How to Quit Fast Fashion, According to Aja Barber

In her first book, Consumed, Barber provides a blueprint for anyone who wants to change their shopping habits but doesn’t know where to start.

“The future looks both bright and bleak,” Aja Barber writes in her first book, Consumed, as she reminds us that it’s not too late to create an equitable and sustainable fashion industry. But we need to act fast. True to the form that has made Barber’s Instagram account a must-follow for anyone interested in sustainable fashion, her book is not here to pretend the status quo is working for any of us. It’s here to jolt us into action.

Without question, the fashion industry is one of the leading culprits of greenhouse gas emissions (producing 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, as reported by Business Insider), generating tons of waste, and allowing worker exploitation. In the first few pages of her book, now available in the U.S., Barber makes a point of asking fast-fashion CEOs within the first few pages to imagine what the industry could look like if they were willing to place humanity above profits. Barber remains skeptical of that ever happening, but she’s not going to stop asking. Still, most people who buy her book are individuals not CEOs, and it can be hard for a consumer to know where to begin when it comes to shopping in a more conscious way.

Barber has been building a career out of answering that question. She can effortlessly weave together personal anecdotes with the disheartening historical impacts of colonialism on the modern-day fashion industry one moment, and be laugh-out-loud funny the next. She reminds us that individual choices still matter and offer slivers of optimism amid the sobering reality that if our reliance on fast fashion doesn’t change, the planet is in big trouble. The book is a blueprint for anyone who wants to do better.

Ahead of the book’s release, we talked about the biggest change we should all be making, her own history as a fast-fashion consumer, and why she hopes one day advocating for sustainable fashion won’t be her day job anymore.

Marielle Elizabeth: The first half of Consumed really focuses on context—how we got to this place historically and the state of what modern fashion looks like. Can you share a bit about where we currently are?

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Marielle Elizabeth