News From You 9/18/09

News From You used to be a regular feature on this site, posted weekly more or less. It was probably the most popular entry I published all week but it got too long to keep up with. It was described as an eclect-tion of news, the weird, the arcane and the downright useless of interest to F-I infovores. We can try it again, more modestly this time. You’re welcome to send your submissions (include your web address for link love) to News From You.
First up, Julia Stiles has started a clothing line. Yep, another celeb snags the gold ring. Where will it end? If the video on her website is any indication, hopefully with her even though the line is completely sold out. Not what you think -it’s hilarious- and not to be missed. At press time the video link wasn’t working. Try this one. The punchline is on her site so go back to it if you ended up on youtube.
There’s a newish site about children’s clothing sizes called SizeTracker. It’s intended to aid parents in selecting appropriately sized clothing for their children. Put it on your watch list to monitor what consumers have to say about their kid’s clothes. Via this entry, I found an article about children’s fit models. Duly noted this morning, the most recent post contains opinions couched in innocuous verbiage which are based on inaccurate information. Try not to be too offended by either.
Speaking of monitoring consumers, you might want to keep tabs on this thread on Pattern Review. Originally a commentary of the NY Times article High Fashion Faces a Redefining Moment, it’s become a summary of consumer complaints about RTW quality. It may be painful, it may sometimes be unfair but it’s better to know what consumers think for better or ill.
And returning to the topic of children’s sizes, Esther has updated her sizing strategy experiment. This will be of interest if you’re looking for ways to reduce the range of sizes you have to produce without compromise. Esther is my go-to children’s grading person.
One article from the Los Angeles Times that intrigues me is Tough times in the porn industry. It seems that free shared content on the web is destroying the porn industry. Judgments aside, this bodes poorly for sites ~cough~ that provide valuable free content. I’m pondering it muchly. Free can kill the golden goose.
We love machines, yes we do but do they really matter? This site says not in Your Camera Doesn’t Matter. In many respects I agree. Which is not the same as saying I agree to give up my toys. Machines are like dogs. Being pack animals, they thrive among kindred and keep each other company when you’re away.
There’s a thing about sewing certain seams that annoys me. I have never written about it thinking I’m too picky and besides, I have a reputation for always going off on something. Erin Whitney writes about it, calling it Dominant Seams. This was useful because the other reason I never wrote about it was because I lacked the means to articulate it, raising the specter of the Nameless Tutorial Series. The last reason is that in some products it really doesn’t matter (but some people will read it and think it’s an imperative) and in cases that it does, it can raise the costs of production although I haven’t yet quantified by how much. In the end, I think it’s something enthusiasts have the liberty of doing what I think is the right way and maybe higher end producers but not anyone else. Anyway, look over Erin’s entry and tell me if you think I should bang on about it.
I like a blog called Trust Matters. They’re Just Not that into You explains rampant miscommunication and problems that result because we respectively think we are COTU -Center of the Universe.

Tangentially related is Self-Enforcing Protocols

There are several ways two people can divide a piece of cake in half… [snipped a lot]… A third way is for one person to do the dividing, and for the other person to choose the half he wants.

The last option is best but I think many do not realize that if the other party isn’t interested in the outcome, they don’t want the cake (sewing job or contract) and so will have no reason to cooperatively split it. Which goes back to the COTU argument. COTU explains why complete strangers think they’re doing you a favor if they ask you for a favor, say a referral. Speaking of referrals, Seth Godin explains how to get referrals in another context (still COTU) but it works here:

Why on earth should I give you a referral? Yes, I know it’s important to you, but why is it important to me? And second, I have a lot to lose if I refer a friend to you. You might screw up, in which case she’ll hate me. Or you might somehow do something that, through no fault of your own, disappoints. And third, the act of recommending you isn’t easy… Given the no-win nature of most referrals, you need to reset your expectations and consider a few ideas:

  • Paying me to refer you rarely works, because you’re not just asking for a minute of my time, you’re asking me to put my credibility on the line.
  • Understand that low-risk referrals happen more often than high-risk ones, and either figure out how to become a low-risk referral or embrace the fact that you have to be truly amazing in order to earn one.

Emphasis on the last line is mine. Summarizing this circuitously, I had an epiphany yesterday. I always thought stupid people (not stupid questions) annoyed me but they don’t. It’s smart people that do, usually if they send an email full of perfect well thought questions but with no intention of buying my book (the porn being free problem). And I have no doubt some will figure it out eventually but at what cost? It pains me to think of it. Between COTU and the known propensity of smart people to be better able to defend bad decisions, it’s easier to delete requests for referrals from people I don’t know.  Not to say I don’t feel a pang when I do it because I want to save everyone. In the end, I save time and frustration by abdicating. You know, the dividing the cake thing except I don’t want any cake because I’m not into them either because they’re not a low risk referral. Consider those contexts in which you  experience much the same and be resigned to it. Nobody wins but at least one loses less.
I thought this was great. It’s an iPhone application from Puma designed to promote their new line (Puma Bodywear). Here’s the blurb:

The PUMA Index is a cheeky web and iPhone application that tracks global stocks, but with a twist. As stocks go down, PUMA Index models shed layers of clothing, undressing all the way down to their PUMA Bodywear… And as stocks go up, the clothing comes back on.

Puma’s iphone application is free on iTunes but you can see a video demo here.
Speaking of iPhone apps, how many of you have them? I know a developer who developed a fabric conversion application. You plug in one width of goods and the known yardage of a given width, and it will tell you how much fabric you’ll need in any number of differing widths. Did my explanation make sense? Here’s an example: You have 2 yards allocation for a dress spread based on 60″ wide fabric. However, you need to know how much yardage you need for 45″ wide goods. This thing will do that ($1.99). However, I’m not going to tell you where to get it because the developer is designing a new application just for you! Yes indeedy. It will be much more robust and do what you need a converter to do when your on the floor at a fabric show or market. You’ll be able to quickly compare prices between goods of differing widths and costs to figure out which is the better buy. I’ll keep you posted.
Late to the party, I learned what Soy Bomb meant and the origins of the term after Kanye West’s escapade at the VMAs. My heart just went out to that poor girl but glad that Beyonce saved the day. While cynics say Beyonce had nothing to lose by abdicating her slot to Taylor Swift because the results generated more press than anything she could have said in her own acceptance speech, it would take a harder heart than Beyonce’s to figure that out. I thought it was lovely. I have no idea who Beyonce or Taylor Swift are but I may some CDs and give them to someone who does, just because.
That’s all for today, send your submissions (include your web address for link love) to News From You. I’m away for the day, email is best to contact me. Have a great weekend!

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  1. LisaB says:

    It’s great to see News From You again! I always looked forward to it as a round-up of interesting items I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

    I’d be interested in a blog entry on dominant seams even if you think you can’t articulate it quite right. I’m sure you’ll be able to get your points across, and I’d like to know your thoughts.

  2. Erin Whitney says:

    Yes Kathleen, I’d love to hear what you have to say about these so-called “dominant seams”. My post describes pretty much all that I know, which admittedly isn’t much. It was an a-ha moment when I asked my teacher about it when I sewed the crotch last for the first time ever. Flattered by the mention, now I feel like I should post something to make the place more welcoming to new visitors…

  3. Becky says:

    Thanks for the link to the blog Erin. It was just what I needed this morning. I have always felt uncomfortable with our throw away lifestyle. Beyond the quality though, home sewing gives me a sense of comfort and satisfaction. It is the process of making the garment. I am trying to get young people interested in sewing again by offering low cost sewing lessons. It can instill a sense of process and pride, a slowing down in one’s life. It can also instill an ok sense of individuality, not having to follow the crowd. Making a one of a kind can catch other kids’ eyes, asking “where did you get that great outfit”. So far I have had only one person inquire to the lessons, but I have just begun. What a great feeling, to share my knowledge and skills.

  4. dosfashionistas says:

    Thanks for reinstating this feature! It has always been one of my favorites, leading me off in interesting directions. Please do keep it up.

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