Details for 'Less' by Patrick Grant


by Patrick Grant
A compelling and convincing argument about how we should revisit our attitude towards acquiring 'things' and following fast fashion.
by Patrick Grant
My review:

This is a surprising book by the judge of BBC's 'Great British Sewing Bee'. It's not your usual celebrity memoir but his manifesto on how we can change the way we live our lives.

If you've seen his recent media profile, not as the dapper tv tailor but the owner of radical textile company Community Clothing, you might have an idea of the themes here. It's a brilliant read.

The book starts with a rather heavy history lesson about how we came to make and wear clothes in the first place. Then he slips in some biographical details about his upbringing, his interest in clothing, and his purchase of a struggling tailoring business in Savile Row. 

And by now I was completely hooked because the main thrust of this book is his urging that we should stop buying 'rubbish' and instead look to owning fewer, better quality things - and he's not talking just about fashion, but kitchen equipment, furniture, cars. All the accoutrements of modern life. 

We've been sold a lie, he explains, by believing that if we have the next new thing we will be so much happier. Instead, the things and their acquisition, or the drive to have enough money to buy all the things we think we want, is making us dissatisfied.

To live happily we need to understand the difference between what we want and what we need, he says. 'Our consumption is thoughtless and careless. We buy so much, we have so much, and yet we enjoy so little.'

Our happiness is always out of reach and we are in jobs which no longer bring us fulfilment and satisfaction. Work is more than earning money, it is a vital part of our wellbeing, he says.

He presents a compelling argument and there are some shocking statistics throughout the book: there is enough clothing on the planet to provide for the next six generations; two thirds of the clothes we own we never wear; new clothes are now so cheap they're often thrown away rather than washed or worn again; and 30 per cent of all clothes made are never sold. 

There are so many issues pursued in this book, and his solutions are persuasive. As the market is led by the consumer, it really is up to us to bring about change, he says. I think this is a fantastic book. I hope you'll take a look.

Date of my review April 2024
Book publication date: 9th May 2024