Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion (Anglais) Broché – 27 août 2013
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Revue de presse
—Michelle Goldberg, Newsweek/The Daily Beast
“How did Americans end up with closets crammed with flimsy, ridiculously cheap garments? Elizabeth Cline travels the world to trace the rise of fast fashion and its cost in human misery, environmental damage, and common sense.”
—Katha Pollitt, columnist for The Nation
“Overdressed is eye-opening and definitely turns retailing on its head. Cline’s insightful book reveals the serious problems facing our industry today. The tremendous values and advantages of domestic production are often ignored in favor of a price point that makes clothing disposable.”
—Erica Wolf, executive director, Save the Garment Center
Présentation de l'éditeur
Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenny now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. And we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.
Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut. What are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?
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Then she does physical research to follow the millions of tons of clothes that are given away to charities where they hire many people to sort and price and date them. After a few weeks the left over clothes are taken off the racks and sent to a rag man. That business then goes through them and picks out what ever high end clothes are in the bales. They, Cline says, are declining in charity stores as the fast fashion has taken over. The ragman sells them to antique stores. The rest are separated into useless and clothes to go to underprivileged countries. The useless ones are sent to recyclers to be chemically broken apart and re-spun, if, the fabric can be broken apart. Cline goes into details about the mess this fast fashion has left in the environments of the countries that are doing the work.
When Cline lost her job and it took a long time to find another one, she could not buy fast fashion and had started to doubt her need for them. She found a sewing teacher and gloried in her ability to hem her own dresses and pants, take in the too big garment, and make simple changes to make the fashions more her.
I think this book is a good eye opener for anyone who buys clothes, has seen the art of fashion deteriorated and have heard the stories of the devastation the industry is doing overseas. She does end it on a hopeful note that include, custom sewing, small local designers working with small productions people, selling in small stores.
I am now back to my old-fashioned (much more honorable) habit of consistently inspecting seams and hems for proper construction and looking for the "made in..." label. If we refuse to buy items created in sweatshops, our actions could lead to better working conditions throughout the world.
Oddly enough, the bad construction of cheap clothes puts consumers into the endless cycle of buying more of everything. If you can't fix your shoes or alter your clothes, then you need multiples of everything just to make sure something lasts through the season. Expectations of grooming and dress have become demanding, which means that there is more acceptance of cheap clothing. 60 years ago when every working woman wore a suit every day to work, her entire wardrobe was different. She didn't have 22 tops and 14 skirts -- she had five suits. And yet we see the connection between clothing and our behavior-- schools that expect specific behaviors usually have specific dress codes. (the author of Supersize Me also comments on how fast food -- and eating in your car -- disrupted the idea of set meal times. )
I am old enough to remember the grand department stores in big cities -- and the expectations both of dress and behavior that accompanied them. The author does not make the connection between larger houses (and greater house payments as proportion of income) and the growth of the shopping mall. Those grand department stores didn't need parking lots -- people took transit and had their purchases delivered by delivery truck (not FedEx). They shopped during the day, not on the way home from work at 8 pm. Our whole society has changed and the way we relate to food and clothing has followed.
This may be one of the first things I've seen that puts a "sustainable, green" cast on clothing consumption though. its ironic that Whole Foods sells cheap -- although organic and fair-traded -- teeshirts in the toiletries aisle. And those items are always manufactured overseas.
The author validated for me why shopping is no longer enjoyable. Who wants to stimulate China's economy? Her descriptions of the size and numbers of China's factories were both overwhelming and extremely upsetting. This book also confirmed my determination to buy American and to go the extra mile in seeking out American-made products. While she claimed that her primary reason to avoid fast fashion was on environmental grounds, she missed an opportunity to explore other factors contributing to the out-sourcing of American clothes; i.e. excessive government regulations as well as the damage done by unions. Nevertheless, she captured the "throw away" mentality that keeps the cheap clothes coming.