Add to GoodReads


How Clothing Predicts Economic Cycles, Saves Lives, and Determines the Future

Syl Tang

We may not often think of our clothes as having a function beyond covering our naked bodies and keeping us a little safer from the elements. But to discount the enormous influence of clothing on anything from economic cycles to the future of water scarcity is to ignore the greater meaning of the garments we put on our backs. Disrobed vividly considers the role that clothing plays in everything from natural disasters to climate change to terrorism to geopolitics to agribusiness. Chapter by chapter, Tang takes the reader on an unusual journey, telling stories and asking questions that most consumers have never considered about their clothing. Why do banker’s wives sell off their clothes and how does that presage a recession? How is clothing linked to ethanol and starvation on the African continent? Could RFID in clothing save the lives of millions of people in earthquakes around the world?

This book takes an everyday item and considers it in a way that readers may not have previously thought possible. It tackles topics relevant to today, everything from fakes in the museums to farm-to-table eating, and answers questions about how we can anticipate and change our world in areas as far-reaching as the environment, politics, and the clash of civilizations occurring between countries. Much like other pop economics books have done before, the stories are easily retold in water-cooler style, allowing them to be thoughtfully considered, argued, and discussed.
« less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 152Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-7099-2 • Hardback • October 2017 • $33.00 • (£22.95)
978-1-4422-7100-5 • eBook • October 2017 • $31.00 • (£21.95) (coming soon)
Syl Tang is CEO and founder of the 19-year old HipGuide Inc. A futurist, her focus is how and why we consume, with an eye towards world events such as natural disasters, geo-political clashes, and pandemics. She has written hundreds of articles on the confluence of world events and soft goods for the Financial Times, predicting and documenting trends such as the Apple watch and other smart wearables, lab-made diamonds, the Department of Defense’s funding of Afghan jewelry companies, the effects of global warming on South Sea pearls, and the unsolved murder of tanzanite speculator Campbell Bridges. Her brand consulting work focuses on helping companies including Diageo, Revlon and the State of Michigan. She is behind the launches of some of the most well-known beauty, beverage, automotive and urban development efforts including category changers such as frozen alcohol and mineral makeup. In addition to developing her site, in 1999 she created the first mobile lifestyle texting product in the market and predicted mobile couponing as it exists today. Her company HipGuide is a case study taught in universities around the world, from Dubai to Nova Scotia to Purdue, through a textbook series.
Can what you wear save your life, keep you safe, or kill people across the world? Syl Tang shows that, sometimes, it does. You've never read a national security book quite like Disrobed. A fresh perspective about how our individual choices can radically upend societies on the other side of the globe. Do clothes reflect the jagged fault lines between civilizations? Tang's Disrobed makes a compelling case that it just might.
Aki Peritz, former CIA analyst who tracked the strategy, leadership and international links of Al Qaeda in Iraq; senior fellow at George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security; adjunct faculty member at American University

Syl Tang’s Disrobed is a powerful thought-starter that articulates the butterfly effect from the mundane to the crucial. The book unveils an undercurrent of what is happening on the other side of the globe and connects the dots to what is right in front of us. Tang uses non-partisan, fact-based occurrences in worldwide events to show us the power of micro-action, and the potential of clothing as a political tool and predictive instrument.
Yann Marois, Chief Marketing Officer, Grey Goose

Our clothes speak, consume, and even save the world in Syl Tang's fascinating and insightful research about fashion and how its much more than just threads.
Jonathan Woetzel, director and senior partner, McKinsey Global Institute, McKinsey and Co.

The theory of the interconnectedness of all things, seen through the lens of fashion. Great fun, but raising some important questions - like why my lucky cufflinks always work.
Paul James, Global Marketing and Branding for Millennium Hotels and Resorts; former Global Brand Leader, Starwood Luxury Hotels

This book defines the bridge between the garment industry and world of finance, industries that most people truly do not understand. The financial markets such as investment, banking and insurance companies rely heavily on the above sources for revenue and investments. Disrobed is the book that will open your eyes to the dynamics of two powerful and profitable industries.
Salvador Rozenberg, professor, New York University, Tandon School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering and Urban Systems

It is truly amazing how you have linked the issue of clothing with the ecosystem and global challenges. By highlighting the different elements and sectors, I have no doubt the reader will come away fascinated and inspired, with insights of how clothing plays a pivotal role in our lives. Syl Tang's book eloquently describes clothing's effect on our limited natural resources and also provides brilliant ideas and solutions that people can implement to create positive social change in society. Disrobed provides a gateway for the reader to recognize the value of ethical and sustainable clothing which can also address the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and thus help our common humanity.
Amir A. Dossal, president, Global Partnerships Forum