A white book with an illustration of a pile of clothes overlaying on illustrations of sweatshop laborers

Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking

by Anne Elizabeth Moore Author, The Ladydrawers Illustrator, Leela Corman Contributor, Delia Jean Contributor and Melissa Mendes Contributor

Ever wondered who makes your clothes? Who sells them? How much they get paid? How the fashion and sex industries are intertwined?

Threadbare draws the connections between the international sex and garment trades and human trafficking in a beautifully illustrated comics series. Anne Elizabeth Moore, in reports illustrated by top-notch comics creators, pulls at the threads of gender, labor, and cultural production to paint a concerning picture of a human rights in a globalized world. Moore's reporting, illustrated by members of the Ladydrawers Comics Collective, takes the reader from the sweatshops of Cambodia to the traditional ateliers of Vienna, from the life of a globetrotting supermodel to the warehouses of large clothing retailers, from the secondhand clothing industry to the politics of the sex trade. With thoughtful illustrations of women's stories across the sex and garment supply chain, this book offers a practical guide to a growing problem few truly understand.

Featuring the work of Leela Corman, Julia Gfrörer, Simon Häussle, Delia Jean, Ellen Lindner, and Melissa Mendes.

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Also check out: 

- Anne Elizabeth Moore's Cambodia books

Fix Your Clothes

- Our comix journalism shelf

Comments & Reviews


"This is a very eye-opening book. As a graphic novel, it is very easy to read. A blurb on the back of this book says that colleges that offer degrees in fashion need to add this book to the curriculum. I totally agree."



"Rather than acting as savior or seeking to educate in a condescending way, Moore creates an opportunity for conversation, making it clear that these are pervasive, global problems with global impact. "



"...hand-crafted and thought-provoking..."



"...a thorough and alarming investigation into the various ways fast fashion keeps women worldwide in vicious cycles of destitution and oppression. If you’ve got questions about what fast fashion is and what it’s got to do with you, the dozens of comic narratives in “Threadbare” will provide a sobering education."



"...a brilliant example of investigative reporting that does much to make sense of an insidious and enormously complicated phenomenon. And it does so with pictures."



"With rope from the garment industry itself, [Moore] creates a noose to hang it with. Now we gotta get more people to read the book and spread the word."



"This comics-style presentation makes the issues accessible and real. The stories are deeply researched and supported; the statistics are grim...This is a startling book that will infuriate you, and hopefully drive you to action..."



"...Anne Elizabeth Moore in collaboration with six different comic artists, offers a beautifully simple way of communicating extensive information about a very complex web of exploitation and oppression."



"With the feminist nonfiction market being led by either academics or bloggers, this book sits nicely in the middle and can act as a nice break from either of the aforementioned types of writers. Covering everything from the high fashion model to the factory sewer, Threadbare is a primer for your new ethical shopping life."



"The using of comic illustrations made this book very easy to digest, I managed to get through it in one sitting which is pretty much unheard of for me...I would say that Threadbare is worth a read for anyone interested in the feminist issues around the fast fashion industry."



"Much of the book covers territory that I found disturbingly revelatory...​the type of book I wish I had been forced to read in high school—the kind of counter-narrative education that cultivates more thoughtful and engaged citizens. If you have clothes on your back, whether they're from a retail store or a thrift shop, Threadbare should be required reading."



"This is definitely one of the most unique books about the fashion industry I have ever read."


"Threadbare will likely challenge some of your thoughts about NGOs, brothels, and even thrift store shopping. No matter what your politics, I suggest you read it."



"What links the world of fashion, the international sex and garment trades, and human trafficking? Anne Elizabeth Moore and the artists of The Ladydrawers unpick the connections in a meticulously investigated and vividly illustrated new book of graphic journalism."



"...Threadbare will give your head a good spin...[Highlighting] the vast need for global labor reform—and the arresting visuals are stunning proof of where graphic journalism can go."



""Threadbare" is not light reading. But the comics format makes an opaque topic artfully illuminating. We may never visit the inside of a sweatshop. But the drawings take us right inside, amid the dusty piles of fabric and the whir of sewing machines."



"Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking is a fascinating read, full of disturbing information..."



"As difficult as this may be – fast fashion is a staple of many of our wardrobes and remains so because of its affordability and omnipresence – there is no doubt that Moore and her artistic collaborators are correct. The only way to make a difference is to take a stand. And, thanks to Threadbare, I will be doing just that."



"A wealth of research has gone into this book, and Moore tackles the questions that many others are scared – sometimes even unwilling – to take on. What distinguishes Moore’s book from others on similar topics is its presentation, with the help of the women’s comics collective Ladydrawers, the book uses illustrations to help us better understand the…inner workings of the garment industry.”



"Definitely destined for the feminist bookshelf, including my own."


"...I...would go as far as to call Threadbare essential reading for genuine feminists who truly want to understand and improve the lives of women around the world."



"...Threadbare gives us a glimpse of the morally complex global catastrophe that is the garment industry without a hint of a savior complex. I applaud...[Anne] for her audacity."



"This mingles the techniques of graphic novels with those of investigative journalism...a collection of reporting, research, and art, exploring, amongst other things, how the darker side of the global fashion industry has roots in Asia."



"...A feminist comic book that’s a must-read for the modern consumer...“Threadbare” brings these issues to life and eschews a textbook feel."



"Despite the belief of some people, anti-trafficking efforts make life harder for sex workers. Instead, Moore outlines at the end a few different things that people can do to help improve the situation for women around the world. After the bleak reality of her research, this makes for a somewhat hopeful outcome and empowers the reader with something to do."



"Full of startling statistics...the comics are beautifully drawn and the rendering of the interview makes it seem as though you are sitting in the room with Moore and her interview subjects, sharing in their stories."


“A fascinating look into the lives behind our clothes. From the people who make them, to the people who model them, to the people who sell them, our clothes are part of an intricate network which spans the globe. The art in Threadbare helps draw a personal connection to what might otherwise be overwhelming statistics, and gives an intimate look into the way the world is affected by what we buy.” —Sarah Glidden, author of Rolling Blackouts and How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less


"A compelling and comprehensive portrait of the human cost behind what we wear. The sharp, gorgeous, and distressing Threadbare will leave you questioning both your wardrobe and the state of the world as a whole."


"Colleges offering degree programs in Fashion need to add this book to the curriculum. A must read!!!!"


"Threadbare takes us down the rabbit hole of the global fashion and textile industry, connecting the dots between the lives of the women who work at Forever 21 and the women who sew the clothes that hang on the racks there. With vivid storytelling and deep investigation. Anne Elizabeth Moore and her team of talented women cartoonists prove the strength of comics as tool for translating impossible complexity to our everyday experience."


"Describing the environmental, social, economic and personal costs of fast fashion in a style cool as gin, Threadbare is both a damning indictment and a stellar example of comics journalism."


"Threadbare is a brilliant amalgam of art, storytelling, consciousness-building, and old-fashioned muckraking. It takes on the enormous project of confronting the international apparel trade, through delving into individual stories and lifting up voices that are usually suppressed or ignored in mass media. The Ladydrawers collective and Anne Elizabeth Moore bring us face to face, literally, with the people most affected by labor exploitation and abuse - and in seeing their faces, we understand the realities beyond the facts. An intrepid journey!"


Well-researched, engaging, and full of surprising (and sometimes horrifying) statistics, you may finish reading this book and decide to become an activist—no longer shopping for clothes at your local mall and pressuring your elected officials for legislation that holds clothing manufacturers and retailers responsible.