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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,602 ratings  ·  252 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 ever
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Penguin Press
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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 b
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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 me
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Chloe Kian
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book about the fashion industry, its past, present and future. Full of information and very dense yet very easy read with so much insight you wouldn’t get anywhere else. Highly highly recommend!
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
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 are...jus
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Pennylope
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well, shit. I have to stop buying clothes.
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 Alab ...more
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, b ...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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Louisa Holgate
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fantastic read - highly recommend!

Very interesting look at the dark side of fast fashion: how fast fashion came to be so damaging, Zara’s business model, looking back to Manchester’s role in the industrial revolution, factory conditions.

But this book has quite a positive tone towards the end with a look at new sustainability initiatives: Reformation’s business model, Stella McCartney, rental market.

I’ve only given this book 4/5 stars because I felt there wasn’t enough emphasis on the top reason
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Esther King
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book would be absolutely brilliant...if it weren’t so out of touch. There’s a lot to be said for the amazing innovations in science moving away from the appalling current way we approach fast fashion- but as someone who is constantly broke, I have two words for you that this book does not give. They are: op shopping. That’s it. Simple as pie.

My first pair of jeans that I ever owned as a teenager were Versace. The price? $2 from a Vinnies bin. There is zero reason to spend your money on som
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Ana-Maria Petre
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: never-finished
Not finished this but I think I got everything that was useful out of it. Starting to get into too much corporate gossip for my taste.
Armelle
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Gave me a very thorough introduction to sustainability in fashion while really exploring all aspects of supply chain in a way that didn't dismiss the artistry and the specificities of fashion as a sector.
Did have slightly too much focus on high fashion and luxury items when i would have like to have heard a bit more about the future of fashion for people with lower-incomes.
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Nicola
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at the technologies being introduced to combat the fast fashion industry, although I have to admit that as a Brit there were a huge amount of companies mentioned that I have never heard of as they seem to only operate domestically in the US. My main complaint, and the reason for such a low rating, is that there seems to be a complete lack of awareness throughout the entire book as to what is economically attainable for most people. The vast majority can’t afford to drop over ...more
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.
Nicole
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
A good overview of the fashion industry’s excesses and the damage it’s causing on both a human and environmental scale. The book also highlights fashion innovators who are trying to fix the industry, either by leveraging technology and interesting recycling processes, or by going back to more old-school methods. I’ve been wanting to get smart on how to buy better clothes - both in the sense of better quality that holds up longer and also better for the planet. This book was a good place to start ...more
Hazel
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
90% Informative

A wonderful book to learn from about fast fashion and what most people wear everyday, this book is informative and a must read for all those who don't know where there clothes come from.

--------------
Author:Dana Thomas
Pages:320
Ages:12+ for understanding and knowing what certain things are, for example, NAFTA.
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Casey
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
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Navya
This book is a hard-hitting look at the modern fast-fashion industry, and the damages it is causing to both labour rights and the environment. It also touches on what could possible alternatives be, all through the supply change.

Thomas' reporting is impeccable. She speaks to a variety of stakeholders in multiple countries, delves into the history (and future) of common fashion items, and drills down each step of the fashion and clothing supply chain. I learnt a lot from it and will definitely b
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Megha
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: covid, bookclub
[3.5 stars]
Such a thought-provoking read! I can definitely come out of this saying that I will never look at my closet the same way again.

Dana Thomas has done meticulous research on this book and takes us through the entire supply chain of fashion, from the designers at the top of the "cerulean blue" fashion pyramid to the workers being exploited in offshore sweat shops. It forced me to confront the horror and bloodbath that went (and continues to go) into the production of literally everything
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Moguri
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Informative and very dense in facts and numbers. We can see that Thomas has thorougly researched her subject.

Her book is divided in three parts : the first one is on the devastating impacts of fast fasion environmentally, socially, and humanly, the second and third parts are focused on the technological advancement combined with sustainable minded business to change (or at least attempt) the current business model (from more sustainable fashion brand to renting clothes).

While it is great to see
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Katie
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yikes, the entire garment industry might be worse than the food industry. Worse, even.

Fast fashion is about the worst thing you can buy, and I'm guilty as hell. I'll be working on that from now on. And by that I mean, not buying anything for a really long time. Luckily with this stay at home order, I never leave my house, so I rarely put on real clothes. Maybe that's the secret fix for the fashion industry?

Kidding.

Maybe.
...more
Tracy Lee
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
Do you wear clothes? Then, you should read this. A good audio book, too, if you prefer that.
Adam
Interesting. Doubt we'll be 'three-d printing clothes in our home in 2020', oh wait, pretty sure we haven't, sorry Ray Kurzweil is the wrongest 'futurist' ever, stupidly overrated and somehow famous just because of Internet prediction and riding that coattail forever.

Seriously we don't need to be 3D printing clothes, that's just dumb. I'll never pay $5k for a bulky noisy gadget just to print a few dozen garments every year or two, it's just not going to happen. The gadget will be broken via dis
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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 ha ...more
Aamna
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not buying jeans ever again. Or shopping at ZARA or H&M. What a clusterfuck.
Janie
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a nice overview of the commercial fashion industry, beginning with history beginning around the civil war, the explosion of fast fashion after NAFTA, sweat shops and human rights abuses, and the future of "sustainable" and "slow" fashion.
The historical chapters and the chapters on outsourcing production to factories in Bangladesh and the persistence of sweatshops within the US were the most interesting, and I wish she had expanded further on it.
The chapters on new technology for gr
...more
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.
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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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. ...more
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Dana Thomas is the author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, and the New York Times bestseller Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, all published by Penguin Press. She began her career writing for the Style section of The Washington Post, and for fifteen years she served as a cultural and f ...more

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Some interesting news for book nerds: According to recent industry research, book sales spiked dramatically in 2020–otherwise a rather...
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“But her no leather - no fur policy drew fire. Critics charged that faux hides, many of which are petroleum based, were more damaging to the earth than the real stuff.

Bull, said McCartney. "Livestock production is one of the major causes of ... global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity", she shot back, with more than fifty million animals farme and slaughtered each year just to make handbags and shoes. Conventional leather tanning employs heavy metals such as chromium, which results in waste that is toxic to humans.”
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“Killing animals is the most destructive thing you can do in the fashion industry", she told me. "The tanneries, the chemicals, the deforestation, the use of landmass and grain and water, the cruelty - it's a nonstarter. The minute yo are not killing an animal to make a shoe or a bag you are ahead of the game” 1 likes
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