Disrobed: How Clothing Predicts Economic Cycles, Saves Lives, and Determines the Future

Disrobed: How Clothing Predicts Economic Cycles, Saves Lives, and Determines the Future

by Syl Tang
Disrobed: How Clothing Predicts Economic Cycles, Saves Lives, and Determines the Future

Disrobed: How Clothing Predicts Economic Cycles, Saves Lives, and Determines the Future

by Syl Tang


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We may not often think of our clothes as having a function beyond covering our naked bodies and keeping us a little safer from the elements. But to discount the enormous influence of clothing on anything from economic cycles to the future of water scarcity is to ignore the greater meaning of the garments we put on our backs. Disrobed vividly considers the role that clothing plays in everything from natural disasters to climate change to terrorism to geopolitics to agribusiness. Chapter by chapter, Tang takes the reader on an unusual journey, telling stories and asking questions that most consumers have never considered about their clothing. Why do banker’s wives sell off their clothes and how does that presage a recession? How is clothing linked to ethanol and starvation on the African continent? Could RFID in clothing save the lives of millions of people in earthquakes around the world? This book takes an everyday item and considers it in a way that readers may not have previously thought possible. It tackles topics relevant to today, everything from fakes in the museums to farm-to-table eating, and answers questions about how we can anticipate and change our world in areas as far-reaching as the environment, politics, and the clash of civilizations occurring between countries. Much like other pop economics books have done before, the stories are easily retold in water-cooler style, allowing them to be thoughtfully considered, argued, and discussed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442270992
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/28/2017
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Syl Tang is CEO and founder of the 19-year old HipGuide Inc. A futurist, her focus is how and why we consume, with an eye towards world events such as natural disasters, geo-political clashes, and pandemics. She has written hundreds of articles on the confluence of world events and soft goods for the Financial Times, predicting and documenting trends such as the Apple watch and other smart wearables, lab-made diamonds, the Department of Defense’s funding of Afghan jewelry companies, the effects of global warming on South Sea pearls, and the unsolved murder of tanzanite speculator Campbell Bridges. Her brand consulting work focuses on helping companies including Diageo, Revlon and the State of Michigan. She is behind the launches of some of the most well-known beauty, beverage, automotive and urban development efforts including category changers such as frozen alcohol and mineral makeup. In addition to developing her site, in 1999 she created the first mobile lifestyle texting product in the market and predicted mobile couponing as it exists today. Her company HipGuide is a case study taught in universities around the world, from Dubai to Nova Scotia to Purdue, through a textbook series.  

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Introducing the central idea of the book: Clothing is a bellwether, a canary in a coal mine, a tool.

Did clothing predict Donald Trump would win?

How you can see the effects of Hurricane Katrina at your neighborhood TJ Maxx

You can use clothing to predict changes in the world

Clothing tells you what large groups of people are thinking, even before they know themselves

Clothing can save your life

1 Are You Wearing Your Lucky Jersey? 1

Using clothing to read others' minds and thoughts

Why your banker being superstitious indicates a recession is coming

Why even math-based people don't always make decisions using facts

How we wear our emotions and possibly our intent

Clothing tells you what people are afraid of and what they are planning

How clothing is data

2 You Already Know if that's a Fake in the Museum 15

How clothing is linked to worldwide cons in science and finance

How a fake might wend its way into a museum

Malcolm McLarens decades-long war against auction houses

You already have the tools to tell if you're being conned

Why speakeasies are bogus

What résumés and cloning have to do with the financial crisis

How clothing can tell you when the next financial fraud is coming

3 Bankers' Wives are Laundering Money 37

How resale shops just happen to forecast recessions

How Livestrong and Fitbit came to change city maps worldwide

Recycling, this generations peace symbol

Are we consuming more just to claim we are being green rather than just, actually, being green?

How clothing is a weapon of money and power in a divorce

The wife "bonus"

How consumption patterns of the seemingly recession-proof superrich are, in fact, predictors of recession

4 Not Shopping Could Save the Planet 51

We are running out of drinking water, and how our retail behaviors could solve that

What is freecycling? How could it save our earth?

Choosing to machine-wash or dry-clean your clothes could mean the end of sushi

How being cheap became trendy

What the 1980s cash-for-gold commercials and Marie Kondo have in common

The circular economy

Buying one less pair of jeans provides water for the population of Avon, Colorado

The China effect, or when the worlds biggest shoppers might stop buying.

5 Is Your Cotton Shirt Causing Starvation? 69

Food or clothing; we might not be able to have both

Why foraging is just a really, really bad idea

How farm-to-table is possibly causing starvation in Africa

Natural fabric?

Cotton farmers have the highest rate of farmer cancers

Is your T-shirt causing famine?

GMOs, bamboo, fracking, and how one man crossed two continents just to grow his own cotton

Ethanol and the resulting food crises

Why avocado toast is the new blood diamond

6 Can Clothing Save the Lives of Millions? 85

Can existing wearable technology alter the death rate of natural disasters forever?

How a watch could save your life in an earthquake

A Hong Kong coin shortage led to our connected world

Can clothing protect you in a post 9/11 universe?

Ball caps and jackets that could help Alzheimer's patients and prevent car accidents

A purse that could never be stolen

Shoes that could power a city grid

Military-grade facial recognition and how we are already using it

How American author Edward Bellamy predicted the coming cashless world in 1888

7 Burkinis and the Clash of Civilizations 103

How terrorism, clothing, and travel became inextricably linked

How social media made culture the new war, and how culture made clothing the new battleground

The French burkini ban and why laïcité means you should get naked

Why you are ten times more likely to die at the hands of LA gangs than at the hands of ISIS

What ideas about child abuse have to do with banning burkas

The difficulty of modesty in a Bollywood and Instagram world

How clothing became a weapon in the war against terrorism.

Conclusion: The Power to Change Everything 119

Acknowledgments 123

Notes 125

Index 159

About the Author 167

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