Latitudes host Rachel Louise Snyder recently finished a book about the global garment trade called Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Globe Trade. Here’s the official book blurb, and if you’d like to learn even more, visit Rachel’s website at Globalgrit.com.
FUGITIVE DENIM: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade (WW Norton)
In the business of making and selling clothes, “Made In” labels do precious little to convey the constellation of treaties, countries and people at work in the assembly of a simple pair of jeans. In Fugitive Denim journalist Rachel Louise Snyder reports from the far reaches of this multi-billion dollar industry in search of the real people who make your clothes. In Azerbaijan she meets Mehman, a cotton classer, Ganira, a cotton picker, and Vasif, a cotton gin owner. A trip to Italy brings her the denim designers Pascal and Ariana. The factories of Cambodia produce Nat and Ry, women from the countryside who now live in the city of Phnom Penh. In New York we find Rogan and Scott, business partners who eventually team up with Bono and his wife to launch the Edun clothing line. Throughout the book, Snyder reveals the often obscure links between people from wildly different cultures and personal situations. At the same time, she investigates the manufacturing process itself, considering the feasibility of organic cotton, analyzing the environmental effects of dyes and exploring the regulations that govern factories. In a disarming and humorous voice, she ponders questions of equity, sweatshops and corporate social responsibility through narratives of individual people, making an often academic subject accessible and compelling. Neither polemic nor prescription, Fugitive Denim captures what it means to be at work in the world in the twenty-first century.