Photos: The Planet Money T-Shirt Goes To Indonesia

This week, Jess Jiang and Robert Smith visited the factory in Indonesia where U.S. cotton was spun into yarn for the Planet Money T-shirt. (They also visited several other factories.) Here are some of the pictures Robert posted to our T-Shirt Tumblr.

Other than this woman spot checking some of the cotton, no human's hands touch the yarn. It's all machines, shooting strings of cotton, twisting and twirling and winding.

Other than this woman spot-checking some of the cotton, no human hands touch the yarn. It's all machines, shooting strings of cotton, twisting and twirling and winding. i i
Robert Smith/NPR
Other than this woman spot-checking some of the cotton, no human hands touch the yarn. It's all machines, shooting strings of cotton, twisting and twirling and winding.
Robert Smith/NPR

This photo is a montage of my favorite thing. The "sliver" (rhymes with MacGyver) is a wispy ponytail of cotton that swoops and twirls through the air, ducking in and out of big ugly machines. I wanted to grab it.

Sliver
Robert Smith/NPR

Jess Jiang records a room full of ring spinners, which put the final twist on the yarn.

Jess Jiang in cotton yarn factory i i
Robert Smith/NPR
Jess Jiang in cotton yarn factory
Robert Smith/NPR

Yarn is checked for contamination in the UV light room. Even a single strand of hair will show up.

Yarn is checked for contamination in the UV light room. Even a single strand of hair will show up. i i
Robert Smith/NPR
Yarn is checked for contamination in the UV light room. Even a single strand of hair will show up.
Robert Smith/NPR

When I was touring the spinning plant, I kept shoving samples into my pockets. What starts as raw American cotton (top left) turns into something like baby's hair (top right), then into cotton candy (bottom left), then into finished yarn (bottom right). The yarn is knit into the fabric to make T-shirts.

From raw cotton to yarn, in four steps
Robert Smith/NPR

For more pictures and videos from our travels, see our T-Shirt Tumblr. #seedtoshirt

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