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  • Published: 17 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241389539
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $45.00


A People's History of Clothing

A finely spun history of clothes and where they come from

Linen, Cotton, Silk, Synthetics, Wool: through the stories of these five fabrics, Sofi Thanhauser illuminates the world we inhabit in a startling new way, travelling from China to Cumbria to reveal the craft, labour and industry that create the clothes we wear.

From the women who transformed stalks of flax into linen to clothe their families in nineteenth century New England to those who earn their dowries in the cotton-spinning factories of South India today, this book traces the origins of garment-making through time and around the world. Exploring the social, economic and environmental impact of our most personal possessions, Worn looks beyond care labels to show how clothes reveal the truth about what we really care about.

  • Published: 17 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241389539
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $45.00

Praise for Worn

A masterpiece of investigative reporting and a riveting adventure story, Worn is both panoramic and richly particular. Thanhauser is the best of guides: humane, engaging, generous with historical anecdote and always able to reveal the telling detail. She shows how the cost of fashion far exceeds any retail price tag, and how the revival of venerable traditions might yet lead us to a sustainable future

Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord

The story of what we wear is the story of who we are, and Worn offers a riveting, provocative, and eye-opening account. One cannot make sense of our modern world without this book

Brian Christian, Author of The Most Human Human

Original, insightful and thought provoking . . . a delight to read such rich insights into the weaving and knitting together of industries, societies, political initiatives and economies of cloth that truly demonstrates humans activities

Dilys Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion

This is a must-read book for anyone interested in textiles. In it Sofi Thanhauser tracks the ingenuity, creativity and human cost of textile production across centuries and cultures in a book which combines remarkable research with heartfelt care

Clare Hunter, author of Threads of Life

A fascinating read, laying out how our increasingly careless use and discarding of clothing has come to damage our planet. Thanhauser has carried out a remarkable mass of research on clothes and the fibers they are made from. She has stitched it all together in a clear and engaging style that invites one to keep reading and to start mending our ways

Elizabeth Wayland Barber, author of Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years

Sofi Thanhauser's history of cloth is not just about clothing: it is about ethics, workers' rights, women's progress, climate justice. It is the about the fabric of who we are. And as told in Worn, it also makes an absolutely gripping read!

Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex and Boys & Sex

Captivating and deeply researched . . . Thanhauser unearths the secret life of fabrics with skill and precision. Readers won't look at their wardrobes the same way again

Publishers Weekly

Admirable concision and formidable scholarship . . . Now and then in the life of a book reviewer, a book comes along that makes you glad to be one . . . Worn falls plumb into this category

Nicola Schulman, Oldie

This riveting behind-the-scenes story of the clothes on our backs is a must-read for clotheshorses everywhere

Harper's Bazaar

Richly evocative . . . One of the great pleasures of this panoramic history of getting dressed is Sofi Thanhauser's ability to spot moments like these where human desire and material culture collide

Kathryn Hughes, Guardian

Thanhauser's geographical reach is impressive . . . as is the rigour of her examinations of the cultural, economic, political and environmental impacts

Lucy Scholes, Telegraph

Knowledgeable, fascinating . . . explores the complex systems woven between the producers of cloth and its consumers . . . bulges at the seams with finely spun descriptions of the places and people she encounters

Kassia St Clair, Economist

Expansive . . . elegantly chronicling how textile production came to be defined by worker exploitation, misogyny, environmental devastation, and colonialism . . . Yet she also finds space to appreciate sartorial marvels and to celebrate the loom aficionados, "denimheads," and "wool enthusiasts" who aim for a more ethical, analog future

New Yorker

Fascinating . . . a good yarn . . . the joy of this history of clothing, which is eminently readable and meticulously researched, is its focus on people

Paula Byrne, The Times

A terrific book especially for those who want to be informed about sustainable clothing. Knowing the history is fascinating.

Alexandra Schulman

Extraordinary . . . fascinating . . . a wonderful way into history, quite often through the voices of people who don't have a say in history

Cerys Matthews

An incredibly well-reported account of how fashion, far from being trivial, has shaped human history

Pippa Bailey, New Statesman

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