“I love my clothes,” writes Lucianne in Sundressed: Natural Fibres and the Future of Fashion. “On a good day, they make me feel beautiful. On a bad day, at the very least they help me feel composed.”
Seeing Lucianne write about clothes as though they’re vital to her wellbeing is to be expected. She’s a fashion editor and writer who has worked for brands all around the world, including in Melbourne, Sydney, London and Paris. It’s basically her job to think about good clothing.
It’s also what makes her book on sustainable fashion such an enjoyable read. Sundressed isn’t the type of text that lectures or makes you feel guilty about clothing. Rather, Lucianne’s insightful prose, informed by years of industry experience and research, encourages us to look at our wardrobes with love and see the potential for environmental good in what we wear.
There’s a big emphasis on what those clothes are made from and why natural fibres are the fashion industry’s future. “We need to feel really good in [our clothes]: they need to look good, feel nice to wear and be comfortable,” she tells us. “Natural fibres are the best option for those things because they’re superior in function and form.”
Think about the drape of a pair of silk pants, the universal fit of a cotton shirt or the way wool reacts to our body temperature. Consider the softness of a cashmere sweater against the skin or the light weight of a linen dress. We know natural fibres feel good to wear, which is another tenet of Sundressed’s argument. “By making clothing with natural fibres, we will enjoy them more, wear them more and buy less,” Lucianne says.
If natural fibres are the key, then regenerative agriculture is the lock. Lucianne explains that there is enormous potential to create beautiful clothes that improve the environment – if the materials are regeneratively farmed. This involves methods to increase biodiversity and restore ecosystems, which improves soil heath. Healthy land sequesters more carbon, pulling CO₂ from the atmosphere and reducing overall carbon emissions … you see where this is all going.
Fashion’s natural revolution, stitched from fibres like cotton, wool, flax and cashmere, is underway and Sundressed introduces the farms, fashion houses and businesses changing the industry. Lucianne takes us from mulberry groves in China and cotton collectives in California, to Mongolian goatherds and Australian sheep farmers. A virtual trip that will leave you feeling hopeful and optimistic, not deflated.
A final caveat before reading Sundressed: Lucianne’s easy prose and relatable anecdotes will make you feel excited to pull together a beautiful outfit again. “I hope it gives people a new lens to view their clothes through and really gives them that desire to want to have these things that they love and cherish for a long time.
“I think it’s really important that we find messages of hope to hold on to now because hope is motivating. And this is a broadscale way that we can really revolutionise the way we consume.”