasing new, and repurposing exhausted garments into raw material.
Laura
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Eye-opening, interesting, depressing, and a bit hopeful. I was hoping for a bit more for how the middle class consumer could encourage better clothing choices, but I have many companies I was introduced to, to do some more research on. But this book definitely made me now double think about my clothing purchases.
Cynthia
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars. I think this book addresses an important issue. I was hoping for more suggestions that individuals could use to effect change, personally and globally. About 2/3 of the way through the book, it started to become a slog. A little more editing would have helped.
Eustacia Tan
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I kind of went into this book knowing that it was going to change the way I was thinking about clothes and I was right. I heard about Fashionopolis from the Dressed Podcast interview (which was great, except for an advert for Fabletics that felt out of place) and knew that this was going to be important, even though I don’t consider myself particularly fashion-forward. After all, I was already thinking about the most meaningful ways to consume and clothes are an inescapable part of our buying ...more
Irene Adler
I'm not sure why this has plastered all over it 'the first comprehensive look' and 'it's hard to believe that no one thought to write this book until now' etc. Because it's not.

It contains much that has been covered before - there's the obligatory interviews with Stella McCartney and Natalie Chanin (and why not, these women are a force for good in the world as well as in fashion). There's coverage of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Rana Plaza disasters again (which bear repeating because
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Claudia
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fashion today contributes nearly 20 percent of all industrial pollution. In 2018, due to having 'fast fashion' at our fingertips as we stop into our favorite store, nearly 14 MILLION TONS of unpurchased clothing was discarding in American landfills. That's 80 pounds per person. Are consumers willingly blind to the environmental impact that the convenience of having any size and color of that shirt or dress or slacks, shoes, accessories, and more available with one computer click? Are consumers ...more
Gillian
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I work in apparel design for a midsize retailer based in the US that manufactures overseas, and sustainability has been a pet cause of mine for over a decade. Because of this, I wasn’t sure how much would be new info for me, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was for me to learn in this book. There’s a lot of exciting developments happening, and I left feeling more optimistic about the state of the industry than I expected. My co-workers and I talk about the problems inherent in ...more
Andrea
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am definitely guilty of supporting fast fashion. I used to have a $20 rule where I wouldn't spend more than that on any one piece of clothing. H&M was my friend!

Fashionopolis starts off grim-- we get reports on sweatshops in Bangladesh, really poor labor and environmental practices, a brief history of real fashion disasters (the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire) and trade pacts that lead to globalization and therefore child labor, dumping indigo into rivers, etc. I took a break to feel
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lemonsmol
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5/5

Summary:
Interesting if you want to learn about bleeding edge technologies being introduced to the fashion industry. If you are looking for a book to explain why fast fashion is wasteful, the first few chapters will tell you why but will not offer practical solutions for the individual. Overall, would recommend if you have interest in the topic but would not be good for educating anyone who is reluctant to acknowledge these issues.

Positives:
Good book with very important information in it.
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Jaki
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, but I think it’s important to go into it with the right expectations about what it is and what it is not. Unfortunately I don’t think the blurb or marketing fully capture that.

IS:
- a high-fashion US-centric look at the fashion industry, with brief coverage of history and mass fashion
- a hopeful exploration of early technology that may radically shift how we manufacture clothes
- anecdotes about various designers and manufacturers and artists trying to do something
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Andrea Day
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, style
Kind of a sobering read. I find the history and present day story of retail so interesting, but it is also depressing in a lot of ways. However, it does help me be more mindful about my and my family's consumption habits. A lot of the problems are not easily solved solely by individuals, though every little bit helps. It is difficult to read about how bad fast fashion is, when a lot of people can't afford high end, sustainable and ethically made items. I wouldn't want to put a burden or guilt on ...more
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