Dalton-Area Author To Speak On US Obsession With Cheap Fashion

Monday, January 13, 2014
Elizabeth Cline
Elizabeth Cline

Dalton State College’s Fine Arts and Lecture Series welcomes Elizabeth Cline, author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” on Thursday, January 30, in Goodroe Auditorium. Ms. Cline, a Whitfield County native, will present a lecture on cheap fashion, and how its disadvantages far outweigh its benefits. The money wasted each year on cheap clothing, the impact it has on outsourcing labor to countries overseas, and ways to be a responsible shopper will be discussed. 

Ms. Cline was raised in Varnell and attended Westwood School before moving with her family to Cairo, Ga. She says she is excited to be visiting home and to spread the word about smart shopping.

“I still feel very tied to Georgia and come home as often as I can,” she says. “Part of the reason I wanted to write about the fashion industry is because the South used to be the epicenter of textile manufacturing, and I'd love to see garment factories, textile factories, fashion designers, and dye houses booming here again.”

Now a New York-based writer, author, and public speaker, she began to notice the widespread and deeply rooted obsession with purchasing excessive amounts of inexpensive garments when she took a look at her own closet. Upon discovering that she owned more than 350 items of clothing, Cline decided that it was time to get to the bottom of why Americans are so enthralled with what she calls “disposable clothing.”

“I was just really curious about how retailers are able to sell clothes so cheaply and how low price changes the way we consume,” she said. Over the course of two years, Ms. Cline interviewed various clothing factory owners and workers, designers for popular retailers like Forever 21 and Gap, quality control analysts, and production and sourcing experts in the fashion industry.

When she concluded that the real story wouldn’t come merely from sources in the U.S., she traveled overseas to get the full picture from factories in places like China and Bangladesh. “The experience was eye-opening to say the least,” she said.

Since researching the overconsumption trend in fashion and gathering the information for “Overdressed,” Ms. Cline has made a few changes to how she purchases clothing. An advocate for “slow fashion,” she urges people to think about how they spend their clothing dollars and to purchase garments that are ethically produced, essential to one’s wardrobe, and are durable and made of quality materials.

Ms. Cline says that the best places to look for trendy clothing without breaking the bank are places like consignment and thrift stores, as well as your own closet; she will reveal tips on how to shop affordably and ethically during her lecture.

“It doesn't cost more money to be a conscious clothing consumer,” Ms. Cline says, “It could mean patching your jeans instead of throwing them out, trying to buy items that are well-made and aren't going to fall apart, simply shopping less (most of us have closets full of clothes already), and supporting brands that treat their employers and the planet with care when possible.”

“The clothing industry takes a huge toll on the environment, jobs, and human lives,” she continues. “I want to empower people to change this industry through the way they shop.”

Ms. Cline has written blogs and articles for publications such as “The New Yorker,” “Village Voice,” and “New York Magazine".

Elizabeth Cline will deliver her lecture on “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” on January 30 at 6:30 in Goodroe Auditorium in Gignilliat Memorial Hall at Dalton State College. Seating is first come, first served. There will be books for sale and a book signing after the lecture.

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