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Cairo native Elizabeth “Lorri” Cline was recently featured on an episode of NBC Nightly News in a segment about the environmental impact of the clothing and apparel industry.
She was interviewed in her Brooklyn home last month by NBC correspondent Anne Thompson. The crew arrived at her small two-bedroom home with “about 1,000 pounds of camera gear and equipment,” says Cline. “They spent a few hours transforming my apartment into a set. It was incredible to watch. They covered the windows in black plastic on the outside of my building. They moved a huge portion of my wardrobe into the living room to use as a backdrop, and then set up the cameras in the building hallways because my apartment was too narrow to fit the crew and the cameras!”
This is not Cline’s first appearance on NBC Nightly News or television. In 2013, following a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,130 people, Cline was first invited on the show to talk about her research into the global fashion industry and the findings of her first book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. As Cline reveals in the book, the way clothing is manufactured and sold has changed dramatically in the past two decades. Global consumption of clothing has doubled in just 15 years and the apparel industry is now one of the most polluting on Earth, responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions.
What’s more, almost half of the clothing sold in the United States was domestically made as recently as 1990. Today, no more than 3% of clothing is made in America. And the sweatshop working conditions that plagued the U.S. garment industry a hundred years have returned in Asia and even Los Angeles.
“To me, what’s interesting about clothing is that it’s tied to everything else,” says Cline of her decade-long exploration into what we wear. “It is connected to the environment, to labor conditions, to globalization, to culture. I also like that it’s a personal expression of who are. It’s a really personal possession, and yet it’s increasingly difficult to know how our clothes are made, where they’re made, or even what they’re made out of.”
To help answer those questions and more, Cline has a follow up book, The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good, coming out August 20 to help people learn more about their clothes and dress more mindfully. Pre-orders for the book are available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. She says she was inspired to write the book “after learning the incredible backstory to our clothes. People assume that the more you know, the more guilty you’ll feel. But for me, it’s been the exact opposite. I have built a wardrobe I love and can feel good about what I’m wearing for the first time in my life.”
Editor’s Note: The NBC Nightly News feature on Cairo native Elizabeth “Lorri” Cline aired Sunday evening, May 5. It was originally scheduled to air on April 27.