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Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty Perfect Paperback – December 24, 2008
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About the Author
Summer Rayne Oakes is a Udall environmental scholar, National Wildlife Federation Fellow, and United Nations U.S. Partnership Youth Emissary. Based in New York City, she travels the world modeling eco fashions, writing on sustainable style, and speaking on sustainable design and environmental activism.
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The author opens you up to a whole bunch of manufactures in the green biz. From clothing to personal care. Not everything is organic. It is based on more than that. Upcycling, recycling, organic, sustainable practices and the like. Some of the fashions are downright hideous (in my opinion) and very expensive. If you have the money to burn, and you like the fashion then hell yea spend it on something good for the earth that doesn't promote child labor & tearing down rain forests!
There is a section on personal care that could really use some work. Sure this stuff is way the heck better than the conventional poisons out there, but don't kid yourself, this stuff isn't perfect either! Rather than trusting her (the authors) judgement/opinion on these types of products, you would do much better to make your own educated decisions about what you put on your skin by visiting skin deep at[...].
The very back of the book has a section dedicated to all the different sources for all the topics she mentions. I find this is great because I can review these companies at my leisure. This section makes it easy to find the type of companies you are looking for.
I love the premise of the book & what it stands for. If you need some help in the sustainable/organic industry, then you would do well to get this book. It is also a great source of inspiration for creating sustainable products yourself! I will keep this on the bookshelf & use this as a reference but continue to make my own decisions & not simply follow the authors suggestions.
Overall I feel this book is a very good attempt to bring a blend of information, some important and some more "feel good" information to a reader who may not already know this information. This book will inform readers a LITTLE BIT on the topics. The book handles the topics lightly. The author does not over-burden the reader by inciting anger or fear.
As the subtitle states, this is a SHOPPING GUIDE and it is worth mentioning that it does not steer the reader toward Do-It-Yourself projects such as encouraging readers to make their own soap, shampoo and skin care products.
Good to know also is the products and clothing in the book are for women and teenagers. This book does not have too much in the way of men's personal care products (except where gender neutral items can cross over). Also the book does not cover the growing market for green baby and children products and clothing.
Some shortcomings are that the author recommends toothpastes but never explains the health risks or issues related to SLS in toothpaste (a special concern as if swallowed it has different implications as when SLS is in shampoo or hand soap). The big fluoride in toothpaste controversy is entirely absent. Also missing from the discussions are the issues chemicals that act as phyto estrogens which is especially an issue for young girls and boys and for women in peri-menopause (the dozen or so years before menopause).
An omission in the laundering clothes section was bothersome. The author focuses on laundry soap and reducing water usage and carbon emissions. However she does not mention fabric softener which is an issue in some people's opinion. Inexpensive white vinegar can be used in place of chemical based liquid fabric softener products. Other issues regarding ingredients in softener sheets (chemical neurotoxins) is absent.
Also perplexing is that the author covers laundry detergent which is good but fails to carry it over to the next logical important topic: household and dish cleaning. I understand the book has to have limits on what is covered but one or two pages could have been included to discuss this. The same considerations given for natural laundry detergent could have been said for surface cleansers, bathroom cleansers and floor cleansers: avoiding the toxic, buying the `green' or natural versions (or making one's own for a lower cost). As a comparison the author found room in the book to discuss the danger of inhaling toxic chemical fumes when using perfume or chemical fragrances but the same thing can be said of using common cleansers for glass and surface cleaning sprays while cleaning one's home. While we're on this topic it would also have been good to discuss not just perfume for the body but issues with chemical fragrance in candles and diffuser oils and to present greener alternatives.
1. Discusses the fact that in the USA the FDA does not regulate the safety of products such as makeup, skin care and sunscreen. Consumers must educate themselves and become informed consumers to make choices that will hopefully not cause them to become sick with something as serious as Cancer.
2. There are over 50 pages of resources to learn more and to find products, located at the back.
3. Good resources are also listed within the pages of the book such as reading sunscreen recommendations on the Skin Deep site.
4. The book is fully indexed which I find useful, especially for going back to re-read certain sections after I've already read the book cover to cover.
5. I learned new things about the manufacture of clothing such as how certain processes such as tanning leather can create pollutants or put workers at risk for developing diseases. To learn more about that was one goal I had for reading this book.
In summary this book covers a broad range of topics in a non-scary way and leaves the reader feeling hopeful and almost happy to go spend money on new products and clothes. The person who will spend a lot on fashion and wants to feel good about their purchases will be happy to hear about companies to buy from.
If money is not an issue the reader/consumer will feel good about being directed toward certain products and companies. The real life downside is that not all consumers will be able to afford these purchases and may have to rely on DIY methods that are not really encouraged in this book, such as opening one's mind to making natural homemade bath soap and skin lotions. If you are in that category, more self-education is needed and there are plenty of good books on the market to inform you.