Worn: A People’s History Of Clothing – Sofi Thanhauser
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A sweeping and captivatingly told history of clothing and the stuff it’s made of–an unparalleled deep dive into how we’ve made what we wear, and how our garments have transformed our societies, our planet, and our lives.
In this ambitious, panoramic social history, Sofi Thanhauser brilliantly tells five stories–Linen, Cotton, Silk, Synthetics, Wool–about the clothes we wear and where they come from, illuminating our world in unexpected ways. She takes us from the opulent court of Louis Quatorze to the labor camps in modern-day Chinese-occupied Xinjiang. We see how textiles were once dyed from lichen, shells, bark, saffron, and beetles, displaying distinctive regional weaves and knits, and how the modern Western garment industry has refashioned our attire into the homogenous and disposable uniforms popularized by fast fashion brands. Thanhauser makes clear how the clothing industry has become one of the planet’s worst polluters, relying on chronically underpaid and exploited laborers. But she also shows us how micro-communities and companies of textile and clothing makers in every corner of the world are rediscovering ancestral and ethical methods for making what we wear.
Drawn from years of intensive research and reporting from around the world, and brimming with fascinating anecdotal material, Worn reveals to us that our clothing comes not just from the countries listed on the tags or ready-made from our factories–it comes, as well, from deep in our histories.
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