T- shirt from around the world

Sarah Levin

Globalization is a process in which people, ideas and particularly in fashion, materials and goods spread throughout the world. It allows for integration and interdependence between countries, economies and cultures. With the fashion industry, the production of clothing is a long process that involves many places worldwide. In order to produce a T-shirt, something that’s not usually expensive in cost, there is a tremendous amount of work that the videos we watched in class, and the essays we read, discussed.

The long process of T-shirt production begins in the cotton fields, most commonly based in America or India. The cotton balls are placed in a gin in order to separate seeds and chaff. The cotton fibers are then spun (very often in China), and carded in order to separate fibers into loose strands. Then the fabric undergoes heat and chemical processes such as printing and dyeing. The fabrics also become the soft feeling and color desired whilst in this stage. Next, the fabric needs to be sewn. This step happens in many different parts of the world as far as Columbia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. As we watched in the video, hard working people in factories, many with high hopes and aspirations, produce the clothing we wear. Screen-printing occurs next. It is here that sizing is differentiated, and colors are specified. After, each T-shirt is folded and placed into inventory and then packaged and shipped to places all around the world.

Thousands, if not millions of T-shirts are produced and travel the world before they arrive at their final destination. I find in fascinating that before the T-shirt is folded in my closet, it has had an entire life experience. It starts off as cotton, and ends up as something I wear. This process of globalization is necessary in order for the production of T-shirts. Although each label reads one place, “Made in China,” or, “Made in Indonesia,” in actuality, each label should read many places throughout the world.

I chose my tie-dye T-shirt, because it serves as a memory. I made the T-shirt myself in camp when I was 11. My friends and I worked hard, everyone with her own T-shirt in order to produce the best T-shirt we each possible could. Although we took no photographs at the camp activity, the shirt itself serves as a memory. It is only now though that I discovered that it was not I alone who made the shirt despite the fact that it was me who tie-dyed it, but rather many people whom I don’t know, from around the world, who worked hard and long hours to make the T-shirt.

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