My friend Trish

Being mindful of my tendency to rub even the most patient of folks the wrong way, I do manage to have one friend in the apparel education establishment. That’s Trish Winstead. She’s a peach. She runs the Fashion Technology department at El Paso Community College, her program has won lots of awards. I’m on her advisory committee. We had our semi-annual meeting last week, that’s always a lot of fun, catching up with the progress of former students (several also on the committee now). Some of them hang out here. Speaking of, Trish says she can’t get the students to read the blog, she had print outs of articles all over the place. We don’t know why that is. Several on the committee voiced a similar frustration, that too many students are staking everything on the glamor of a potentially limited fashion design career, eschewing the other richly rewarding career paths the industry offers. We want to take students on plant tours onto sewing floors and laundry facilities but most of them don’t seem to be interested. Sad, that. Regardless of their interest, I plan on getting plant tours myself, camera in hand and I’ll be sure to share that with you.

The college also has a hospitality program, training chefs so they feed us well (they even made a special vegetarian meal for me). They teased me incessantly for taking pictures of the food (the presentation was quite lovely) but I won’t bore you with those. I did take a few pictures at the school. Below is a student who was sewing a hood for a refashioning fundraiser, for the homeless I think it was. I helped her bag it while I was waiting for Trish. I don’t remember her name but I’m sure Trish will stop in soon enough and correct my oversight.


One of the things they do at the college is hall displays. It’s quite nice. Here’s a photo of one gown (forgot this student’s name too).

If you look a bit closer, you can see what makes this dress unusual. It’s draped entirely with home sewing patterns. A jest. I thought it was pretty clever, you couldn’t use home patterns in manufacturing any other way.

I also took a picture of this sign on how to issue style numbers so you can see it’s not just me who thinks some thought should go into it. Maybe this will be useful to you in designing a system although several things do not apply. In industry, it varies quite a bit. Whatever you do, do not name your styles, there is little else you could do with regard to deliberately inflicted self-injury coupled with unnecessary roughness than that. I think I’ve said that enough so everyone should know better by now. If you’re new to these parts, balance this new found tidbit with the realization that everyone else has sighed, rolled their eyes and moved on. They know I’m a nut-job with style numbers being just one of my perseverations.

Anyway, I’m done with this post, the purpose of which was to introduce my friend Trish in readiness for the next entry I’m posting. I feel kind of dumb posting light stuff like this but everybody seems to like them okay. Miracle calls them “commercials”, a break and a place to rest mentally in the midst of the usual heavy topic posting.

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5 comments

  1. Karen C says:

    I like your commercials. Thanks.

    BTW, a lot of us DEs down at the Los Angeles Textile show were pushing your book while in the book store. They have it displayed on the very front table, right close to the cash register. I, and others, would mention it to people browsing that they really needed to get “that book.” Hope it helped sales.

  2. I like that there’s a balance of heavy and light. :-)

    I would have loved to go on a plant tour when I was attending the Art Institute of Portland. (I have a B.S. in apparel design.) We went to some stores, the Norm Thompson main offices where their designers are, Nike, and Pendleton Woolen Mills (but they wouldn’t let us get up close to their looms). I know for a fact that there are at least 2 fairly good sized production sewing contractors here, but we never got to see them.

    …big sigh…

    (For those who aren’t in giant production, Pendleton Woolen Mills in Washougal, WA, very close to Portland, has their “seconds” fabric for $3-$10 per yard. I only found one flaw so small that it either didn’t make a difference or was easily worked around.)

    If I ever got to Texas, would Trish take me to a production facility? :-) Or someone in L.A.?

  3. Malissa says:

    I would love to tour a working manufacturing facility, again, I had the opportunity at 9. I had relatives who worked at a Jordache factory in Crocket, TX. They were going to burn all their remnant pieces of denim under 5 or so yards, but my relatives convinced them there were home sewers who would be glad to take it off their hands. We ended up with over 2000 lbs, it was more than what we could measure and my father owned a feed store so my mother weighted it all on the scales, but I digress. I got left behind several time entranced by the machines, the tour guide had to continuously come back and get me to stay up with the group. I don’t think I got a full grasp of it but the feeling I get inside just thinking about it, it was wonderful. As a college student I had the opportunity to tour a fabric manufacturing plant in Brenham, TX, the name fails me. They started with bales of cotton that they cleaned, carded, combed, spun into thread, loomed and made all the domestic produced pocket fabric for jeans and the uniform fabric for the Texas Prison System. Those are 2 experiences I will never forget , nor would I pass up, if the opportunity rose again. I can’t wait to see what you post when you do your tour, Kathleen.

  4. Trish says:

    I thought I posted yesterday but I must have just hit “Preview” by mistake…

    Well… what I said in my failed post was…

    Isn’t Kathleen the greatest!!!!

    The student designer in the photo is Christian Pardo Herrera and that smile shows the nature of her heart. She is a winner in my book!! Christian is a fabulous designer and illustrator.

    The student designer of the “pattern paper” dress is Ernesto Torres. Ernesto is very talented and full of great ideas.

    In my failed post I went on to talk about style numbers and the beauty of using numbers that tell you the whole story… but I do not have time now to repost. Maybe as I get some time later I will go back and talk about style number development.

    Thanks, Kathleen, for highlighting my students!!!!!

    Todd… glad you love the chucos!!!!!

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