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Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion Paperback – August 27, 2013
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“Cline is the Michael Pollan of fashion…Hysterical levels of sartorial consumption are terrible for the environment, for workers, and even, ironically, for the way we look.”
—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
About the Author
Elizabeth L. Cline has written for AMCtv.com, The Daily Beast, New York, The Etsy Blog, Popular Science, The New Republic, The Village Voice and seedmagazine.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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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.