A Look Inside the T-Shirt Industry

Cotton, mature, Cherokee County

Photo credit: Martin LaBar

All of us have them. They’re one of the most popular giveaway items at everything from sporting events to music festivals. We wear them to run errands, mow the lawn or while we exercise. They are decorated with logos of local businesses or from a 5K you ran back in 2010. Decorated t-shirts are a great way to promote or support an organization. But when you wear that old t-shirt from college, do you think about where it came from? Having worked in the promotional product industry since 2006, specifically on apparel for five of those years, I was completely unaware of how impactful t-shirts can be to, not only, our economy but globally.

I recently came across this five chapter video series that National Public Radio composed to demonstrate the life of a t-shirt. The t-shirt industry is responsible for supporting many communities in many different countries. If you ever wondered how a t-shirt is made, shipped, monetized, or otherwise, you will find it here. planet_money_makes_a_t_shirt

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