Blog: Leonie BarrieFugitive Denim

Leonie Barrie | 22 April 2008

Intrigued by a book recommended by Mike Flanagan in his latest analysis for just-style, I’ve just Googled it for a closer look.

Mike describes ‘Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade’  by Rachel Louise Snyder as an account of just how complex, and so often benign, an effect our industry has had on the life prospects of the world’s poor.

Another review I’ve found says:
“In the business of making and selling clothes, "Made in" labels do precious little to convey the constellation of treaties, countries, and people at work in the assembly of a simple pair of jeans. In ‘Fugitive Denim’ journalist Rachel Louise Snyder reports from the far reaches of this multi-billion-dollar industry in search of the real people who make your clothes. From a cotton picker in Azerbaijan to a Cambodian seamstress, a denim maker in Italy to a fashion designer in New York, Snyder captures the human, environmental, and political forces at work in a dizzyingly complex and often absurd world.”

It sounds fascinating. But if you still need convincing, this chilling insight into the real cost of a ‘natural' fabric’ was published by The Times.

The excerpt includes the author’s account of time spent in a cotton field in Azerbaijan:
“It is a brisk fall day. The only sound is the crackling of leaves under our feet. The cotton bolls we pick seem to suck the moisture from my skin. My hands, in little time, are both strangely numb and itchy. Sharp branches poke at my ankles and I can feel a mild ache beginning somewhere in my lower back. Apart from the physical drawbacks, it is mind-numbingly boring.”
Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade’ by Rachel Louise Snyder is available from if you’re interested.


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