02 November, 2013

Overdressed : the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion by Elizabeth L Cline [Ina, Mt Albert Library]

I love clothes - and all the good fun about fashion and dressing up, so it's  quite a lot on my mind. But there is one side to it all that I could never really explain and sometimes pondered about: How come the tiniest other purchases have substantial costs but clothes can become down-right dirt cheap - something like $7 for a pair of shoes or something ridiculous like that?
I could never fathom how it could be produced so cheap that it's cheaper than a meal out. On your lunch break you could think - do I want to get sushi or rather a cute T-Shirt? Having experienced the pain and struggle to (try and) create my own little fashion experiments, I know that it takes time and skill to produce something decent. And clothes under $20 just can't really represent the work involved to make these things. So I always had a nagging doubt about cheap clothes - it feels a bit as if dirt cheap is more dirty than I thought.
Enter Elizabeth Cline. She has written a BRILLIANT book about the subject and has researched in depth and hands on about the issue. Turns out that fast fashion has vastly destroyed the (American) local garment industry and is about to take the whole world with it. It hurts to read the book sometimes, especially when learning about working conditions and environmental impact.
Cline addresses the issue from all these various angles and more, travelling all over the world to find the answers and bringing real insight into what is really going on. Then, she tells us how she reacted to her findings and what she wears today. It's hard to quit cheap fashion, especially as it resembles food: we have to wear (/eat) something.

What I loved about the book is that it shakes you awake. Even if you don't or can't give up cheap fashion, it makes you think about what your wear, where and how much you buy and how it makes you feel. It's worth doing that and we need to do it. Getting informed is the first step, so I feel this book needs to be recommended - it changed how I saw fast fashion.

Title: Overdressed : the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion 
Author: Elizabeth L. Cline
ISBN: 9781591844617

Published: 2012Publisher: Penguin/ Portfolio


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