Friday, March 30, 2007

Old Clothes Go Global

What happens to the clothes you give to thrift stores? Read Paula Bock's fascinating article on how clothes get recycled through our modern economy ... Here's an excerpt:

Globalization isn't just about outsourcing. It's also about rags, as used clothes are known in industry lingo. Lots of rags. Last year in this country, we spent a collective $282 billion on new duds, and to clear space for fresh fashion, the average American got rid of 68 pounds of clothing and textiles, billions of bags donated to thrift stores.

That once-beloved spring dress - now oh-so-yesterday and a squidge too tight - has a chance at new life if it's snagged for $3.99 by an immigrant, an artist, a well-heeled bargain shopper.

And if not? After 30 days, the twice-spurned chemise sells for pennies-a-pound on the secondary market and starts a journey that careens from the Port of Tacoma to a factory in India to a Ugandan bazaar.

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