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Where I’m wearing today: Adventures of an engaged consumer

Welcome to the newest regular, irregular feature here at WAIW?. In each “Where I’m wearing today: Adventure of an engaged consumer” post, I will select an item of clothing that I’m wearing and see what I can learn about the brand and country that produce it with a few clicks of the mouse.

I’m sure the posts will evolve over time, but, for now, here’s the methodology.

1) Link to the brands corporate code of conduct, if they have one, and list what’s good about it and what’s not-so good about it.

2) Google “(brands name) + sweatshop” and see if any red flags popup.

3) Google “garment industry + (country of origin)” to see what the latest news is in industry.

4) Give basic country facts: per capita income, unemployment rate, etc.

So,…

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Confessions of a sweatshop inspector

The Washington Monthly has a great piece by editor and former social compliance inspector, T.A. Frank, titled Confessions of a Sweatshop Inspector (first seen on CloneSix). Frank covers a lot of the issues surrounding international sourcing. Here’s a few excerpts:

On the job…

Unfortunately, we missed stuff. All inspections do. And sometimes it was embarrassing. At one follow-up inspection of a factory in Bangkok at which I’d noted some serious but common wage violations, the auditors who followed me found pregnant employees hiding on the roof and Burmese import workers earning criminally low wages. Whoops.

On ignorance is bliss sourcing…

Now, anyone in the business knows that when inspections uncover safety violations or wage underpayment more than once or twice—let alone five times—it’s a sign that bigger problems are…

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Cleaning out my news story files

Prada – Made in Italy by imported Chinese workers (LA Times)

Excerpt:

Thousands of Tuscan factories that produce the region’s fabled leather goods are now operated and staffed by Chinese. Though located in one of Italy’s most picturesque and tourist-frequented regions, many of the factories are nothing more than sweatshops with deplorable conditions and virtually indentured workers.

Chinese laborers have become such an integral cog in the high-fashion wheel that large Chinatowns have sprung up here and in Florence. Signs in Chinese, Italian and sometimes English advertise prontomoda (ready-to-wear). At the main public hospital in Prato, the maternity ward on a recent morning was a cacophony of 40 squalling babies, 15 of them Chinese. “Mi chiamo Zhong Ti,” one of the crib tags said — “My name is Zhong Ti.”

My…

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A Flat World and a pie in the face

The site was down this weekend, which is a convenient excuse for me not posting anything.

Anyhow, Tom Friedman, author of the World is Flat, recently got a pie in the face while talking about globalization and the environment.

Which leads me to ask this question: Is there a better way to promote your book than a pie in the face?

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Honesty

The Scene: A son sits in a Laz-Boy next to his father who is watching the NBA Playoffs. The son’s first book is six months away from being published.

Son
(holds up book on natural hormonal balance): This your book?

Father
: Nope. I’m not much of a book guy.

Son
: When my book comes out will you read it?

Father
: Probably not all of it. Maybe a few parts.

End Scene

In the matter of full disclosure, I’m the son and my dad truly is NOT much of a book guy. The only book I know of that he’s read cover to cover is about a boy named Homer Price and his doughnut machine. If I caught him actually reading a book, I’m not sure what I would…

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Daily Show correspondent John Oliver on Fair Trade, China, and Outsourcing

Worried that China is going to dominate the global economy? Stop. Oliver assures us that they won’t because Chinese people will never buy inflatable grills.

What about Free Trade? Oliver says we should demonize unfair trade.

Outsourcing? Yes. Oliver outsources his jokes to a 10-year old Indonesian boy.

Watch the video. It’s just another example of why we should be electing comedians to the land’s highest offices.

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Does blogging build a writing career?

Abha from Writtenroad.com asks several travel writers HERE, “How important is blogging in building your career as a travel-writer? Has blogging ever got you any work with print publications?” She included part of my answer, here’s the rest:

As far as advancing my career as a writer, blogging has been every bit as important as dumb luck.

It was dumb luck when Literary Agent A stumbled upon my blog, www.whereamiwearing.com and asked me if I had considered writing a book about the subject. This was before I had even left on the trip the blog was about.

When I returned from the trip I went to a writer’s conference in Muncie, Indiana, (not exactly a hotspot for meeting agents) and asked Agent B about pre-contract etiquette dealing with Agent A….

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