Ladydrawers: The Business of Thrift

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 09:10 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Julia Gfrörer, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
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2013 1008ld fbAs promised, the third installment of our yearlong look at international gender and labor issues (click here for the first two, "Fast Fashion" and "Let's Go Shopping") draws out labor and environmental concerns in the secondhand clothing industry. Thrifting may be the cheapest option for you, but it's big business for some - in both the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors. Moreover, the strip reveals that it's not just offshore garment workers suffering labor abuses: Workers here in the United States fight similar battles with management. It may feel more ethical, but the second-hand-garment trade doesn't erase offshore labor problems; it compounds them with domestic worker abuses and does nothing to ease waste accumulation. And it's a growth industry.

We know this will prompt more letters to Ladydrawers HQ along the lines of, "But what is the solution?" And, dear readers, let us acknowledge right now that we don't have one. We're spending a year outlining the full range of labor issues in the international garment trade and related industries. Perhaps solutions will present themselves once we can understand the scope of the problem, as they have in our previous investigations, which you can read here.

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Anne Elizabeth Moore and Julia Gfrörer

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, Weinberg Fellow at the Newberry Library, a Fulbright scholar and the author of several award-winning nonfiction books, including Unmarketable (The New Press, 2007) and Cambodian Grrrl (2011). Co-editor and publisher of now-defunct Punk Planet and the founding editor of the Best American Comics series from Houghton Mifflin, Moore teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She contributes criticism to The New Inquiry, The Baffler, N+1 and many others and writes a monthly comic strip for Truthout called "Ladydrawers" on gender, labor and culture. Her latest book from Cantankerous Titles, New Girl Law, was called "A post-empirical, proto-fourth-wave feminist memoir" by Bust Magazine.

Julia Gfrörer was born in 1982 in Concord, New Hampshire. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Thickness, Arthur Magazine and Best American Comics, and her graphic novel, Black Is the Color, was published by Fantagraphics in October 2013. Her last name rhymes with despair.

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