The best books for fashion revolutionaries

Who am I?

I'm an internationally recognised opinion leader in sustainable fashion. My career started as a designer with the pioneering upcycling label From Somewhere, which I launched in 1997. My label’s designer collaborations include collections for Jigsaw, Speedo, and 4 best-selling capsule collections for Topshop. In 2006, I co-founded the British Fashion Council Initiative Estethica at London Fashion Week, which I curated until 2014. In 2013 I co-founded Fashion Revolution, a global campaign with participation in over 90 countries. I'm a regular keynote speaker and mentor, and Associate Visiting Professor at Middlesex University. My first book Loved Clothes Last is published by Penguin Life, Corbaccio Editore in Italy and in France by Edition Marabou.


I wrote...

Loved Clothes Last: How the Joy of Rewearing and Repairing Your Clothes Can Be a Revolutionary Act

By Orsola de Castro,

Book cover of Loved Clothes Last: How the Joy of Rewearing and Repairing Your Clothes Can Be a Revolutionary  Act

What is my book about?

On repairs and reparations: how keeping your clothes is a revolutionary act, and a powerful solution for today’s throwaway society. I wrote this book, and it contains my 20+ years of inside knowledge in the fashion industry.

Making changes starting from our wardrobes may seem like a small and insignificant first step, but from repairs can come the impetus for reparations, and broken clothes can be a metaphor for broken systems.

The books I picked & why

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A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters

By Henry Gee,

Book cover of A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters

Why this book?

It does what it says on the cover, takes you back to where it all started, and puts where we are now in perspective. It put me in touch with my own ancestry, and the ancestry of time immemorial, giving sense to all journeys we have undertaken as inhabitants of planet earth. This book centered me, reminded me of the smallness and hugeness of human life on Earth, and inspired the best sleep routine I have ever attempted: when insomniac, or worried, at night, I imagine myself safe in a cave – and drift back to sleep almost immediately.


Make Thrift Mend: Stitch, Patch, Darn, Plant-Dye & Love Your Wardrobe

By Katrina Rodabaugh,

Book cover of Make Thrift Mend: Stitch, Patch, Darn, Plant-Dye & Love Your Wardrobe

Why this book?

The best book on mending, maintaining, and repairing clothes, ever. Beautifully written, inspirational, and easy to use, this is the definitive practical guide to all techniques related to clothing longevity.

I am nowhere near as good at mending as the author of this book, but I have found her techniques to be both practical and fairly simple, and the beautiful images make trying compelling.


The Golden Thread

By Kassia St. Clair,

Book cover of The Golden Thread

Why this book?

A very detailed and beautifully written history of the textile industry throughout time, this book really underlines how our industriousness has turned into a multibillion-dollar industry, disregarding many of the principles and values it stems from.

As a go-to a history of the textile industry, you can’t read much better than this, an unbroken thread of useful knowledge for whoever thinks fashion is frivolous.


Earth Logic

By Kate Fletcher,

Book cover of Earth Logic

Why this book?

Exploring an earth-centric view of business for the future, envisioning regenerative systems where fashion can support, rather than deplete our planet’s finite resources, this book challenges the concept of growth and offers real alternatives.

This book feels challenging, but is rooted in common sense, it may seem out there and unrealistic, but being about Earth it actually makes it feel not just possible but eminently doable.


Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism

By Aja Barber,

Book cover of Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism

Why this book?

Aja’s first book is a must-read, a brilliant personal account as well as a captivating commentary on the fashion industry of today. Aja gives space to other women’s voices, expanding in several scenarios and conversations to condemn the role fast fashion has on people, nature, our culture, and our environment. I could hear her voice as I frantically went from page to page in this important book.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in earth, clothing, and textiles?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about earth, clothing, and textiles.

Earth Explore 167 books about earth
Clothing Explore 23 books about clothing
Textiles Explore 8 books about textiles

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Factfulness, The Wake Up, and Youth to Power if you like this list.