Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where Am I Wearing by Kelsey Timmerman

A Global Tour to the Countries,
Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes.

One day, while staring at a pile of clothes on the floor, I noticed the tag of my favorite
T-shirt: Made in Honduras. I read the tag. My mind wandered. A quest was born.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. It's described as:
"A travel journalist's look into the countries, factories, and people that make our clothes."
Would it be a reference book? A journal? I was quite pleasantly surprised. Kelsey Timmerman is a freelance journalist and traveler. After developing an interest in globalization and the history of the garment industry he wanted to know where his clothing came from and who made it. He decided to find out and began a journey to different parts of the world. He was a consumer on a quest to bridge the gap between producer and consumer. Along the way he discovers and explains how communism, consumerism and globalization affect us all.

He begins his journey in Honduras to discover who made his T-shirt. Answers do not come easy and he is not allowed access to the clothing factory. He can only gather bits of information from workers and he returns home with feelings of failure. Haunted by worker's faces and still seeking answers he leaves for Bangladesh to see who made his underwear. As he made progress he continued on to Cambodia to find out who made his pants (Levi's), China for his flip flops and finally his shorts that were made in the U.S.A. Many places offered their workers very little money and harsh working conditions. Since the unemployment rate is often high they have little choice but to work there. He spends time in each place and also learns about the people and their cultures. He is invited into homes and eats meals with them. These people are no longer faceless workers. He even compares the success of Wal-Mart in China to the U.S. The company must learn the distinct differences in the culture and adapt to succeed. While the Chinese have great interest in our Western ways and the store plays our rock and roll music and stocks such toys as Barbie dolls (only the Caucasian version, strangely no Asian Barbies are sold there.) they also provide live fish and eels in the food section and have little parking since few people drive there. Kelsey finishes his tour in the United States in a small town that makes sportswear. I was very surprised to learn that he chose the site of a former Champion factory in Perry, NY. It's near Buffalo in the Eastern part of the state and less than two hours from where I live! I have been to the town, I have been to the store. That's a strange coincidence when you live in as small an area as I do.

This really was an interesting book. I didn't think I would care about this topic or understand it but the author did a great job explaining it. He made the issues personal. He also provided detailed steps how we all can find out where we are wearing. The readers will have a hard time looking at their clothing the same way.

Kelsey Timmerman is a freelance journalist who has articles on several publications and who maintains a travel blog called

I would like to thank John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Shelf Awareness for this book.

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to drop by and wish you an awesome Thanksgiving.


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