A Silent Spring for your wardrobe, To Dye For is a jolting exposé that reveals the true cost of the toxic, largely unregulated chemicals found on most clothing today.
Many of us are aware of the ethical minefield that is fast fashion: the dodgy labor practices, the lax environmental standards, and the mountains of waste piling up on the shores of developing countries. But have you stopped to consider the dangerous effects your clothes are having on your own health? Award-winning journalist Alden Wicker breaks open a story hiding in plain sight: the unregulated toxic chemicals that are likely in your wardrobe right now, how they’re harming you, and what you can do about it.
In To Dye For, Wicker reveals how clothing manufacturers have successfully swept consumers’ concerns under the rug for more than 150 years, and why synthetic fashion and dyes made from fossil fuels are so deeply intertwined with the rise of autoimmune disease, infertility, asthma, eczema, and more. In fact, there’s little to no regulation of the clothes and textiles we wear each day—from uniforms to fast fashion, outdoor gear, and even the face masks that have become ubiquitous in recent years. Wicker explains how we got here, what the stakes are, and what all of us can do in the fight for a safe and healthy wardrobe for all.
About the Author
Alden Wicker is an award-winning journalist, sustainable-fashion expert, and founder and editor-in-chief of EcoCult. She’s published investigative pieces for The New York Times, Vogue, Wired, and has been interviewed for the BBC, NPR, Reuters, Fortune, CBC, and more. In 2021, Wicker won the American Society of Journalists and Authors Award for business reporting.
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"Utterly eye-opening and engrossing, you will never look at your clothes the same way again after reading this book. Alden Wicker demystifies the toxic process behind how our clothing is made in page-turning detail." —Amy Odell, author of Anna: The Biography
“To Dye For is not just about clothes. It’s an intrepid, long-overdue investigation into the untested and often dangerous chemicals that are in nearly everything we buy, the sobering reality of what these substances are doing to our bodies, and an inspiring call to action for our government to put public safety over the power of the chemical industry.” —Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
"[Wicker’s] mastery of her chosen subject is impressive, while it is her ability to not only enlighten readers regarding the obvious-fashion, she notes, does not come with an ingredient list-but also to drive home the seriousness of her research that makes this a crucial book...Her gripping and deadly serious investigation of this long overlooked topic hits all the right marks. To Dye For should be widely read and has the potential of being a game changer in an increasingly scrutinized industry." —Booklist, starred review
“A thought-provoking read for anyone who buys or wears clothes. A recommended addition to collections.” —Library Journal
“A disturbing, well-researched study with solid proposals to address a deep-seated problem.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Journalist Wicker urges consumers to think twice before picking up a piece of fast fashion in her incisive debut…Wicker makes a robust, sobering case that ‘much of what historically made fashion dangerous to our health has been invisible,’ grounded by copious research and frequently shocking first-person accounts. This is a real eye-opener.” —Publishers Weekly
"Part history, part expose, Wicker brings much-needed visibility to the dirty truth behind colorfully dyed, carefree fabrics." —No Kill Magazine
"With searing investigative skills, Alden Wicker unveils one more insidious way in which the beauty and fashion industry exact a toxic price on women: the chemical stew woven into fabrics we wear. Too often—in a story old as time—when women speak up about the ill-effects of these toxins on their health, they're discounted and gaslit. That is, until writers like Alden dig in, investigate, connect the dots, shed new light, and make us listen." —Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of The Autoimmune Epidemic and The Last Best Cure
"To Dye For seamlessly weaves a captivating narrative with thorough, eye-opening research—making this a book you can't put down." —Kathryn Kellogg, author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste
“A tour de force through the invisible chemical world hidden in our clothes and practical guide on what we can do about it.” —Maxine Bédat, author of Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment
“Concerning and empowering. Wicker encourages us to listen to women and our own bodies, to choose slow and low-tech fashion for our own health and the planet’s, and to hold toxic fashion manufacturers accountable. I hope we’ll see ingredient lists on clothing and a paradigm shift towards protecting consumer health as a result of this important book.” —Kimberly Nicholas PhD, author of Under the Sky We Make: How to Be Human in a Warming World