Book Review – Naked Fashion by Saffia Minney

Safia Minney, the founder of People Tree, is someone who inpsires me hugely. She has proved that it is possible to build a successful business whilst sticking to your values and is a pioneer of ethical fashion, leading the way for others to follow. So naturally, when I heard that she had written a book, Naked Fashion – The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution, I was really keen to order up a copy straight away.

The foreward is written by Lucy Siegle and Livia Firth who write:

The strength of this book is that every page turns the conventional view of the fashion landscape upside down, gives it a good shake and (charmingly) disposes of the offending idea in the nearest trash can. Instead, we are offered just about the most inspiring alternative models (of business, shopping, working- and even actual alternative models in the form of Summer Raynes Oakes) imaginable. And this is genuinely liberating.


As soon as I opened the book, I knew that I was going to enjoy reading it. Every page was illustrated with colourful photographs. It was well laid out with chapters in a logical sequence which take you through the impacts and costs of fashion followed by the different parts of the solution including Fairtrade, the roles of stylists, the media, the designers,supply chain, buyers, trend forecasters and ethical brands. It is definitely the most comprehensive discussion on the subject that I have ever read and for me the jigsaw puzzle suddenly seemed to fit together giving me a much better understanding of what is need to make fashion more sustainable and ethical. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone that wants to gain an in depth understanding of the ethical fashion  industry and what they as a consumer can do to help.

The book took the form of interviews with the different change makers, giving a huge amount of information and different opinions, not only on ethical fashion but also their role in the industry in general, from all sorts of different people who are working towards a more ethical fashion industry, even including muscians, make up artists and photographers.

It was great to see that Vintage Fashion was mentioned with an interview with Wayne Hemmingway being interviewed and also the subject of body image and treatment of models in the fashion industry.

Basically it made me realise just how we are controlled by media and advertising and how they sell us an ideal that is both damaging to our happiness,others and the planet.

Here are just a few quotes:

Wayne Hemmingway on the antedote to fast fashion

The solution is to treat fashion as fun and not as competition. Fashion should be there to make you feel good and get you noticed, but should never be about ‘keeping up with the Joneses’

Adam Harvey, an Account Manager at Masterpiece, one of Londons largest creative production agencies on the manipulation of images for magazine features or advertising.

Now with Macs and Photoshop, it’s all so easy- there is the possibility to completely re-sculpt a whole body. You can make a larger lady appear slim. Personally, I think its pulling the wool over people’s eyes. There should be boundaries.

Mihara Yasuhiro, a Japanese Designer on where the fashion industry is heading

Fashion has developed into a huge industry, with many inherent, serious problems which we have not addressed properly. In the same way that oil and other natural resources have caused conflict, fashion may also cause conflict. How can we really enjoy fashion under these circumstances? We urgently need to reinvent fashion.

Through out the book there are also some great resources with web addresses. There is also a useful list of ethical brands at the end.

You can buy Naked Fashion from People Tree.

What do you think? would you read it?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X


8 thoughts on “Book Review – Naked Fashion by Saffia Minney

  1. Sounds like an interesting read. Something certainly needs to change, but as much as ‘vintage’ is probably as big as its ever been, the flipside are the programmes like Gok’s Fashion Fix – perpetuating the idea that cheap high street and supermarket clothing is the way to go to recreate the ‘look of the moment’. I’d like to be able to buy more from the high street without feeling like I’m being ripped off – the quality and longevity of most clothes is terrible IMO – and without quite so much guilt about their provenance.
    Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] recently posted..The Weekend Book – then and nowMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree the quality of many of the clothes on the high street is pretty poor. For me that makes it easier to justify spending a little more on higher quality ethical brands. I agree we really don’t need any promotion of fashion. Perhaps we should all write to Gok and request that he covers charity shops with his next programme!

  2. Wow! Her story is amazing! I’m looking forward to picking up this book. It’s so rare to see someone take the ethical approach in such a brutal market place.

  3. Thanks Style Eyes for this great review. I’m from New Internationalist, the publishers who worked with People Tree and Safia on Naked Fashion. Please do let circulate details of this wonderful book to everyone you know.
    Dan recently posted..The more things change…My Profile