Do clothes make the man...international?
Let me back up a second. I've been following this whole fascination with the "flattened earth" for awhile. You hear the buzz words all the time: Global economics, international studies, traveling abroad - these are all part of our collective vernacular. The ideas have become quite common: Corporations and organizations not only benefit from entering other markets, they fear they cannot survive if they don't spread out quickly and effectively. Many people - students especially - are increasingly fascinated with traveling and learning of other cultures, not only to experience them for pleasure but to understand on a deeper level. Not to mention the edge it can give job applicants.
For perhaps some of these reasons, a goal of mine for 2008 has been to travel to various corners of the world. It's a fitting goal- I'm young and not tied down, and most people who know me are aware of my international focus, I think. Hey, I'm a multi-lingual, cross-cultural guy.
I realized one day* that the clothes I wear are more "international" than I am.
...That I've talked about traveling more than I've actually gone anywhere. I've learned about countries and dreamed about exotic places that I've never seen with my own eyes.
But my clothes have.
I took a quick poll of the tags sewed tightly onto the pieces in my room to see how far they've traveled. Let's start with shirts. (Numbers indicate how many shirts were from that country)
El Salvador- 6
Hong Kong- 1
Sri Lanka- 3
Dominican Republic- 2
Dominican Republic- 2
So apparently, both Taiwan and Malaysia make shirts and jackets, but not pants or boxers. Honduras makes a whole lotta shirts, but nothing else. Indonesia likes boxer shorts, pants, and shirts, in that order. USA shirts, but half as many pants. China comes in sadly at the end for producing just one jacket. That's unacceptable.
OK, so perhaps my apparel isn't representative of the production capacity of each of these countries. But it does say something: I've got some miles to make up before I'm as well-traveled as the pants I slip on each day.
*October 25, 2007 to be exact