Top critical review
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3 stars for entertainment, 2 stars for content
on 7 February 2014
This was entertaining for a while but then got very repetitive.
The things I did not like about this book:
- The preachy proselytising tone.
- There needs to be more facts and figures. For example I was fascinated by the few examples of how clothes prices went down from 1900 to 1960. I wanted to know more.
-There should have been more investigation of factories in Bangladesh and China instead of one little visit.
-The usual handwringing over how evil we are to pollute to planet with nothing about green chemistry.
Then there were the two things I hated the most, the repetition and the fact the author assumes that most Americans have the same shopping habits to her and her circle.
There is an extreme left, pro-Trade Union, pro-Green, Third World Country pitying side to her views. There is nothing wrong with these sentiments. I agree with some of them myself. However I wish someone would present both sides of the argument. For example are we in the West solely to blame for China's pollution and Bangladesh's factory fires? Surely those countries goverments are resposible too?
She preaches the formation of trade unions as a solution to Chinese low wages. Yet Chinese wages and their standard of living have expodentially risen while trade unions are illegal in their country.
I couldn't help feeling that if she was from a poorer background or had personally lived as a working class/lower middle class person in the 1950's-60's, she would see the good side of cheap fashion. She looks back nostalgically at pre 1990's expensive clothes. Yet I remember that era as an unpleasant time when things could be very hard.
She also did not explain why luxary high ends clothing have also gone down in quality. That was the main reason I bought this book.
Even with all these negatives, the book is rather entertaining. It is better than Lucy Siegal's book on the same subject. I give it 3 stars for entertainment, 2 stars for repetition and lack of content.