January 31, 2022

Sofi Thanhauser

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes acclaimed writer SOFI THANHAUSER for a discussion of her nonfiction debut, Worn: A People's History of Clothing. She will be joined in conversation by podcaster AVERY TRUFELMAN, producer of the award-winning mini-series Articles of Interest.


In this panoramic social history, Sofi Thanhauser brilliantly tells five stories—Linen, Cotton, Silk, Synthetics, Wool—about the clothes we wear and where they come from, illuminating our world in unexpected ways. She takes us from the opulent court of Louis Quatorze to the labor camps in modern-day Chinese-occupied Xinjiang. We see how textiles were once dyed with lichen, shells, bark, saffron, and beetles, displaying distinctive regional weaves and knits, and how the modern Western garment industry has refashioned our attire into the homogenous and disposable uniforms popularized by fast fashion brands.

Thanhauser makes clear how the clothing industry has become one of the planet's worst polluters, and how it relies on chronically underpaid and exploited laborers. But she also shows us how micro-communities, textile companies, and clothing makers in every corner of the world are rediscovering ancestral and ethical methods for making what we wear.

Drawn from years of intensive research and reporting from around the world, and brimming with fascinating stories, Worn reveals to us that our clothing comes not just from the countries listed on the tags or ready-made from our factories. It comes, as well, from deep in our histories.

About Author(s)

Sofi Thanhauser teaches in the writing department at Pratt Institute. She has received fellowships and residencies at MacDowell, Ucross Foundation, and the Millay Colony for the Arts, and has contributed to The EstablishmentEssay DailyWag’s RevueThe Spectatorwhitehot magazine of contemporary artThe ConversantEntropyDilettante Army, and Edible Vineyard, among other publications.

Avery Trufelman is an alumna of the award-winning design podcast 99% Invisible. In September of 2018, she launched a limited-run series about clothing and fashion called Articles of Interest, which was declared one of the best podcasts of 2018 by the New Yorker, and the finale was called the “best podcast episode of the year” by Vulture. She is the host of Nice Try! a podcast from Curbed about utopian experiments, as well as the host of the podcast for The Cut, from New York Magazine.