Deconstructed denim

Posted by Rob Walker on January 30, 2008
Posted Under: Ethics,Industry and stuff,World News

Marketplace had an interview yesterday with Rachel Louise Snyder, whose book Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade sounds interesting. Maybe your jeans say “Made in Country X,” but that’s not the whole story, she says:

You’ll have the cotton grown in a place like Uzbekistan or Azerbaijan — and in my book, it’s Azerbaijan — and maybe Turkey and then that’s woven, all the cotton from those countries is woven for consistency into one large roll of fabric and then its dyed in a different country like Italy and then sent maybe to India, where it might be cut, and then sent somewhere else. But you might have six or eight different countries involved in that process because of the way trade rules are set up.

And also:

We’ve now come up with these standards for food where it has to say where our food is processed and where it’s grown, but we don’t have those same standards for clothes.

Reminds me a bit of Travels of A T-Shirt in the Global Economy, a book I thought was pretty good, although I believe this one is more of a journalistic account, while Pietra Rivoli’s was a little more economics-focused. Anyway, I’m generally a fan of any account that gets beyond the oversimplified versions of ethics and consumption that tend to dominate. Check out the interview (transcript or audio) and see what you think.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

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