The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good

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From journalist, fashionista, and clothing resale expert Elizabeth L. Cline, “the Michael Pollan of fashion,”* comes the definitive guide to building an ethical, sustainable wardrobe you'll love.

Clothing is one of the most personal expressions of who we are. In her landmark investigation Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, Elizabeth L. Cline first revealed fast fashion’s hidden toll on the environment, garment workers, and even our own satisfaction with our clothes. The Conscious Closet shows exactly what we can do about it.

Whether your goal is to build an effortless capsule wardrobe, keep up with trends without harming the environment, buy better quality, seek out ethical brands, or all of the above, The Conscious Closet is packed with the vital tools you need. Elizabeth delves into fresh research on fashion’s impacts and shows how we can leverage our everyday fashion choices to change the world through style. Inspired by her own revelatory journey getting off the fast-fashion treadmill, Elizabeth shares exactly how to build a more ethical wardrobe, starting with a mindful closet clean-out and donating, swapping, or selling the clothes you don't love to make way for the closet of your dreams.

The Conscious Closet is not just a style guide. It is a call to action to transform one of the most polluting industries on earth—fashion—into a force for good. Readers will learn where our clothes are made and how they’re made, before connecting to a global and impassioned community of stylish fashion revolutionaries. In The Conscious Closet, Elizabeth shows us how we can start to truly love and understand our clothes again—without sacrificing the environment, our morals, or our style in the process.

*Michelle Goldberg, Newsweek/The Daily Beast
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About the author

Elizabeth L. Cline is a journalist, public speaker, and the author of Overdressed. Her writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The Nation, and The New Yorker, among others. She is an expert on fashion industry waste, runs a clothing resale business, and is the director of research and reuse at Wearable Collections, one of New York City's largest used-clothing collectors. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner, Joseph D. Rowland, of the band Pallbearer, and their cat Lily.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Aug 20, 2019
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781524744311
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Industries / Fashion & Textile Industry
House & Home / Sustainable Living
Self-Help / Fashion & Style
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Until recently, Elizabeth Cline was a typical American consumer. She’d grown accustomed to shopping at outlet malls, discount stores like T.J. Maxx, and cheap but trendy retailers like Forever 21, Target, and H&M. She was buying a new item of clothing almost every week (the national average is sixty-four per year) but all she had to show for it was a closet and countless storage bins packed full of low-quality fads she barely wore—including the same sailor-stripe tops and fleece hoodies as a million other shoppers. When she found herself lugging home seven pairs of identical canvas flats from Kmart (a steal at $7 per pair, marked down from $15!), she realized that something was deeply wrong.


Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenney now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. Retailers are pro­ducing clothes at enormous volumes in order to drive prices down and profits up, and they’ve turned clothing into a disposable good. After all, we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.


But what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?


In Overdressed, Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut, tracing the rise of budget clothing chains, the death of middle-market and independent retail­ers, and the roots of our obsession with deals and steals. She travels to cheap-chic factories in China, follows the fashion industry as it chases even lower costs into Bangladesh, and looks at the impact (both here and abroad) of America’s drastic increase in imports. She even explores how cheap fashion harms the charity thrift shops and textile recyclers where our masses of cloth­ing castoffs end up.


Sewing, once a life skill for American women and a pathway from poverty to the middle class for workers, is now a dead-end sweatshop job. The pressures of cheap have forced retailers to drastically reduce detail and craftsmanship, making the clothes we wear more and more uniform, basic, and low quality. Creative inde­pendent designers struggle to produce good and sustainable clothes at affordable prices.


Cline shows how consumers can break the buy-and-toss cycle by supporting innovative and stylish sustainable designers and retailers, refash­ioning clothes throughout their lifetimes, and mending and even making clothes themselves.


Overdressed will inspire you to vote with your dollars and find a path back to being well dressed and feeling good about what you wear.

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