Murketing reports about an interview on Marketplace with Rachel Louise Snyder's book ''Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade'' (whatever happened to short titles?)
I haven't read the book yet, but here's the interview...
Ryssdal: Rachel, nice to have you with us.
Rachel Louise Snyder: Thank you. Hi Kai.
Ryssdal: So listen, bear with me for a second, would you?
if I take my jeans off right now and look at the label inside -- I'm
not actually wearing jeans, but if I were -- it would only really have
one country as the "made in" label, right?
Snyder: Probably. I have to say, I'm so tempted to ask you if you're... you are wearing pants right?
am actually wearing pants -- the beauty of radio -- but just for the
sake of it, if it was jeans, only one name in that label. What's the
real story behind that?
really, it's not representative of the number of countries involved.
You'll have the cotton grown in a place like Uzbekistan or Azerbaijan
-- and in my book, it's Azerbaijan -- and maybe Turkey and then that's
woven, all the cotton from those countries is woven for consistency
into one large roll of fabric and then its dyed in a different country
like Italy and then sent maybe to India, where it might be cut, and
then sent somewhere else. But you might have six or eight different
countries involved in that process because of the way trade rules are
do we then, as American consumers, who want the cheapest prices but the
best quality products... I mean, is there a way for us when we go to
the store and finger through all these jeans... I mean, we can't
possibly know all this.
that's the real disappointing thing is that we've now come up with
these standards for food where it has to say where our food is
processed and where it's grown, but we don't have those same standards
for clothes and I think we need to. There is some ministry movement
toward more accurate representation, but as of yet, no law.
are now so conscious in this country of the pesticides on our foods and
where they come from and organic everything... you couldn't if you
tried do that with clothes because, first of all, they are so
chemically involved, but also it's so obscured by the route that they
take through the global economy.
true, that's true. It's been said that there are three-quarters of a
pound of chemicals used in the production and manufacture of our jeans.
A lot of those chemicals are washed off by the time they get to our
shelves, but they do have to go somewhere. I think the environmental
consequences are far graver.
there a moment in time that stands out for you in the lifespan of this
book -- not, that is to say, of the two-and-a-half years you spent
writing it, but a moment in time of the life cycle of this product?
of them, I would have to say, was just sitting out in the countryside
in Cambodia with this garment worker after I'd known her for about two
years and connecting all that she did in the factory to all that she
was able to give to her family. You know, they had a big house, they
had all these cows, they had a fish pond, they had a vegetable garden,
all kinds of things that they never had.
Ryssdal: All because of a pair of blue jeans.
you really sit down and think about it, do you think they are happy and
pleased with their role in the life cycle of the pair of jeans I have
on right now?
would say that they are more satisfied professionally, but I would say
that lives are more complicated than just simply profession. And so
there's things like, with the Cambodian women, you know, they still
live in a misogynistic, patriarchal society. So they still have to
contend with the fact that they're expected to go off and put their
brothers through school, but they themselves may never have a chance at
education. So in that way they're unhappy, but I think they're happy to
be earning money.
heard Rachel Louise Snyder on the program before. She's got a new book
out. It's called "Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in
the Borderless World of Global Trade." Rachel, thanks a lot for your
''Issued to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the James Bond
creator, Ian Fleming, each stamp begins with the cover from first
edition hardbacks before progressing through paperback versions from
the 1960’s, 70’s/80’s and current Penguin editions.''