|Georgetown University economist Pietra Rivoli, author of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy shows the interconnection in world trade among different suppliers, producers, and consumers. Most of the cotton comes from the United States into Shanghai in bales where it is carded, spun, knitted and sewn by machines made in China, Great Britain, the United States, and Japan. The product is then shipped all over the world under thousands of different brand names. The major difference between one t-shirt and another is the quality specified and the label sewn in.
In recent years, most of the textile industry has moved to the suburbs of Shanghai. Rents and the cost of living have become prohibitive for the workers within the city proper. The new factories often have greater safety features, better lighting, and fire exits and sprinkler systems as Western companies respond to pressure from their customers and in turn put pressure on the producers. The t-shirt is so universal that it maintains its name in many cultures. Shopon Chinese web sites for clothes, and you can click on "t-shirt". We're all connected.
China Index >> Shanghai, Bund, and Pudong >> Shanghai Textile Industry
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Last update: February 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007