Thursday, December 5, 2013

Where does your tee shirt come from? or…thoughts on not-local

A bit of diversion from my usual…Where exactly does your tee shirt come from?

I was listening to NPR the other morning and they were airing a Planet Money segment

They made their own tee shirt from "scratch." You really should watch this.  Basically the voyage is:  cotton grown in Mississippi, to India for spinning, then either to Bangla Desh or Guatemala for sewing, then back to the US.

Here is some natural cotton from Peru…it grows there too.  I love the green tone

It was a gift when we visited  a cotton packaging operation in Lima, here are some bales

I haven't yet tried to spin it…hopefully I won't need a charka a la Ghandi…they've been spinning cotton in India for a LOOOONG time

but who doesn't need a new spinning tool?  Here's a cute contemporary charka from Ashford

OK, diverted by fiber tools... anyway..

So how do tee shirts and their components get from continent to continent?

Interestingly, I was in Savannah about 2 months ago…on River Street with my sis and her family at Octoberfest.  A big Maersk container ship was cruising out of the port.  My brilliant sister googled the name of the ship on her cell and was able to see that it was going from Savannah to Houston.  Houston?  I though these ships only went overseas?  Did you know that you can track the path of a container ship at the Maersk website?  Did you know that Maersk is a Danish company?  Here's a cool site where you can see where their fleet is. And did you know that the Maersk seven pointed star represents the seven seas?  And did you see Captain Phillips?  I was shocked at the small size of the crew…

So, doesn't all of this international shipping crap
er… stuff make you happy that you can know exactly where your hand knit or crocheted sweater, scarf, shawl, mitts or even "tee shirt" came from?   The alpaca farm up the road?  The sheep farm in Vermont?  The angora in the back yard? The cotton grown down the road? And you know…how many cotton tee shirts do you or I really need?  Could we actually make our "tee shirts" local?

Here's one tee shirt that I really do need (from Wild Fibre in Savannah; I have a pink one too)…but where did it come from, exactly?

Well, the label revealed the final step…"hecho en Guatemala."  The brand is "Bella"…I do like the cap sleeves, won't wear  a tee shirt without a lady-like cut...

Ya know, I could have gotten a degree in textile engineering…..Roseanne Rosannadanna would say that I have alotta questions in this post. Would she say "follow the money"?  

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