T-shirt vendors in Gikombo Market in central Nairobi wait to sell their wares.
From NPR’s Planet Money series The Afterlife of American Clothes:
Charities like Goodwill sell or give away some of the used clothes they get. But a lot of the clothes get sold, packed in bales and sent across the ocean in a container ship. The U.S. exports over a billion pounds of used clothing every year — and much of that winds up in used clothing markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
Knitting as Fan Art: matching sweater, gun, and flashlight cozy set, made by fan Kathy Calmejane for Sofie Gråbøl of Forbrydelse.
Henry Jenkins, eat your heart out!
As textile and apparel companies begin shifting more production to the United States, taking advantage of automation and other cost savings, a hard economic truth is emerging: Production of cheaper goods, for which consumers are looking for low prices, is by and large staying overseas, where manufacturers can find less expensive manufacturing. Even when consumers are confronted with the human costs of cheap production, like the factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 garment workers, garment makers say, they show little inclination to pay more for clothes.
Last year, Dillard’s, the midtier department store, wanted to promote American-made clothing, according to Fessler USA, an apparel maker in eastern Pennsylvania. It turned to Fessler to produce tops. Theirs was a brief relationship. “Almost overnight, they called and said, ‘Made in America just doesn’t sell better than made in Asia, and you can’t beat the price,’ ” said Walter Meck, Fessler’s chief executive and principal owner.
Eddie Redmayne (age 22) from Rowan Yarns’ Denim People (2004).
Tapestry with Figurative Scenes, Peru, 17th CenturyThis tapestry was produced by highly skilled Andean weavers. Its diverse iconography reflects the range of sources and ideas that informed the intellectual framework of colonial Andean society. Along with scenes from the Old Testament, classical Greek mythology, and local daily life, the amorphous central blue shape seems to reinterpret a Chinese symbol. At top left, three horsemen (possibly representing the Magi) wear European-style garments; above their heads is the enigmatic phrase Moussom Nessept. Although the precise meaning is unknown, moussom may relate to the Arabic mawsim, referring to trade winds that are favorable for sailing.
from the current Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Interwoven Globe: the World Textile Trade 1500-1800
1. Johnson/Goldwater Campaign Sweater, 1964
2. Jackson/Clay Campaign Sweater, 1832
from the series by Lisa Anne Auerbach: Campaign Sweaters, 2008.
These sweaters emblazoned with American presidential campaign slogans were shown at Aspen Art Museum and around Aspen, Colorado, during the runup and aftermath of the 2008 presidential election.
Each sweater was specific to a campaign year, and had slogans from major campaigning parties on them, in addition to the names of the candidates and the year of the election. Sweaters were shown in shop windows around Aspen and were available to museum visitors to check out and wear around town during the exhibition.
Say hello to Hiro!
To say I am pleased with how this sweater turned out would be a most egregious…
Sheep by Henry Moore. One of many etchings, collected in his Sheep Sketchbook, still in print.
Each small piece of fabric here represents the life of a baby left at the London Foundling Hospital in the 18th century. When a baby was brought to the hospital the mother left a piece of fabric as a means of identification in case she ever wanted to reclaim the child.
Once the babies were registered, they were effectively adopted – they were given new names and hospital-issue clothes. As the mother’s name was usually not recorded, the fabric was a safeguard to ensure only a close family member could ever reclaim the child.
The scraps, cut from either the mother’s or the baby’s clothing, were pinned to the registration documents.
The information that accompanies the swatches is often heartbreaking. The caption alongside a piece of fabric with a blue and burgundy flower reads: ‘A girl about 1 day old, admitted 4 March 1759. Named Sarah Tucker by the Foundling Hospital. Died 9 March 1759.’
A piece of patchwork ribbon belonged to a boy brought in on 11 February 1767. He was christened Charles, but the hospital named him Benjamin Twirl. When he was seven, his mother came to take him back. On one section of the patchwork an embroidered heart is visible, a design that would only become whole again once mother and child were reunited.
Currently on exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg: Threads of Feeling: Stories behind the babies left at the Foundling Hospital, London 1741-1760