Overdressed & The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion

In a world where most things seem to be getting more expensive, there’s one thing that has seen a marked decline in cost – fashion.

From Kmart to Primark, around the world you can buy t-shirts for pennies, leggings for a couple of bucks, shoes for under $10!

If you get jeans on sale at Old Navy stuff is almost “free”!

How did this happen? Well, it was easy, we invented cheap synthetic materials and we outsourced production to the other side of the world. And we didn't use sustainable manufacturing processes.

You can read more about the environemental impact of denim in our guide to ethical jeans here.

overdressed fashion book cover

This is where Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L Cline comes in.

The author asks the question, “OK, this is cheap but what is the real cost?”


The Cost Of Fashion Is Borne By Our Planet And Other People

Kline’s quest for answers took her all over the world and she discovered that we are all paying for this reduction in cost on the store shelves.

Our planet is paying a huge environmental cost for the materials and chemicals used in manufacturing.

This is not sustainable, and, in fact, the cheaper clothes become – the more we are inclined to throw them away, which again increases our impact on the planet.

For a pracitcal guide to building an ethical, sustainable wardrobe check out her latest book: The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good.

“Overdressed does for T-shirts and leggings what Fast Food Nation did for burgers and fries.”

Katha Pollitt
High Cost of Cheap Fashion

There is also a hidden cost paid by the workers of developing nations labouring in conditions that we would never allow in our own countries.

Young workers forced to work 120+ hours a week in terrible conditions can be crippled by the time they reach their mid-20s.

Worse, the conditions can be deadly.

Overdressed should be mandatory reading in every school in the country. It’s not too late for us to reclaim the fashion industry for the benefit of mankind.

You can check out Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion online.

You can grab a copy online here.


Searching for more books that may interest you? Check out all our latest book reviews here.

For more sustainability strategies check out our natural living guide and our guide to sustainability.

PRO TIP: Shop at online thrift stores like these ones to reduce the impact your closet has on the planet!

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