Thursday, January 23, 2014

Above, a worker named Jasmine from Bangladesh.
Below, a Columbian t-shirt factory.

Planet Money Makes a T-shirt series

Planet Money, a facet of NPR, produced a segment where they documented the manufacturing of a simple t-shirt, starting from the cotton farm and following the process all the way to the shipment of the final product around the world.  It's fascinating to see every step that goes into such a simple item that we consider cheap and disposable.  A LOT of resources - from water and raw materials, to labor and chemicals - goes into this mass production.  Is it okay for this to be the norm?

I particularly was intrigued by the "People" video chapter.  It contrasts the working conditions and motivations of people in the garment district of Bangladesh with those in more developed Columbia.  These people earn a fraction of the workers in Columbia.  Bangladesh was also the location of the recent factory collapse, where workers could not escape due to poor protocols.  

Demand for clothing provides jobs, sure.  But should we be concerned with the background scenes?  But what happens with the scraps, and the t-shirts that go unsold?  Is it really worth all this just to provide consumers a cheaper t-shirt?  Business supplies if there is a demand.  If we demand slower, more sustainable practices and better treatment for the workers, will we be able to change the whole industry?  Not that it's necessary to reverse it to the pre-Industrial Revoluation, but it cannot continue in the trajectory it's currently going.


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What is most interesting is fashion when it's living. I find it inspiring when people dress well - but in their unique interpretation. Searching for people who enjoy having fun with their style and make their own statements. If you want your picture removed, don't hesitate to contact me!
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