Travel the Globe...With A T-Shirt

 Sarah Elliot for NPR

Sarah Elliot for NPR

If you're like us, you can't sit still. In the past year I've been to Istanbul, Singapore, London, and Dublin, just to name a few. And though I've loved seeing the world, experiencing different cultures, and taking a small break from 'real life,' in some sense I didn't experience the real lives of the people in these places. I didn't experience the hardships people go through or the tough jobs that they endure - even in America how often do we step back and think about the people behind our products?

Planet Money's "T-Shirt Project" podcasts do just this by tracking the lifecycle of the simplest garment of all - the tshirt. The eleven installment series guides us through the US cotton fields to a spinning factory in Indonesia, a garment factory in Bangladesh, and a used clothes market in Africa. Throughout this NPR series, questions about work, trade, and the role of clothing are raised, reminding us that the issues of garment production are prevalent and global, and go beyond the garment factory.

The Consumerist shared eight takeaways from this series, including how shockingly cheap it is to ship goods to new countries for each step of the production process. Personally, we were struck by the discussion of the afterlife of American clothes. Listen to the Introduction of the podcast below, and, if you're interested in this topic, be sure to read Rivoli's The Travels of A T-shirt in the Global Economy

Moral of the Story: Garment production is global and goes beyond just the garment workers who sew our clothes.