Monday, February 16, 2009

"Who are you wearing?" Some kid from Uzbekistan

In a restaurant, we overheard a common exchange. “Nice shirt,” said one patron. “Where’s it from?”

The fashionista offered a store name. We returned to our meals.

The question lingered.

Where’s it from? Not just this shirt. Any shirt. Look at your own label. Where’s it from?

Chances are it went through numerous hands before ending up on your
back. That’s where the question takes new meaning. Where’s it from?
And, who’s it from?

In the beginning, there was a child.

So begins this detailed and provocative story of textile and clothing production from a global perspective. It gives whole new meaning to the red carpet question, "Who are you wearing?" We are seeing in the current economic crisis that consumption has consequences -- good and bad. Buy too much (especially on credit) and we save or invest too little, and mortgage our future. Buy too little and there's suffering all the way along the supply chain, from the retailer back to the seven-year-old picking cotton in Uzbekistan. Here's an idea: a future where the work is done by adequately paid adults in humane conditions and with less damge to the environment. Would Americans pay $30 for a T-shirt or $100 for non-designer jeans? If not, what is the answer?

No comments: