A People's History of Clothing


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

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

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.

'A must-read . . . combines remarkable research with heartfelt care' Clare Hunter


  • 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

About the author

Sofi Thanhauser

Sofi Thanhauser is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in numerous publications including the Spectator. An expert at shopping for vintage clothes - she has probably spent 10,000 hours hunting for sartorial treasure - Sofi's curiosity about the stories captured in care labels, from fabric composition to country of origin, led her to investigate the global questions explored in this book. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches in the Writing Department at Pratt Institute.
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