Take a look at your favorite pair of jeans. Maybe you bought them on Amazon or the Gap; maybe the tag says “Made in Bangladesh” or “Made in Sri Lanka.” But do you know where they really came from, how many thousands of miles they crossed, or the number of hands who picked, spun, wove, dyed, packaged, shipped, and sold them to get to you?
In her new book “Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment,” entrepreneur, researcher, and advocate Maxine Bédat follows the life of an American icon–a pair of jeans–to reveal what really happens to give us our clothes. “Unraveled” is not just the story of a pair of pants, but also the story of our global economy and our role in it. Bedat says that the fashion industry operates with radical opacity, and it’s only getting worse, to disguise countless environmental and labor abuses. She challenges us to use our relationship with our jeans–and all that we wear–to reclaim our central role as citizens to refashion a society in which all people can thrive and preserve the planet for generations to come.
Maxine Bédat is the founder and director of New Standard Institute, a think-and-do tank dedicated to turning industry into a force for good. She is a former lawyer and the co-founder of ethical fashion brand Zady. She is an ambassador at the Rainforest Alliance and has spoken at the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and the Clinton Global Initiative.