Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, August 15, 2022

Fashionopolis: the secrets behind the clothes we wear by Dana Thomas - Young Readers Edition

Fashionopolis: The Secrets Behind the Clothes We Wear
Young Readers Edition
By Dana Thomas
Dial Books for Young Readers. 2022

Writer, Dana Thomas began her career as a culture and fashion correspondent for the Style section of the Washington Post. Currently, she is a contributing editor for British Vogue, and a regular contributor to The New York Times Style section. 

Based on the adult version, Thomas looks at fast-fashion and its overall impact each item of clothing has on our culture and the environment. Readers are encouraged to think about where their clothing comes from. What type of fabric is the item made from? Is it natural or synthetic? Where is that T-shirt made? What are the working conditions of the factory where that dress is made? Do the workers make a living wage or is it slave labor? In a study done in the UK, the average garment is worn only seven times before being thrown away. Clothing not sold are boxed up, shipped back to the company and shredded and burned.

The book is not all bad news. After a history about the fashion industry, starting with the Industrial Revolution, Thomas shares new trends from some well-known fashion designers (Patagonia. Stella McCartney) and how they are working to choose materials that have a smaller carbon footprint. 

The book is advertised for Grades 4-6. However, the lack of any color photos or visual aids to break up the text makes this something to hand to older readers (Grade 7-12) with a particular interested in social justice. 

I’ll end this review with a quote from Dana Thomas in the epilogue: “Today, the fashion industry is a complex and epic-sized mess, and it’s going to take all of their approaches, and many others, to tackle it and build a better, fairer fashion ecosystem. Everyone spotlighted in this book is, in their way, fighting a model that is completely unsustainable. One that celebrates endless consumption, even lower prices (whether achieved by stealing someone’s art or their human rights), and even larger profits. That purposely produces leftovers. That gives no thought at all to the destruction it cases the enviornment.” 

Suggestions for ways to change our shopping patterns is included.

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