At first glance, Style Naturally looks like a basic – but extensive – guide to fashion and beauty, one that fulfills those growing needs of avid shoppers and fashionistas who thrive for the next big thing to hit the runways – or even just the store.
But then a closer look reveals a “hidden message” (although not really too hidden at all). Author Summer Rayne Oakes provides the essential guide to sustainable shopping. She calls the book “invisibly green”, reaching out foremost just to women who love style – and showing them that it can be done in an eco-friendly way.
But you’d never know it. All 350 pages are bursting with everything from shoes to shampoo, all vibrantly displayed in full colour images with clean, readable information. But in addition to its fashionista-fulfillment, it also takes all of the guesswork of going green, because this style guide is just that: a sustainable look at being fashion forward.
The book is divided into two categories: fashion and beauty, and Summer doesn’t leave out any detail. She schools the reader on the basics of green style, starting all the way back from a historical point of view.
The Eco-Fashion section brings you through each part of your wardrobe, intermingled with designer spotlights so we learn a little more about who is designing our duds, the green goods they produce, and highlighting how their business models correspond with the environment.
The book is well-organized, and easy to find the information that you’re most interested in. The bag chapter, for example, features about 20 pages of bright, colourful totes, purses, and messenger bags, divided into their designated sections. Whether you’re on the lookout to find a chic purse, a solar messenger bag, or a bag made of recycled tires, Summer’s got you covered.
And you need not assume this is for those ravenous over the runway: she also provides Everyday Wear, Denim, and even Athletic Gear, truly with something for everyone.
The Eco-Fashion section closes off with “tips of the trade”, among them covering ideas on making your wardrobe a little greener, searching for vegan materials, and how to recycle your own clothes.
But this is just the first section, followed by a deep dive into Eco-Beauty. Like in Eco-Fashion, Summer first delivers a lesson in beauty basics, including a dirty list of 20+ ingredients to avoid (like placenta!) She then details each part of the body, with small anecdotes that describe each vibrant product that adorns each page. “This lovely mixture of organic apple-cider vinegar and herbs helps eliminate nasty buildup and restore pH levels to the scalp,” she says of a John Masters Organics hair clarifier, and she also offers her own home-made version.
The second section closes with more “tips of the trade”, but this time focusing on the eco-beauty products.
You’d think Summer has already covered it all, but then the next 50+ pages provide a full-blown resource list, with websites, organic organizations, fashion show information, an eco-friendly fibre glossary, certification label know-how, and further reading. Oh, and an annotated list of international retail destinations.
One might note the lack of prices that correspond with all of the products, but don’t let the lack of information make you assume that these are unreachable to the everyday wallet: Summer’s ensured that with her book, she provides information on how just how to be fashion forward, but do it in an accessible way while saving money at the same time. (And we double checked – they’re good for the wallet, too).
Style Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty
By Summer Rayne Oakes
Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books
Full colour throughout
7×9 – 216 pages – $32.50
Check out Summer’s professional website at summerrayne.net
Explore her Style, Naturally website at stylenaturally.com