about book

Poland’s first comprehensive guide to the controversial topic of ethics in fashion.


The author, Magdalena Płonka, gives a thorough analysis of the consequences of the everyday choices made by ordinary people. Not everyone is aware of the fact that the clothes they buy have a direct impact on human rights, the situation of animals and global climate change. This book not only gives readers that awareness, but also provides answers to questions on how to make the best and most responsible choices for ourselves and the world around us.

In the first chapter, the author investigates the sources of contemporary consumerism, tracing it back to 17th century humanism. She also analyses various elements of the globalized economy, such as shipping and cocooning, as well as their general influence on the economy. As a proposal for a solution to contemporary issues of an ethical nature in the clothing industry, she introduces the concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility.
The subsequent chapter of the book discusses human rights. The reader is informed of the actual status of the workers’ rights in factories that produce textiles, and about the universal trend towards the violation of human rights by global brands and their subcontractors. The text shows that for such companies occupational and safety procedures are often unknown terms, leading to frequent abuse of workers’ rights and ultimately to tragedy – from unpaid overtime, through the persecution of activists and, finally, to tragic fires in workplaces. Separate mention was made of Mexican maquiladoras, specially designated economic zones along the US border which have negatively influenced the lives of local communities. In the summary, we discover the significance of worker solidarity in their fight against exploitation, i.e. the activities of labour unions.

The third chapter focuses on the mutual links between fashion and ecology. In the first part, the production of cotton is criticised as being exceptionally harmful to the environment. The author discusses, among other things, the problem of the amount of water used, the carbon footprint and the influence of the applied chemicals on the health of the ultimate consumer. The second part discusses the alternatives to conventional methods of production, i.e. organic cotton and local manufacture. It also introduces the innovative topic of ecological factories, which, although requiring higher financial expenses, bring long-term benefits to the owner and to the environment.

In the next section of the book, the author described the connections between the clothing industry and the abuse of animals. We are provided with information about the inglorious secrets behind the production of clothing made from wool, fur and exotic leather, as well as about the influence of their manufacture on the natural environment. Additionally, stylish and ecological alternatives to clothing from animal skin are provided, as well as information about how to counteract abuse from the legal perspective.

The author does not conceal that her aim was not simply to provide an austere description but rather the promotion of positive attitudes within the clothing industry and the world of fashion. Readers of the text will find not only pure facts but also personal commentary on the current situation in the fashion market, supported by a lot of professional experience in the field. For this reason, the last chapter constitutes an attempt at answering the question of what actions may be undertaken in order to change the current situation. Among the suggestions given, we find the significant role of appropriate certifications and of the education of younger generations. A separate fragment introduces the phenomenon of greenwashing, i.e. “green marketing”.

All the research has been well documented with statistics and data taken from the reports of prestigious organisations or international institutions. The descriptions are accompanied by tables, graphs, as well as photographs, which allow for a better visualisation of the discussed issues.

This book received support from the following people:


It is no longer possible to pretend you do not know. It can no longer be hidden that fast fashion is the planet’s largest polluter and exploiter of the Third World. This book documents the dark side of the global fashion industry. Read before you buy another sweater.
Joanna Bojańczyk, journalist

(…)The book asks future designers to change unethical practices in sweatshops, manufacturing, and production. It is an important book for business students and professionals alike.
Elaine E. Englehardt, Distinguished Professor of Ethics, Utah Valley University

A clear handbook that substantively broadens knowledge of ethics in fashion. This is a must-read for the entire industry and fashion enthusiasts..
Mariusz Przybylski, projektant mody

The choices we make as consumers are important, and we do not know such trends as the one that was presented in this book. I hope this publication reaches a lot of readers. 

Magdalena Różczka, actress

The history of fashion is the history of cruelty (…) to us all. That is what this unpleasant, but extremely needed, book, which is one of the first positions on ethics in fashion, is about. A must-read before your next mindless shopping spree.
Michał Zaczyński, fashion journalist

The book was released in March 2013. It is distributed all over Poland in main bookshops and science institutions.

It was published by em pe studio design Sp z o.o., for International School of Costume and Fashion Design- MSKPU.
The book size is 17cm x 22.5 and it is printed on eco paper.

The price of “Ethics in fashion …” is 59,-zł (14 Euro)