Book Review: Green is the New Black

Tamsin Blanchard, the author of this new book on fashion and the environment, has written about style and the latest must-haves in all the major newspapers here. Whilst she is not as much of an acknowledged authority on environmental matters as Lucy Siegle, she certainly knows her stuff about fashion. She says that she loves clothes and has always loved clothes but " the problem is, lately, the whole business has started to look kind of ugly..." This is the start of a wide-ranging look at all aspects of personal style and fashion through "light green" eyes. She is not doctrinaire and she doesn't preach which makes her quite accessible to anyone who is interested in dipping into the eco-fashion world. She loves serious designer fashions (and rationalises by saying that they have great staying power), she doesn't scrimp, and she has useful, practical information. In fact, she manages to balance both worlds. The beauty of this book is that she weaves green, environmental principles and girlie fashion tips together in a lively and accessible way for a mass market.

Did you realise that 85% of the time women wear only 15% of their wardrobe? From that starting point she has a good section on sorting and recycling clothes, how to turn old tee-shirts into halter tops and dresses and making your own, including sites to download designer styles from the web. Her high street heroes are Gant, Nike, Topshop and Timberland. Her tips range from the sublime--how to sew on a button--to the ridiculous--go on a waiting list for a Hermes bag ($6,000) because they last forever. But she does have a whole section on developing your own style rather than copying celebrities. She has recipes for face masques, ethical cocktails and make-up. Her travel tips include packing a fleece and sarong always, great festivals to attend and flea markets across the world. In the "Get a Life, Get a Hobby" section, she includes such delightful suggestions as baking a fairtrade cake, starting a knitting circle and making your own hammock. She has a blog too. :: Green is the New Black

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