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Ladydrawers: The Business of Thrift

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 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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Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Anne Elizabeth Moore and Julia Gfrörer

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a comics journalist, cultural critic, and author of several award-winning, best-selling nonfiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press), Cambodian Grrrl, and Threadbare (Microcosm Publishing). She is a Fulbright scholar, a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and is the recipient of a 2016 Write A House Fellowship in Detroit. Her work has appeared in The Baffler, Al Jazeera, Salon, The Onion, Talking Points Memo, Wilson Quarterly, Tin House, and in international art exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and a solo show at the MCA Chicago. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Voice of America, and in The New York Times, among others. Her most recent book, from Curbside Splendor, is Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes.

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.

Related Stories

Ladydrawers: "Being of Service"
By Anne Elizabeth Moore, Sarah Jaffe, Delia Jean, Truthout | Cartoon
Ladydrawers: Fast Fashion
By Anne Elizabeth Moore, Julia Gfrörer, Truthout | News
Ladydrawers: Let's Go Shopping
By Anne Elizabeth Moore, Julia Gfrörer, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
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Ladydrawers: The Business of Thrift

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Julia Gfrörer, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

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.

Click to view full-size in new window.
Click to view larger

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Anne Elizabeth Moore and Julia Gfrörer

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a comics journalist, cultural critic, and author of several award-winning, best-selling nonfiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press), Cambodian Grrrl, and Threadbare (Microcosm Publishing). She is a Fulbright scholar, a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and is the recipient of a 2016 Write A House Fellowship in Detroit. Her work has appeared in The Baffler, Al Jazeera, Salon, The Onion, Talking Points Memo, Wilson Quarterly, Tin House, and in international art exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and a solo show at the MCA Chicago. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Voice of America, and in The New York Times, among others. Her most recent book, from Curbside Splendor, is Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes.

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.

Related Stories

Ladydrawers: "Being of Service"
By Anne Elizabeth Moore, Sarah Jaffe, Delia Jean, Truthout | Cartoon
Ladydrawers: Fast Fashion
By Anne Elizabeth Moore, Julia Gfrörer, Truthout | News
Ladydrawers: Let's Go Shopping
By Anne Elizabeth Moore, Julia Gfrörer, Truthout | Graphic Journalism