News from you 6/29/2007

Welcome to this week’s edition of News From You, an eclection (I do like my new word) of news, be it commercial, the weird, arcane, and the downright useless -of interest to F-I infovores. Feel free to pass your news along. Regarding commercial notices (vested parties), if you’re one of my designers or allied member of the community (meaning, you’ve bought my book), I’ll announce your commercial notices such as openings, launches (including websites), news and press pieces. All other commercial parties should review submission guidelines. I credit all sources, be sure to include your web address if you want a link. Lastly, you may remain anonymous but you have to tell me.

Normally I post entries in the order in which they’re submitted. That’s mighty egalitarian of me, no? No. It’s not. It’s laziness. This saves me the bother of organizing entries into a semblance or its attempt, of related content while appearing mighty white doing it. Insipid, self-congratulatory and overly belabored preamble dispensed with, here’s a photo submitted by Eric. Below is a photo of Velcro being pulled apart. This is courtesy of Tracy Anderson who says to send him suggestions of other interesting ideas for micro-photography.

Two bits of news. As I mentioned in comments yesterday afternoon, the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of manufacturers to enforce minimum pricing with their retail partners. Jenna sends a link to Century-Old Ban Lifted on Minimum Retail Pricing (NYT). The headline from WWD reads Supreme Court Backs Brands Over Retailers. Also, I updated the Liz Clairborne entry with excerpts and obit links.


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Returning to my lazigalitarian sorting is a blurb from Just-Style (sub req’d):

New EU regulations that came into force at the beginning of this month require clothing manufacturers and importers to identify and quantify the chemicals used in their products. A series of registration deadlines is due to roll out over the next 15 years, but as Keith Nuthall explains, companies only have until 1 December 2008 to complete the pre-registration process.

Apparently this affects those importing to the EU too. Does anybody have an ungated link to more information? Preferably dated June 2007 forward.
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You wouldn’t think there’d be much call to announce this here but judging from my increasingly international email, there is. The upcoming ITMA (Iinternational Exibition of Textile Machinery, yum yum) tradeshow is to be held in Munich Germany September 13–20 2007. DH has been trying to pry me loose for a vacation to Germany, maybe it’ll end up being a partial business expense?
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For pattern puzzle fans, Jinjer sends word of a very talented industrial designer saying

I thought you appreciate the furniture & structures created by Gregg Fleishmann. They’re made from economical (laser?) cuts of laminated wood. The pieces fold and pop together to make surprisingly comfortable chairs that mold to the body, and sturdy, functional structures that are relatively easy to assemble. I went to a show of his here in Oakland about a year ago and was blown away


Copyright 2005 Gregg Fleishman
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Ayanna Parker sends an article from CBS News, A Wonder Material You Can‘t Get Rid Of

“Plastic bags — they’re very light and they float around,” he said. “They get twisted around things. They’re a difficult material. They’re one of the most difficult things to recycle. The recycling business, like the garbage business, is all about tonnage. You want so many tons of aluminum cans and so many tons of paper that you can bale. And you can handle.”

Put simply, it costs so much more to process the bags than can be earned from selling them that they’re simply trucked off to the dump. And while a few flimsy bags don’t seem like much, they add up: Americans consume an estimated 100 billion of them every year.

Speaking of reusable bags, our contest has only been waylaid. I think entries stalled because the first project submitted was so good and so sensible, people lost heart although I do have two unpublished submissions. I’ll be resurrecting the project next month. I plan to enter too.
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Лазарев Виктор sends a correction regarding the pricing of the Russian CAD software saying that the light version starts at $260 for individual use. The full professional version is $2300.
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Nichol’s fans (The Milagro Beanfield War) or anyone with a warped sense of humor will enjoy the NPR story Espanola’s Spicy Police Blotter Tells All.The police blotter from Espanola NM has a huge fan base owing to it’s bizarre and gut bustingly funny (and truly tragic) reports. Reports range from people being assaulted with cheese, home owners reporting the leaving of sausages on their property and the story of the woman who smuggled drugs in a burrito to her incarcerated boyfriend. All published in the weekly paper, the owner of the local Dairy Queen attempted to sponsor the column since in his words, “we were in it so much (fights in the parking lot) that we may as well sponsor the darn thing”. His offer was declined. And you wonder why I live here.
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A word on standard relationship practices in the trade. If someone gives you a referral to another person or company and has cc’d the other party in the message, do not expect the party to whom you were referred, to contact you. If you do, in most cases you’ll wait forever. You contact them. I realize the buzz is that businesses should run after the customer, chasing them down to get the job but in this business, they don’t need to. They don’t have the time. At this level, the demand is in the inverse, ideas are a dime a pallet. Contractors aren’t. The other party was cc’d so they will know you have been legitimately referred (implied endorsement of you) and so, should be expecting your call.
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An anonymous update on Macy’s fashion incubator and their policies toward indie designers:

I just wanted to add a comment about the Macy’s thing-it is far from 100% that they are going to have a fashion incubator. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that their stock price is fluctuating rapidly due to rumors that they might be bought by a private equity firm that will do any of a few things with the store-including shuttering it completely like Carson Pirie Scott just down the block.

Here’s the item from Chicago Sun-Times Saturday edition (or part of it, it’s longer than I remember….) “Rumors swirled Friday that Macy’s could be sold to private-equity buyers this weekend, leading experts to speculate that Macy’s flagship store on State Street could be shuttered and sold, or returned to it’s Marshall Field’s origins…”

If they are for sale, and the possibilities for the retail space are that open-ended, it’s unlikely that a fashion-incubator will be top of the list of concerns or results after a sale.

[deleted, even juicier news on Macy’s, won’t let me print even anonymously]

Another note-use later if you like but I’d rather not have this bit credited to me…maybe it can start a discussion about department store practices with indie designers…I have it (orally) on GOOD authority that early this year’s local designer floor thing at Macy’s was on CONSIGNMENT terms! Now, I don’t have the same problem that you’ve enumerated (i think) on F-I, that consignment is a no-no (I’ve had great fun with it in independent boutiques and would do it again-having worked at them I know they often want your stuff, but the cash flow’s tight, and if it sells, well….) but I was pretty repelled by a large department store using startup terms.

Again, I don’t know whether you heard that last from me …especially since [deleted]. But check the Sun-Times or the Federated news feed for the surprising, somewhat disappointing news about the proposed sale.

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BadMom GoodMom was the first of several people to point me to an entry on Cathy Horyn’s blog regarding the costing of Sarah Jessica Parker’s line, Bitten (although Bella Sofia wrote me about it before it posted to CH’s blog). The debate raged in comments. I haven’t been reading the blog although I’ve since added it to the sidebar. I find the site visitors arguments cogent and compelling, leagues above the discussion you’ll find on nearly all other fashiony blogs. I think some of the commenters there should be blogging themselves (Anjou, Autre) aside from one who already is –the fashion informer.
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Adding to the patently arrogant category I get word of a man who’s patented some shirt collars. You can follow the discussion on his efforts to license the deal. Being a member of that community, I’m guessing the person who gave me this tip wants to remain anonymous. If not, ID yourself in comments.
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Kathleen Chevalier who runs an enthusiasts level pattern making discussion list, posted two tidbits:

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is host to an incredible exhibition of couture art this summer. The exhibition is in two parts in adjoining rooms: one room devoted to Dior gowns and dresses, the other to designers of his era (Balenciaga, St. Laurent, etc.) and some historical gowns, one noteworthy by Worth with beading and a 12 foot train! This exhibition will be up until the end of the year, and there is no admission fee to the IMA (closed Monday)! It also includes a continuous loop film of models in other fabulous gowns by these designers, and a “feeling/touching” table of fabrics and raw materials – flax, cotton, wool, silk, etc. If your travels take you through the Midwest, more interstate highways converge in Indy than any other place in the country, and it is worth a detour!

Kathleen also submitted a link to a video that illustrates how a lockstitch sewing machine works. Although humorous and educational it’s Cheesy cheesy cheesy and entirely too long. Fast forward through the first half of it once you get the gist of the nerds in action. Now I want to see them do an overlock.
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Economists Predict Rising Long-Term Prosperity
Also, a revisionist history of Che Guevara from Vargas Llosa.
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Susan Osborne has launched a site called fashionCEO, describing it as “an online community and resource center for independent fashion designers. It bridges the gap between the emerging designer and the established designer by providing in-depth, how-to interviews with the designers behind successful brands as well as fashion industry professionals. fashionCEO also profiles its designer members and encourages designers to interact with each other through the forum and mentoring program”. Premium content is available with paid memberships.

I kind of thought that was what we did around here. Maybe I’m wrong? Hmm.
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Danielle has designed a button for Fashion-Incubator. Isn’t that sweet? This is what it looks like:

If you want to show your support by loading it on your site, copy and paste:

<a href=”http://fashion-incubator.com/mt/”><img
src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1253/652391827_676c87102d_o.jpg”></a>

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Regarding the entry Roundup: Birds and bees, I found a site where you can sign a petition to support an alternative to the bloated, waste ridden Farm Bill called The Food and Farm Bill of Rights. I also found a poignant, well written editorial called Red State Welfare in the NYTimes covering the same. It was so well written, I looked up the author and bought one of his books. A history of the dust bowl years, I’m hoping it’s not an ecological disaster we’re doomed to repeat.
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I thought I’d posted this already but I guess not.

René Geneva Design (aka Faernyn’s Grove) has a new program to show the customer the footprint of each item of clothing. It’s called the Fashionably Neutral Carbon Program™, and its design is simple and clear:

Each item is assigned a carbon value or ‘CV’. This number is calculated by combining various factors, including the textile’s origin, the country of manufacture and the final destination; it indicates the approximate amount, in tons, of CO2 invested in each design.

Rene has also launched a new portfolio website.
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Elinor Averyt posts to the CABN discussion list (Co-Op America’s Business list):

A third-party certifications and eco-labeling organization for the US apparel and fabric industry is launching this fall in Los Angeles, CA. The entity has adopted the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) as the most challenging standards for companies to receive certification.

LEAF Certifications is facilitating bringing together sustainable textile experts and leaders to create an intermediate standard to the GOTS standard so that companies can aspire to an intermediate level of certification as an achievement within itself, as well as providing a milestone to reaching the inspiring GOTS standard over time.

Unfortunately, the full press piece isn’t on site. I’m a bit perplexed that I had to read it on CABN (I’m not on her distribution list, nor Jill evidently, a most logical choice) and I find no word in related apparel trade circles either. Odd that, I wonder how she’ll find people to conduct the audits? Well, if she googles herself, she’ll find herself here soon enough and traipse over and tell us more about it. It sounds interesting.
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Trendwatching Newsletter mentions they have a new site called Springwise for entrepreneurial ideas. I’ve barely scanned it but if it’s anything like their existing site, I just don’t know how they do it. Copious and detailed, I’ll describe Trendwatching briefings as an amazing display of intellectual generosity and leave it at that.
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The apparel industry headhunting firm for designers and related professionals, 24/7, has opened an office in Seattle. I’d say this is good news. Lord knows there’s been plenty of activity up there long enough to justify it.
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A reminder to register for Magic in August, 27-30. Their seminar list is up. I am not on it. Nobody likes me. There’s also a sourcing show in conjunction. I wasn’t very impressed with the one in February (now they really won’t like me) because it was geared to offshore players. Also, at this event, PrintSource will inaugurate. “PrintSource showcases collections by international textile design studios at the forefront of cutting edge trends”.
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Speaking of shows and sourcing, Material World will be held in NY at the Javits on September 25-27. I wasn’t real impressed with Material World in Miami Beach but everything is always better in NY.
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Eddie sends mention of an article that appeared in Business 2.0 regarding the upcoming Burning Man event on Labor Day. Anyone going? I know a couple of you do, all the hip people do. Being woefully inadequate, I won’t be although I wouldn’t mind a trip report if somebody wrote one.

Eddie also sends a recent article detailing online activity. Surprisingly, women now outnumber men online.
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Karen Clark mentions Paul Hawken (chapter 7 of Natural Capitalism is required reading for all of you) has a new site called Wise Earth following a link from Truth Out. Both make for interesting reading.
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It would appear that the battle for intellectual property rights has expanded to include restaurants and recipes. Restaurant chef and owner Rebecca Charles, has sued a competitor -and former employee- for copying her restaurant’s concept, design and menu.
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The bi-monthly edition of the JC Report is out. Too dense and fashiony, I can never wade through it although I’d think it’d be required reading for the bridge designers in our midst. The fit of the upper bodice of this dress needs some work but I thought it was cool. Not that I could or would wear it.
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Oh, this is late in coming, but I found a great discussion forum (belonging to one of our members) for people interested in industrial machines. DIY Tactical is the parent site, selling necessities for the making of tactical and military accouterments. Tools of the trade and the Sewing Circle will be helpful to anyone with more questions than answers.
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Other than Todd’s entry from this morning which I’m still mulling over, I hope I didn’t miss anyone. If so, resend it. Eddie says I’m not getting all my mail.

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8 comments

  1. jenna says:

    On the subject of expanding IP rights, one craft yarn vendor has sued a second vendor for a declaratory judgment stating that it hasn’t infringed the trade dress rights of the second vendor in beaded silk hand knitting yarn. Hasn’t progressed very far, and I’m willing to bet it will settle. I blogged about it:

    http://www.girlfromauntie.com/journal/index.php/2007/but-she-started-it/

    Coincidentally that the second vendor got called out by some consumers last year for their keystone pricing policy, and then suspended that policy. I wonder if they’re reinstate it.

    And on the shirt collars: in that forum topic, reply #15 from “arnach”: hilarious.

  2. Laura says:

    Kathleen, I always enjoy reading the News from You entries, thanks.

    I recently read Timothy Egan’s “The Worst Hard Time,” and unfortunately I can’t recommend it. He does a decent job of capturing a particular man’s experience of the dust bowl years, but he doesn’t expand that into the community around him or the country at large. Since it is billed as a general history of the dust bowl, it was disappointing to me.

  3. Irene says:

    I couldn’t see the Eric Glennie site for those collars :( but that comment was priceless, jenna! I just wish I could see what inspired it!

    Springwise is a great addition to the Trendwatching briefings. Their’s and your’s are always on my first-read lists!

    Thanks for all the info, Kathleen.

  4. heather t says:

    Hi – I am glad you will be reviving the reusable bag contest. I recently started a blog where I am collecting links to free bag patterns and inspiration.

    I’m looking for more patterns to share, so I wonder if you and your participants would be willing to share their entries with the Make A Bag blog as well.

    In general, I’m looking for photos, especially photos of projects as they progress, and other environment- and family-friendly content.

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