ISBN-10:
1118277554
ISBN-13:
9781118277553
Pub. Date:
04/24/2012
Publisher:
Wiley
Where am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes / Edition 2

Where am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes / Edition 2

by Kelsey Timmerman
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118277553
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Series: Where am I? Series
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 237,125
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

KELSEY TIMMERMAN is a freelance journalist and public speaker. He's spent the night in Castle Dracula in Romania, gone undercover as an underwear buyer in Bangladesh, and taught an island village to play baseball in Honduras. His writing has appeared in publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and has aired on NPR.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Prologue: We Have It Made xv

Part I The Mission 1

Chapter 1 A Consumer Goes Global 3

Chapter 2 Tattoo’s Tropical Paradise 13

Chapter 3 Fake Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Anti-SweatshopProtestors 17

Part II My Underwear: Made in Bangladesh 21

Chapter 4 Jingle These 23

Chapter 5 Undercover in the Underwear Biz 31

Chapter 6 Bangladesh Amusement Park 37

Chapter 7 Inside My First Sweatshop 43

Chapter 8 Child Labor in Action 49

Chapter 9 Arifa, the Garment Worker 55

Chapter 10 Hope 63

Chapter 11 No Black and White, Only Green 69

Update for Revised Edition: Hungry for Choices 75

Part III My Pants: Made in Cambodia 79

Chapter 12 Labor Day 81

Chapter 13 Year Zero 87

Chapter 14 Those Who Wear Levi's 93

Chapter 15 Those Who Make Levi's 99

Chapter 16 Blue Jean Machine 111

Chapter 17 Progress 121

Chapter 18 Treasure and Trash 129

Update for Revised Edition: The Faces of Crisis 135

Part IV My Flip-Flops: Made in China 139

Chapter 19 PO'ed VP 141

Chapter 20 Life at the Bottom 149

Chapter 21 Growing Pains 159

Chapter 22 The Real China 169

Chapter 23 On a Budget 177

Chapter 24 An All-American Chinese Walmart 181

Chapter 25 The Chinese Fantasy 187

Update for Revised Edition: Migration 193

Part V Made in America 197

Chapter 26 For Richer, for Poorer 199

Update for Revised Edition: Restarting, Again 211

Chapter 27 Return to Fantasy Island 215

Chapter 28 Amilcar’s Journey 229

Chapter 29 An American Dream 237

Chapter 30 Touron Goes Glocal 249

Appendix A Discussion Questions 269

Appendix B Note to Freshman Me 275

Appendix C Where Are You Teaching?: A Guide to Taking Where Am IWearing? to a Glocal Context 279

Acknowledgments 285

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Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little slow but I learned a lot and it was really surprising to learn where our clothes come from. Highly recommend 
SpongeBobFishpants on LibraryThing 10 months ago
"Where Am I Wearing" presents an intriguing premise, the search for the origins of the clothes all of us wear and few of us consider. With today's increased interest in the origins and ingredients in what we put in our bodies, what we put ON our bodies has been sadly neglected by popular investigative journalism. Given that, I had high hopes for this book. Admittedly my own idea of the typical garment worker has been one of micromanaged Chinese workers who dare not say, or do, anything that is not approved by management lest they suddenly find themselves out of a job and possibly a place to live. And to some extent that appears true. Kelsey did a remarkable job presenting the varied conditions that garment workers exist under, be they Chinese, American, or Cambodian. The problem I had with this book was not content, rather it was style. The book is short but the writing, particularly in the first half is slow, making the book seem much longer than it really is. In addition, the author seems to bounce from worker to worker, sometimes with little segue. This serves to make the transitions seem jerky, almost as though the reader is stepping into the middle of a conversation. Stylistic difference aside, the book serves one purpose well... what may have seemed cut and dried following Kathy lee Gifford's tearful "sweatshop denial" is in truth, not so cut and dried. It emphasizes and confirms what many of us already feel about most of what we buy today, that the interconnected webs of environment, workers, management, government and carbon footprints have made "responsible" choice no longer clear but rather a rainbow of grays, often with no clear course. Is child labor necessarily bad if that child's only other alternative is begging and sleeping on the street?
dudara on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Kelsey Timmerman is a travel writer who blogs at Where Am I Wearing? One day he took notice of the labels inside his clothes and a quest began. I liked the fact that Timmerman's first trip to Honduras to meet some garment factory workers turns out to be not such a success. He found it difficult to frame questions to workers, consequently feelt embarassed and returned home without having really achieved anything. I found this honesty refreshing and in stark contrast to the bolshy attitude of many crusaders.However, the question remained in Timmerman's mind, and he decided to try again. He travels to Bangladesh where he gains access to a garment factory under the "guise" of an American website owner on the quest for cheaper merchandising. To our hilarity, the aforementioned Jingle These boxers are examined minutely by the garment factory manufacturers in order to determine their providence. He shares a day with Arifa, a determined and able worker in one of the Bangladeshi factories.Timmerman continues his on his journey to Cambodia where he befriends a group of young female garment factory workers who make jeans andtakes them bowling and for pizaza, much to their bemusement. He then proceeds to China where he meets a young couple who live far apart from their son and family in order to work at the factory where the author's flip flops were made.In all instances, Timmerman describes the surrounding economic situation of the country and the context/importance of the garment industry within that country. He reviews the western attitude to sweatshops and child labour. Overall, the reader is left with the conclusion that the author didn't visit anywhere that would disgust us, but rather visited places where life is tough and the only option open to many people is to work long, hard hours. It's not the child labour itself that is awful, but the fact that it is a necessity for many children in the developing world to work.Despite Timmerman's journey, there is a distinct sensation of dis-involvement (is that a word?) or distance in the book. The author doesn't really make any moral judgements, but rather presents the facts for us to read and review. The pace of the first half of the book is somewhat lacklustre but it does gain some momentum and attraction in the second half as the author himself appears to warm to his quest.The book is written very much in the style of a blogger, as opposed to a serious journalist, and is a suitable read for someone wishing to learn more about the world of cheap, mass-produced clothing. Timmerman doesn't overwhelm us with statistics and obscure legalities and economics, but presents it as he saw it. The decision is up to you.
leadmomma on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book takes you places you had never considered and makes you look at your clothing in new ways. I thought that Kelsey was respectful with his subjects -- without being preachy, overly sentimental or having a strong agenda. While he raised ethical issues and questions around clothing production and the conditions people work in -- he did so in a way that is a conversation starter (rather than a my way or the highway you get with some authors). This book could be used in a high school or college classroom as a way to discuss globalization or economics in a way that might lead to more discussion than a traditional textbook. I think it would also be an interesting book group choice because there are interesting issues that could be talked about that many people might not have considered.
TheBoltChick on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Anytime I can find a book that causes me to re-examine my own viewpoints, I think it is fascinating. Such is the case with this book. The author travels to various places around the world to try and meet the people that actually made his clothes. I have always tried very hard to not buy clothes made in sweat shops, but this book gives the whole industry a different perspective. In some cases these "sweat shops" are among the best form of employment in these countries.At one point the author makes a comparison of these countries to our own at the turn of the last century. The working conditions for garment workers, as well as the bulk of the American people were very similar. These nations are developing, and with the exception of China, the people's working conditions are slowly developing too.I found this book to be a quick read and marvelously informative.
jocraddock on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Do I buy the shoes made with underpaid Indonesian labor? How do the people live who made the T-shirt I got from the blood bank? Answers to these and other questions in a fascinating study of travel and sociology. This should be on high school/college English/sociology/political science book lists.
anysia on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Timmerman¿s conversational account of his journey makes the book accessible to a wide audience. It¿s about the people, all over the world, trying to get by, and trying to make a better life for themselves. Timmerman spends the day with garment workers, takes us into the workers¿ homes and neighborhoods, and lets us visit their families. We see the world around them and surprisingly find out that some of these workers are the lucky ones. Sometimes, making clothes is the good job. We are shown what happens when multinational corporations insist on a minimum age for workers at the behest of their customers. Some of the kids who would be working in those garment factories end up begging on the street instead, or picking through garbage dumps. Barring them from working in garment factories doesn¿t mean they don¿t work; it just means they don¿t work making clothes ¿ sometimes they end up with worse jobs.My one issue with this book is that the emphasis on the different living standards in North America and Europe compared to the countries where many of the world¿s clothes are made becomes repetitive after a while. It comes across as the natural consequence of travelling and having your eyes opened, but I felt that sometimes the experiences spoke for themselves and didn¿t need explicit comments about the disparity in living standards. Depending on your mindset and your travel experiences, this may not be an issue for you. Having said that, I still needed to put the labels on my clothes in human terms, which this book helped me do, and I did enjoy the journey.Going with Timmerman on his journey will get you thinking about your clothes in a whole new way (and if you want to do your own investigation, there¿s a tongue-in-cheek guide to finding out where your clothes are made at the end of the book).
efoltz on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The book is short, with few words and pictures. The premise was a good idea- to meet the people who make your clothes. At times, the book felt disjointed when author tried to tie in other events in his life such as getting married. The book gives pluses and minues about the clothing workers lives.
moneysaver3 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I have just finished reading one of the most provocative books I have ever come across. This book left me intrigued and fascinated with where my clothes are made. Not only that, but it left me wanting to know the origin of everything I use on a daily basis. I doubt anyone could leave this book without feeling the need to do something. "Where Am I Wearing" chronicles author Kelsey Timmerman's journey through the companies, factories, and people who make his clothes. His journey takes him from Honduras to Bangladesh, from Cambodia to China, and back home again to a company and factory in the United States. "Sweatshop" is not an unfamiliar word to anyone in America. Yet Mr. Timmerman leaves his tour with a much different view of the word and the garment industry than the reader expects. Through his journey, Mr. Timmerman poses questions and proposes solutions that aren't typical of the garment-industry protester. In fact, he sets himself apart from these protesters by having actually visited the factories and met the people who make his clothes. As a homeschooling mom, Mr. Timmerman leaves me desiring to take a similar journey with my children. It's an experience every American could use in their lifetime. The reader should be aware that reading "Where Am I Wearing" might be uncomfortable. It might force you to look at your own life differently, and it will likely move you to action of some sort (even if just to look at your own tags before you get dressed in the morning). Mr. Timmerman took a chance when he jumped on a plane to Honduras. It was a chance worth taking as he has produced a well-written, thoughtful book that is WELL worth the read.
yoyogod on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Despite the fact that it was only 250 pages of not particularly dense or wordy text, I found Where am I Wearing?, by Kelsey Timmerman, to be pretty slow going. It's a first-hand account of his travels around the world, trying to visit the factories that made the clothes he wears.The opening chapters describing why he decided to write this book, and the brief mention of his trip to Honduras (where his t-shirt was made), and stuff about anti-Globalization people were all kind of boring. Once he got past that it started to pick up a bit. His trip to Bangladesh, where they made his boxers, was slightly more interesting. He learned a good bit about the country and its people, but the book was still failing to grip me at this point.Once he came to Cambodia, where his jeans were made, it became more interesting. There was a lot more about him trying to connect to the workers who made his jeans. Yes, he spent some time with a Bangladeshi worker called Arifa, but he didn't seem to devote as much space trying to connect to her. He takes the Cambodians bowling and goes with them to visit their home village. He does something similar for the Chinese workers who made his flip flops. After that, he makes a brief stop at the American factory that made his favorite shorts 15 years ago.It's mostly a good book, once it pick up about halfway through. Though I do find his harping on how much richer American are than the people who make their clothes to be annoying. Still, it is an interesting book.
nobooksnolife on LibraryThing 10 months ago
If you wear clothes, this book is for you.This outstanding little book should not be missed¿it is worth reading and discussing in every household and classroom in America. Do you know where your clothes were made, by what types of people and under what circumstances? Do you care? Should you care? This intriguing book looks into these issues and more, yet its tone is refreshingly accessible and unpreachy.All-American Kelsey Timmerman noticed that his typical ensemble of T-shirt, jeans, boxers, and flip-flops, all bore tags declaring their foreign manufacture in places such as Honduras, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and China. His curiosity (and his experience as a travel writer) became a mission to visit the places and meet the people who actually made his clothes. With a backpack, notebook, camera, the clothes on his back, and a mixture of guileless intelligence, he set out to explore the globalization of the garment industry, up close and personal.His approach is to minimize the intrusive effects of his inquiry into the factories' operations and the lives of the workers by keeping his visits as unofficial as possible. He is just an ordinary guy who happens to be interested in the origin of his underwear. Although he has heard about sweatshops, child labor and unfit working conditions, he wants to see for himself. He wants to know if it's possible to be an informed, engaged consumer. His journey helps us see that we can all be better informed. The people who make our clothes all have names, faces, needs and dreams."[In Bangladesh] Asad leads us past a high table with neat stacks of cloth. A few of the workers standing around the table hold what appear to be giant electric bread cutters with blades two-feet long. One woman marks the cloth using a pattern and then sets to slicing. She cuts the outline of a T-shirt. Plumes of cotton dust fill the air¿the factory is clean, exits are marked, and fans maintain a nice breeze. The conditions seem fine. They are much better than I had expected, and I'm relieved."In Cambodia, eight young women garment workers share an 8' by 12' room that has a squat toilet and a water spigot. They earn between $45 and $70 per week and send home as much as possible to support family members in the countryside. Many of them miss the culture of family and village but they are well aware of the necessity of their work to their families' survival.Seeing these and many more disparities between the lives of foreign garment workers and the lives of average American consumers, Timmerman is guarded about sharing details of his life with those he interviews. However, he eventually decides that "not knowing is the problem" on both sides. When he tells the Chinese couple about his first¿and second¿mortgages, they find unlikely solidarity in their mutual states of indebtedness.This book is far from a "them" and "us" comparison and guilt trip. There are many complicated issues interwoven here, to be considered and discussed. The warp and woof of economic/social pluses and minuses is a constantly changing pattern, and the questions¿what and where to buy, how to support or protest industry conditions, how to maintain American jobs, how to influence human rights¿necessitate the participation of what the author terms "engaged consumers."Where Am I Wearing? gives an excellent starting point discussions in order to make informed decisions, as we determine a responsible course as the leading consumers of garments and other manufactured goods in the worldwide economic balance.
Wrighty on LibraryThing 10 months ago
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 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 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 on 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 things. 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 whereamiwearing.comI would like to thank John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Shelf Awareness for this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you read a book that is so boring you can't find much if anything to say but "boring". The book is so slow and I didn't learn anything from it. Don't waste your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really eye opening as to where your clothes are made.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Twink More than 1 year ago
Well, it seems kind of appropriate that Where Am I Wearing is being released today from John Wiley & Sons. After all it's Black Friday this week in the U.S.

Many of us will be buying clothes for gifts or ourselves. But do you ever really wonder where the item is made? Do you look at the tag as part of your decision or are you just happy to get a good deal?

Kelsey Timmerman did a little bit more that wonder. He decided to find the factory in Bangladesh that produced his favourite 'Jingle These' boxers. And his jeans, tee-shirt and flip flops.

And so off he treks to the other side of the world to discover the origins of his clothes.

In Bangladesh, he poses as an underwear buyer to gain entrance to view the factories. While most of us will speak out against sweatshop labour, Kelsey finds that nothing is as cut and dried when faced with actual people and their lives.

"My own conclusion, after visiting Bangladesh, is that we should not be ashamed that our clothes are made by children so much as ashamed that we live in a world where child labor is often necessary for survival."

He has great fun with some street kids, taking twenty of them to an amusement park for the same price it would take to get one American kid into Disney World.

It is this aspect that I enjoyed the most in Timmerman's book - the personal level of interaction - meeting with and talking to the actual workers of the garment industries he visited in their own environments.

Timmerman's writing style is entertaining and candid, but still explores the history of the garment industry and what is being done to reform it.

In Cambodia, home to his treasured pair of blue jeans, he discovers that 75% of the country's exports are garments. Again, it is the personal stories of the eight female workers sharing a 96 sq. ft. room that grabbed me.

It is in China that he has the most difficulty accessing a factory. But he connects with a married couple working in the flip flop factory. They provide for family back in their rural village and have not seen their son in three years. Kelsey decides to go to the village to visit.

Back in the US he visits a garment factory that made his oldest and still wearable shorts.

Timmerman provides no black and white answers but instead gives us much food for thought. Where am I Wearing is a fascinating, eye-opening, thought provoking read that will have you reading tags just to see where your favourite piece of clothing was made. Perhaps it will make you think a little bit longer before you get out the wallet and help you become an informed consumer.

"When I walk into my closet, I think about the hundreds - if not thousands- of people around the world who had a hand in making my clothes. Jeans are no longer just jeans, shirts no longer just shirts, shoes no longer just shoes, clothes are no longer just clothes. Each is an untold story."

(So far - Canada, US, Bangladesh, Taiwan and China - what about yours?)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nobooksnolife More than 1 year ago
This outstanding little book should not be missed¿it is worth reading and discussing in every household and classroom in America. Do you know where your clothes were made, by what types of people and under what circumstances? Do you care? Should you care? This intriguing book looks into these issues and more, yet its tone is refreshingly accessible and unpreachy.

All-American Kelsey Timmerman noticed that his typical ensemble of T-shirt, jeans, boxers, and flip-flops, all bore tags declaring their foreign manufacture in places such as Honduras, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and China. His curiosity (and his experience as a travel writer) became a mission to visit the places and meet the people who actually made his clothes. With a backpack, notebook, camera, the clothes on his back, and a mixture of guileless intelligence, he set out to explore the globalization of the garment industry, up close and personal.

His approach is to minimize the intrusive effects of his inquiry into the factories' operations and the lives of the workers by keeping his visits as unofficial as possible. He is just an ordinary guy who happens to be interested in the origin of his underwear. Although he has heard about sweatshops, child labor and unfit working conditions, he wants to see for himself. He wants to know if it's possible to be an informed, engaged consumer. His journey helps us see that we can all be better informed. The people who make our clothes all have names, faces, needs and dreams.

"[In Bangladesh] Asad leads us past a high table with neat stacks of cloth. A few of the workers standing around the table hold what appear to be giant electric bread cutters with blades two-feet long. One woman marks the cloth using a pattern and then sets to slicing. She cuts the outline of a T-shirt. Plumes of cotton dust fill the air¿the factory is clean, exits are marked, and fans maintain a nice breeze. The conditions seem fine. They are much better than I had expected, and I'm relieved."

In Cambodia, eight young women garment workers share an 8' by 12' room that has a squat toilet and a water spigot. They earn between $45 and $70 per week and send home as much as possible to support family members in the countryside. Many of them miss the culture of family and village but they are well aware of the necessity of their work to their families' survival.

Seeing these and many more disparities between the lives of foreign garment workers and the lives of average American consumers, Timmerman is guarded about sharing details of his life with those he interviews. However, he eventually decides that "not knowing is the problem" on both sides. When he tells the Chinese couple about his first¿and second¿mortgages, they find unlikely solidarity in their mutual states of indebtedness.

This book is far from a "them" and "us" comparison and guilt trip. There are many complicated issues interwoven here, to be considered and discussed. The warp and woof of economic and social pluses and minuses is a constantly changing pattern, and the questions¿what and where to buy, how to support or protest industry conditions, how to maintain American jobs, how to influence human rights¿necessitate the participation of what the author terms "engaged consumers."