BIG THANKS to Kim and Wiley for my review copy!
“Where Am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes” by Kelsey Timmerman
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Rating: 4 stars
“Where Am I Wearing” is about Kelsey Timmerman's quest to become a more informed consumer by visiting the factories that have manufactured his underwear, jeans, flip-flops and shorts. The book’s sections are divided up by country: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and the Unites States.
Timmerman's writing style is personal, like a deep yet informal conversation with a good friend about the consequences of globalization. It is clear he is passionate about the cause and yet I didn't find him overly preachy about what readers should or should not buy. It was interesting to read about his experiences with the factory workers and what they had to teach. Featuring their pictures throughout the book added a nice touch and helped put a face to a name, which is reminiscent of the greater purpose of Timmerman’s journey, to get to know the faces behind the clothing. It is evident that the factory workers, including Arifa, Nari, Ai, Zhu Vhun and Dewan, had a great impact upon Timmerman by the way he conveyed their stories and as a result, I was touched as well.
This book gave me greater insight into the true meaning of ‘sweatshop’ and showed that there is no black and white when deciding which companies to purchase clothing from. I was surprised to learn that the factory workers themselves protest American boycotts and not only want but need us to buy the clothing they make. Often times it is the teenagers and young adults who work so that they can send a large portion of their earnings back to their families in the countryside and they need these jobs to support them. Some of them have even paid just to have the ‘luxury’ of obtaining a factory job, while others use any connections they have to get them. It can be tough to know what the right course of action is when trying to shop in an ethical manner. Timmerman does a good job of outlining the issues and then offers some advice and great websites to help determine which companies deserve our business.
“Where Am I Wearing” is an insightful and informative book. I like that Timmerman included personal anecdotes from his own life and tied in all of his experiences coherently and concisely. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about globalization and factory workers without the feeling of being stuck in a classroom.