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Local, Slow and Sustainable Fashion

Wool as a Fabric for Change

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Draws on an inclusive range of authors to deliver a representative examination of the textile industry
  • Offers an in-depth examination of how attempts at 'sustainable fashion ' have faced challenges, and offers alternatives
  • Explores the importance of local practices in achieving global sustainability

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About this book

This book explores the importance of the agriculturally-based fiber and textile industry, and how local, small-scale operations and markets, coupled with a connection to soil health, can lead the way to new transformative changes. It draws on a four-year research project on Norwegian wool, as well as similar studies in Poland and Portugal. It also explores the role of women and the Indigenous perspective: in Europe this will constitute Sami and Inuit, in Northern America the Inuit and First Nations in Canada, along with Native Americans.

Born out of academic interest in the slow food movement, the importance of local raw materials has been put under the spotlight in recent years. Meanwhile, the havoc wreaked by the fast fashion industry has been drawing attention to the need for a new, sustainable approach to clothing and textile manufacture. This edited collection is unique in its scope, taking the conversation beyond traditional debates around fast fashion and agriculture, and examining how textile industry is rooted in the land, and within society and community. Featuring a diverse range of authors, the book will be valuable reading for academics interested in sustainable management, the study of consumption, the study of Indigenous perspectives, and the study of agricultural practices. 

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Table of contents (8 chapters)


This book is a tour de force and a heart-on-sleeve exploration of how a familiar fibre can radically change the fashion and sustainability story.

Professor Kate Fletcher, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion, UK

 The authors of this fascinating book use wool as a lens through which to see important aspects of the contemporary world: corporate capitalism, consumerism, standardisation and their opposites: localised crafts and practices, quality of life, sustainability. Readable, enlightening and engaged, this book is fuelled by a passion for wool and expertly weaves, spins, cards and knits the small and the large scale, contributing not only to our knowledge about fabrics and sustainability, but also adds depth to our understanding of globalisation.

Professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, Norway

(While) we search for examples of outstanding sustainable practices, that could be amplified and applied to sustain a more gentle and efficient way of living in future, the authors (of this book) explore slow and indigenous approaches to textiles, while considering the optimal use of precious natural and renewable resources, such as wool. The chapters read as intriguing short case studies on their own, but collectively showcase a deep understanding of the threads that bind us together and how these could be strengthened to optimise natural fibre applications for future generations. Textile nerds will love it and newcomers will be inspired to learn more.

Dalena White, Secretary General IWTO, Brussels, Belgium

 I have always used wool and then fell in love with woolgrowers when I visited Tasmania in 2016, so for me this book is a total must read for anyone working on sustainability and the future of our planet.

Livia Firth, Creative Director, Eco Age Limited,London, UK 

Clothing is an essential part of human life, along with food and shelter. Furthermore, its culturally significant, defining who we are and where we belong. Alas, finding better solutions to the harmful ways the industry which supply our clothing operates today, is of upmost urgency. This collection of research articles offers knowledge and insights into the complex world of fiber, specifically wool, and suggests reestablishing more local value chain as part of the solution. It’s a must read for those who want to be part of a much-needed change. 

Gisle Mariani Mardal, Head of development Norwegian Fashion & Textile Agenda, Oslo, Norway

 Fast fashion is almost as destructive as fast food.  And both embody a mindset that treats workers, consumers, livestock, and the environment like disposable commodities.  Instead of having the wool pulled over eyes, through deceptive mass marketing and outright lies, we need wool back in our lives.  Especially wool that’s been produced locally, regeneratively, with compassion for the people and animals who make it.  This important book explains how that can be done.

Eric Schlosser, Author, Fast Food Nation, New York, USA

Klepp and Tobiasson have done a remarkable job (…) and have given a comprehensive account of the successful revival of small-scale processing and marketing of local wool in some Scandinavian and Baltic countries, and set this in the context of the global wool industry and its fight to retain share in a market dominated by synthetic fibres. The authors suggest a return to the model of local consumption of local production, where profit and growth are no longer the main drivers, as a more sustainable way of clothing ourselves and our homes and reinvigorating the sheep industry in European countries. (…) Wool, with its deep roots in our European culture, our economies and our wardrobes, is ideally suited to change this.

Lesley Prior, Sheep farmer, Tellenby Merino, Devon, UK

Such an interesting read, showing how everything is intertwined: sourcing, craftmanship, culture, economy, philosophy, physics, degrowth… A voice that should be heard in the global discussions at a time when a deep transformation is needed: the textile industry must be held accountable for its environmental and social impacts or else our planet will become the ultimate fashion victim. If clothes can tell a story, what message are we leaving for future generations?

Valeria Botta, ECOS – Environmental Coalition on Standards, Brussels, Belgium

For the last 20 years I’ve been immersed in the world of fashion and textiles and it’s always struck me that the list of textile features and benefits of wool read like those from a innovative new super-fibre, add the sustainable benefits of localised, small-scale wool production and you may have the most climate positive, high performing textile there is. This book outlines a solid history and case for wool as the fibre of choice for an over-burdened planet and how perhaps it’s not new ideas we need in response to the climate crisis, but a rethinking of what ‘good’ ‘better’ or indeed ’best’ may look like.

Debbie Luffman, Finisterre, ThinkCircular, Cornwall, UK


Editors and Affiliations

  • Consumption Research Norway (SIFO), Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway

    Ingun Grimstad Klepp

  • Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical Fashion, Oslo, Norway

    Tone Skårdal Tobiasson

About the editors

Ingun Grimstad Klepp is Professor of Clothing and Sustainability affiliated with Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. 

Tone Skårdal Tobiasson is a seasoned journalist and editor, and founder of Nordic Initiative Clean & Ethical Fashion. 


Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Local, Slow and Sustainable Fashion

  • Book Subtitle: Wool as a Fabric for Change

  • Editors: Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Business and Management, Business and Management (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-88299-0Published: 02 February 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-88302-7Published: 03 February 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-88300-3Published: 01 February 2022

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXII, 205

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations, 22 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Corporate Environmental Management, Business and Management, general, Entrepreneurship

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