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Overdressed : the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Health, Mind and Body
Clothing and dress
Fashion industry
Human rights
Social responsibility of business
- United States
Bangladesh - Asia
China - Asia
Time Period
-- 20th-21st century
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Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

The good news for shoppers, notes Brooklyn journalist Cline in her engagingly pointed, earnestly researched study, is that cheap knockoffs of designer clothing can be found in discount stores almost instantly. The bad news is that "fast fashion" has killed America's garment industry and wreaked havoc on wages and the environment, especially in China, where most of the cheap clothes and textiles are now made. A self-described shopaholic of low-end stores H&M and Forever 21, which emerged from the first budget retailers in the 1990s like Old Navy and Target, which marketed cheap fashion as chic, Cline traces the phenomenon soup-to-nuts from the sad consolidation of the big department stores and depletion of New York's garment district, once supplying the massive labor needed for making clothes. From there, she takes her narrative to the factories overseas where workers are paid a fraction of what Americans earn. Cheap imports flooded the U.S. market, for example, shutting down textile mecca Inman Mills, in Greenville, S.C. Cline visited the root of inequity at massive, state-of-the-art factories in China where millions of "flavor-of-the-month" garments are manufactured for export, creating a new middle class for some Chinese while locking the lowest paid workers (also in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam) in nonunion, slave-like poverty. As the fabrication of artificial fibers takes a walloping environmental toll, Cline urges, in her sharp wakeup call, a virtuous return to sewing, retooling, and buying eco-friendly "slow fashion." (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
<p> Like The Omnivore's Dilemma did for food, Overdressed shows us the way back to feeling good about what we wear. </p> <p>Fast fashion and disposable clothing have become our new norms. We buy ten-dollar shoes from Target that disintegrate within a month and make weekly pilgrimages to Forever 21 and H&M. Elizabeth Cline argues that this rapid cycle of consumption isn't just erasing our sense of style and causing massive harm to the environment and human rights-it's also bad for our souls.</p> <p>Cline documents her own transformation from fast-fashion addict to conscientious shopper. She takes a long look at her overstuffed closet, resoles her cheap imported boots, travels to the world's only living-wage garment factory, and seeks out cutting-edge local and sustainable fashion, all on her journey to find antidotes to out-of-control shopping.</p> <p>Cline looks at the impact here and abroad of America's drastic increase in inexpensive clothing imports, visiting cheap-chic factories in Bangladesh and China and exploring the problems caused by all those castoffs we donate to the Salvation Army. She also shows how consumers can vote with their dollars to grow the sustainable clothing industry, reign in the conventional apparel market, and wear their clothes with pride.</p>
Table of Contents
Introduction Seven Pairs of $7 Shoesp. 1
1"I Have Enough Clothing to Open a Store"p. 11
2How America Lost Its Shirtsp. 36
3High and Low Fashion Make Friendsp. 62
4Fast Fashionp. 95
5The Afterlife of Cheap Clothesp. 119
6Sewing Is a Good Job, a Great Jobp. 138
7China and the End of Cheap Fashionp. 161
8Make, Alter, and Mendp. 187
9The Future of Fashionp. 207
Acknowledgmentsp. 223
Notesp. 225
Indexp. 237
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