News from you 10/26/07

Welcome to another edition of News From You, an eclection of news, the weird, the arcane and the downright useless of interest to F-I infovores. I welcome noncommercial submissions from anyone be they useful, quirky, weird and offbeat. Commercial notices are encouraged from community members (guidelines). I credit all sources, include your web address for link love. While I’m thinking of it, how come most of you still haven’t added your url to your sig file? It takes time for me to search my email folders to find a url you may have left in a previous message or worse, I have to google you to find it. It takes time. Be kind and include it with your message. If you want to remain anonymous, you’ll have to mention that. Send your submissions to News From You.
More on ethical fashion shows, this one from Paris (via). Selecting your language choice guarantees your screen will be hijacked. Thank heavens I have two. Why do web designers persist in such guerrilla tactics? This is beyond annoying…
Found: a blog called Fashion Lawyer’s Weblog from Jincey Lumpkin. I hope this one hangs around. There’s been a couple of fashion law blogs but in the end, they amounted to shingles designed to draw internet searches; no updates ever. Jincey -short for Virginia- seems to enjoy blogging. We’ve chatted some; I told her the regulations on licensing in California are an endless source of frustration. I suggested she could probably write an e-doc about how to navigate the system and generate a little revenue. She says she’s doing some preliminary research for now. In the meantime, she’s still fashion law blogging. Visit and help stretch her legs.

I poked around a bit on that shoe/podiatrist blog I mentioned before and explored his blog roll -amid some definite NSFW links (very naughty and unprofessional!)- I found The Political History of Shoes. Another interesting one was Archaeological and anthropological Podiatry. Wow. Now I’ve seen everything. Lastly, a boot maker’s journal detailing her experience making her first pair of boots. She’s also into art boots, wrote a book on it even, if you’re into that sort of thing like I am. I love western styles, particularly vintage.
I was exploring the site of the Fair Labor Association and found they have a blog. One entry from last June was a detailed report of their visit to a sewing contractor, D’Clase, in the Dominican Republic. This largish contractor (over 5,000 employees) does work for Levis and Timberland boots among others. It looks to be a nice facility; plenty of photos. Go have a look see. By the way, if you’re interested in what is defined as appropriate workplace standards, see the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct.

I wrote them asking how we could join. Although it’s been several days, I haven’t heard back yet. Unfortunately, a non-response is all I’ve ever gotten from any “fair labor” anti-sweatshop group I’ve ever contacted; they don’t seem to be very welcoming to manufacturers. I don’t know how they expect to affect change if they’re so insular. I can only think their organization is only designed to express outrage after the fact, rather than to be preventative, proactive and inclusive. I think they could or rather should, play a substantive role and provide value (for which they could justifiably exact remuneration) in helping manufacturers define and establish their human resource policies. Few if any of you knowingly want to be bad employers. What’s wrong with supplying fee-based guidance? This is an ongoing annoyance of mine, not directed at FLA specifically but the gamut of fair labor organizations in general.
Apparel Magazine is sponsoring the 2007 Apparel Tech Conference November 7-8, 2007 at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in midtown Manhattan. This event, a day-and-a-half conference, is free. If interested, [link is irreparably broken, sorry]. If you go, do say hello to the lovely (and brilliant) Janice Wang, CEO of Alvanon (dress forms). She will be pleased to meet you (really).

Speaking of forms, I bought one of the Alvanon forms, a Rolls Royce full body form with (even) collapsible hips! I’ll tell you more about it when it gets here. Oh, and still further off topic, if you’re planning on joining us on the official F-I trip to Hong Kong next spring, we’ll (or at least I will) likely call on Janice’s dad (Dr. Wang) who runs a highly esteemed apparel industry training program there called CITA. I’ve long been an admirer of his scholarship, humanitarianism and knowledge. Perhaps because he’s a medical doctor and apparel manufacturer, he’s obsessed with fit (hence he started Alvanon). I was just floored when Janice said she was his daughter. He’s my hero! which made me like Janice all the more (remind me to tell you the story of how we met, it’s pretty funny). This business is much smaller than you can ever imagine.
I’ve mentioned Kapok before for use as a sustainable fiber, after having met with a vendor at Magic last February. Kapok is from trees with very unique properties. It looks like cotton but feels like cashmere. The processing load is very low; it’s a marvelous fiber. Nancy (the vendor I met) sent me an email (below). Am I a bad person for failing to edit it? She is just so charming and don’t want to taint her words. Nancy said:

How are you? We have ever met in Magic show in Febuary. Unfortunely our innovation is not compatible from Lab to production line at that time. However, I just came back from Shanghai two weeks ago and like to announce that we have new products will present on the Textile Expo in Shanghai during 10/29 – 11/1 with a seminar to report current development of Kapok to be more maturally.

During last 5 months, our headquarter has some management change and alliance with one fabric manufacturer (we provide them yarn and they woven the fabric) to improve our Kapok innovation up to 40’s-50’s yarn and fabric relatively with better quality. After this cooperation, we can consolidate other smaller quantity orders or make samples.

We will show most the product lines in China International Textile Fair/Yarn Expo Autumn located in Shanghai international convention centre, Pu-Dong, Shanghai.

If you are interested to join this show or already plan to go, please come to visit our booth no. E4,D29 named Wu-Jiang Yixiang Textile. please contact our staffs Mr.Yan Kou-Hsing by (86)13338805605 or contact me by email or phone 1-408-829-6699, I will arrange a receptionist or translater.

If you are remotely interested in pursuing Kapok for use as an eco sustainable fiber (nobody knows anything about it yet; you’d really be cutting edge), don’t hesitate to contact Nancy. She is helpful and charming. Do say I sent you.
BadMomGoodMom sends a link to Fearing Crime, Japanese Wear the Hiding Place.

Aya Tsukioka demonstrated new clothing designs that she hopes will ease Japan’s growing fears of crime. Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By holding the sheet open and stepping to the side of the road, she showed how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine. The wearer hides behind the sheet, printed with an actual-size photo of a vending machine.

Through a happy coincidence, I’ve located a manufacturer of leather coats on the east coast. I’m intimately familiar with the product line and the capabilities; this is a real find! It turns out, he was formerly associated with this other designer I knew but I never knew their production source. He is open to contract work, quantities are lower than you’d think. He also mentions that his building (he owns it) is half empty and says he says it’d be ideal for DE tenants needing shop space at lower than typical market rates. I’ll keep mum on exact address (NJ) but he can see the Empire State building from his location. Lastly, it turns out he was a good friend of my former mentor, now deceased. We spent time talking over old times this morning. It was nice. Contact me for more info.
Miracle writes asking if I knew about this (I didn’t).

Karl Lagerfeld turns Great Wall of China into fashion runway. It’s taken a year of organisation but finally the people behind luxury fashion house Fendi have achieved their dream of hosting a runway show on the historic Great Wall of China.

Some of China’s biggest stars, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress Ziyi Zhang, as well as the West’s Kate Bosworth and Thandie Newton looked on as 88 models sashayed down a catwalk on a restored part of the celebrated landmark. “I seriously doubt that there will be anything of this magnitude or anything this magical for a very long time,” enthused Superman Returns actress Kate of the sunset extravaganza.

Nanette Baldwin (Nanoo children’s wear) has started blogging. A young company, she’s testing the waters by selling on eBay.
Amelia Hearn is a student at Queensland University of Technology, in Brisbane Australia. She wrote me awhile back but I haven’t responded yet. Here’s her message. Contact her if you can help out.

I’m writing an article for an assignment about how women relate to/think of bras. I’m also looking at fit and marketing as part of that. The aim of the assignment is to get the piece published. If you have the time to answer some questions it would greatly appreciated. If you are interested I have listed a my questions below.

  1. How complex is it to engineer a bra in terms of structure and support?
  2. How often does a choice between structure/support/fit and aesthetics have to be made? In your experience which usually wins?

If there is anyone or any sites that you feel comfortable recommending to me as a source I would greatly appreciate it as well. Many Thanks

Did I miss anything? Probably. ~sigh~ You guys have to pester me if I don’t get back to you or you don’t see it here. I appreciate, rather than resent reminders. As ever, I will print your commercial news posted such as openings, launches, new websites, news and press pieces if you’re one of my designers or allied member of the community; we’re thrilled to see your progress. All other commercial parties should review submission guidelines. I regret the limitation but if I didn’t, then NFY would be dominated by PR fluff, jewelery and handbag designers with no ties to the community looking for free advertising. Send your submissions to News From You.

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  1. Big Irv says:

    Dragon’s Den is a fascinating show. Different from say American Inventor, the panelists actually make you an offer after you pitch them on your product or concept. They are pretty tough on people. It seems the companies or concepts they do like, they want to secure at least an equal or controlling share . Rarely have I seen them take up someone’s offer of 150K for 25% for instance.

    This past week’s episode, they quickly dismissed a punk children’s clothing line as too niche. One Dragon said ” the clothing industry is like a giant toilet, it just devours cash “. The woman didn’t get much interest.

    I look forward to watching Daniel and see how Ujeans fares.

  2. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    About kapok: I remember reading that it was used as stuffing for stuffed animals earlier in the 20th Century. And I think for cushioning stuff in packages to be shipped. Correct me if I’m wrong, though. I’d have to dig out my textiles textbook to be sure.

  3. kaaren hoback says:

    Kapock was also the filling on early life preservers during the war (WWII) this tropical plant was out of reach to the US military. The kapock tree is indigenous to Indonesia and also grows in parts of Africa .

    The silk of the common species of milkweed which is native to North America from the east coast to the Rocky Mountains proved a valuable substitute. The silky fiber from the rather large seed pod holds air between its filaments- long exposure does water log it but it doesn’t absorb water readily like wool or cotton. Children were sent out to road sides and later fields with old feed sacks to collect the silken fibers

    Butterflys love this plant which is on the menu for many insect varieties. Most of the road sides in upstate rural NY feature large quantities of milkweed that have self seeded from the fields it was grown in 60 years ago. In summer there are lovely pink flowers and as fall approaches a large pod forms- the seeds are interlaced in the “silk”, as it cools the pods split open allowing the silk and seeds to float on the air and self seed.

    Milkweed can be used in dry floral arrangements and stabilized with a spray of common hair spray.

  4. Carol Phillips says:

    We had some kapok pillows and sleeping bags and the like in the mid-50’s, and I became violently allergic to the fibre. In fact, by habit I’ve checked the fiber content of every “filled” sewn item in the intervening 45 – 50 years to make sure it did not contain kapok.
    Of course, there may be vast differences in fiber processing from then til now — but I would evaluate this characteristic right from the beginning.

  5. dosfashionistas says:

    I love this weekly posting of news from all over! It is something I come back and mine all week, going into the different links to see what they are about.

    I am so impressed by the dress form site, and wondering if I could afford their services. A true to life plus size form in something other than size 16 would be very helpful to me in developing styles. We are still in the “us as fit models” stage, and I know better. However the industry standard of using the smallest plus size as the sample size is also totally dumb. I have a Wolf form in that size. A dress form in a true average size 22W or 24W, made so that it really fit the way women gain weight would be so great. I have put it on my list of things to get when there is a little more money.

    The idea of kapok as fabric is interesting. There are many fiber that just aren’t used, that could be. Wool from the yak is supposed to be much warmer than regular wool, more insulating. (I have nothing to back this up, just heard it years ago in a textiles class. And when I say years ago….)

  6. /anne... says:

    I’m at work and my fibre resources are at home, but I seem to remember problems spinning kapok – I think it turned to dust quite quickly. This was in an early Spin-Off magazine, if anyone has access.

    I remember kapok being used as a mattress filling, although my grandparents had feather mattresses – you had to beat them into shape every morning. It was like sleeping in a little nest.

    Handspinners will spin anything. I’ve met people who spin dryer lint, and I recently bought a small bag of carbon fibre. I’ve also got soy silk, bamboo – and several other sorts that I can’t remember offhand ;-).

    As protein fibres go, wool isn’t particularly warm (although it can hold an amazing amount of water before it feels wet). Alpaca, mohair, angora, cashmere, musk ox, camel – all these are warmer. The advantage of wool is it’s easily grown and easy to spin, knit and weave. None of the other fibres have the ‘memory’ of wool, which is one of the reasons why it is often blended with more exotic fibres. That and cost, of course :-).

  7. kaaren hoback says:

    You are right about the milkweed variety of kapok being difficult to hand spin- it’s very silky and has no barbs like wool does- long ago (early 70’s) I tried blending it with a friend’s husky dog hair(15%) and romney wool (70%). I did manage some sucess when most of the swint(lanolin/ sugars etc) was left in the wool which coated the kapok with a fine “grease” during the carding process. The resultant yarn had a wonderful sheen from the milkweed, and was lighter than an all woolen. This mess was hand woven into a very 70’s style poncho. The different fibers took dye very differently creating a heather effect which was good. Results: Very artsy crafty- ugh. But it is another fiber that can be easily grown that could blend with another.

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