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Why you can buy a dress for $10...

Bought this dress last year for $10. In fact, everything in the store was on sale for $10.  With clothes so cheap, why would anyone bother to sew their own? 

I found a good reason while I was reading a beautiful book called Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio.  It's full of great photos of 30 families in 24 countries, detailing "what the world eats."

Here's a local family living just outside Brisbane and their stash of goodies for a week...The Browns from Riverview spent $376 USD on this weekly spread...

And a rural Chinese family with their weeks worth of shopping...The Cui's from a village outside Beijing spent $57 USD on this healthier looking selection...

Li Jinxian (in the yellow polo shirt) works in a factory making clothing for the US.  She's paid $2.50 USD for a ten-hour workday.  Unsurprisingly, she dislikes the job - she'd have to sew 70 hours a week for 3 weeks just to pay for the weekly shopping shown.  Her husband is forced to work in Beijing, coming home only on the weekends, as there is no work in the village where he can earn enough to support the family.  They never eat food outside their home.  "It's very expensive", says Li Jinxian.  " We aren't in that kind of circumstance."

Hmmm, even in my darkest hour financially, I still manage to eat out at least once a week.

So I guess this Chinese family is why I can buy a dress for $10.  Whoever made that dress probably got paid about 25 cents. 

Somehow, finding this out has made cheap clothing seem even cheaper and a bit nastier.  How much more valuable is hand-made clothing made willingly by someone who loves you!