You know a book is good when it has a ‘New York Times’ review excerpt printed smack bang across the front cover!
True to the NY Times word, Rivoli’s book ‘The Travels of a T-shirt in a Global Economy‘ definitely has the ‘makings of an economic classic’, which unfortunately also means it definitely has the ability to put some of us to sleep face first on its contents page. Fortunately for Rivoli I am a complete economics nerd and devoured each and every word of this book.
Ok, I will admit, it really isn’t an easy read (which is why it has been months since my last book review). But ‘Travels of a T-shirt’ has been written to make economics accessible to economics novice (which even after taking three courses in economics I still seem to be). If you are interested finding out the way the global fashion monster works from raw material to finished product, with insightful facts, historical data, and a personal story, this book may be for you. Rivoli does a great job of putting a human face to production, looking at the people behind each step of the manufacturing process and telling the story of a t-shirt from the manufacturers side.
The down side for me was the depth of research that went into this book. There was SO much information about every aspect of the manufacturing process that it really took a long time to digest each chapter. It would be a great fashion ‘coursework’ book and a whole subject could be based around it as a central reader. It would be effective at starting a conversation about the economics of fashion without needing to read a dry economic textbook. The only other necessary requirements would be some additional journal articles and reading to go a little further into the economic principles.
As far as a lazy Sunday afternoon read, I would not recommend this book (unless you felt like falling asleep on the beach and wished to use it to cover your face from the sun). A passionate and aware fashion consumer would be best to start on a light read (like the last book I reviewed ‘To Die For’) , and work up to ‘The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy’ if they are still hungry for knowledge (this book is definitely the meaty stuff).