Thursday, October 3, 2013
Weekly Book Post: Over-Dressed
We've been hearing the story of sweatshop labor and outsourcing in the clothing industry for a very long time now. And it's not that this story isn't important - it's very very important but we've mostly stopped listening. Every now and then something shocking happens that makes us pay attention to it again, but then we quickly go back to the status quo.
I borrowed the book Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion from the library because it was featured on The Non-Consumer Advocate, and because I have been mulling over ethical clothing choices since the latest Bangladesh factory tragedy. I expected there would be talk about sweat shop labor, but the book covers more than that.
Cline covers the story of how we became addicted to fast fashion, how design and retail has become more generic, and what happens to all the clothing we discard (68 lbs of textiles per person go into the landfill in the US every year!), and what the environmental impact of manufacturing all that clothing is in the first place.
I found this book disturbing and compelling. If you haven't even thought about how your cheap, fast, almost disposable clothing impacts the world, this will be eye-opening. If you have been thinking about it, as I had been, this will add further breadth to the issue for you. Overall, I think everyone who wears clothes should read at least part of this book.
(If you don't have time/inclination to read the book, there is also a good list of What We Can Do on the book's website.)