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

ISBN: 978-1-118-27755-3
304 pages
April 2012
Where am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes, Revised and Updated (1118277554) cover image
A journalist travels the world to trace the origins of our clothes

When journalist and traveler Kelsey Timmerman wanted to know where his clothes came from and who made them, he began a journey that would take him from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. Where Am I Wearing? intimately describes the connection between impoverished garment workers' standards of living and the all-American material lifestyle. By introducing readers to the human element of globalization—the factory workers, their names, their families, and their way of life—Where Am I Wearing bridges the gap between global producers and consumers.

  • New content includes: a visit to a fair trade Ethiopian shoe factory that is changing lives one job at time; updates on how workers worldwide have been squeezed by rising food costs and declining orders in the wake of the global financial crisis; and the author's search for the garment worker in Honduras who inspired the first edition of the book
  • Kelsey Timmerman speaks and universities around the country and maintains a blog at www.whereamiwearing.com. His writing has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and Condé Nast Portfolio, and has aired on NPR.

Enlightening and thought-provoking at once, Where Am I Wearing? puts a human face on globalization.

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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-Sweatshop Protestors 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 I Wearing? to a Glocal Context 279

Acknowledgments 285

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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.

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April 03, 2012
A Story of the Items We Often Take For Granted

When journalist and traveler Kelsey Timmerman wanted to know where his clothes came from and who made them, he began a journey that would take him from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. WHERE AM I WEARING? intimately describes the connection between impoverished garment workers' standards of living and the all-American material lifestyle. By introducing readers to the human element of globalization—the factory workers, their names, their families, and their way of life—WHERE AM I WEARING? bridges the gap between global producers and consumers.

New content includes: a visit to a fair trade Ethiopian shoe factory that is changing lives one job at time; updates on how workers worldwide have been squeezed by rising food costs and declining orders in the wake of the global financial crisis; and the author's search for the garment worker in Honduras who inspired the first edition of the book

Enlightening and thought-provoking at once, WHERE AM I WEARING? puts a human face on globalization.

Highlights include:

  • Selected as the freshman Common Reader for West Texas A&M University, Elmhurst College, Pfeiffer University, and Wingate University.
  •  Currently being used in classrooms at Rutgers, Carnegie-Mellon, Colorado State, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, California State, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and Ball State.
  • Featured in national publications like TIME, Financial Times, US News and World Report, Christian Science Monitor and more.

 

From garment factories in Cambodia to banana plantations in Costa Rica, Kelsey Timmerman is dedicated to addressing global issues through storytelling. By traveling the world and telling the stories of the people he meets, Timmerman is able to educate his readers and initiate dialogue about how to improve our world economy.

In his first book, WHERE AM I WEARING?, he traveled the world to find out where his clothes came from. Visiting garment factories in Asia and Latin America, he shared the stories of the people who make our clothes. From a 20-something t-shirt maker in Honduras to a single mother of two in Bangladesh, Timmerman humanizes the issues of globalization and provokes readers to check their tags and think about where their clothing came from.

 

An acclaimed public speaker, Timmerman has lectured on travel and globalization around the world. He is particularly passionate about educating students through humor and storytelling, and encourages them to think globally and act locally. He is a frequent keynote speaker at universities, high schools, and conferences.

His next book, WHERE AM I EATING, will be published in 2013. He is currently traveling through Latin America, picking bananas and working on coffee plantations.

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