News From You 4/18/08

Yep, it’s another edition of News From You. Yeah, I’m still behind on submissions (but not getting further behind so keep sending them in) which continue to be much appreciated. If you’re new to these parts, News From You is a regular series best described as an eclection of news, the weird, the arcane and the downright useless of interest to F-I infovores. Send your submissions to News From You.
Prepare for the festivities! April is:
Mathematics Awareness Month
National Uh-huh Month
National Welding Month
National Kite Month (kite making links)
This of course doesn’t include Earth Day, coming up April 22nd.
Evidence of sizing evolution -or inflation- from Airbus:

Rainer von Borstel, a senior vice president of Airbus Germany, told reporters at the Aircraft Interiors Expo that the A350’s straight side walls will provide more head and shoulder room and wider seats, to make it “the widest cabin ever.”

Not surprisingly, another source of redesigning to encompass America’s increasing girth is Disney -no surprise to anyone working in their private label program. Virginia Postrel says “Disneyland is revamping the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride to accommodate today’s fatter passengers on its boats…”

Alison’s Beloved sends a link to an old map of NM with an interesting story behind it. Mare says “It almost looks like a cutting pattern of a very strange garment”.

About a third of the nation’s eighth-grade students, and roughly a quarter of its high school seniors, are proficient writers, according to nationwide test results released Thursday.

This is the scarier part. According to the article, educators are pleased with the results. Business owners are of another opinion:

A survey of 120 corporations conducted by the College Board in 2003, for instance, concluded that a third of employees in the nation’s blue-chip companies, including many recent college graduates, wrote poorly.

From the WSJ Vietnam Workers Strike:

…21,000 workers at a Taiwanese-owned factory that makes shoes for Nike Inc. have gone on strike seeking higher wages to keep pace with the rising cost of food and other essential goods. Vietnam’s inflation rate hit 19% in March, the highest in 13 years, and its Communist leaders recently said their economic growth targets may have to be reduced to instead concentrate on curtailing rising prices in a country where the average per capita income is about $800 a year.

Workers at the Taiwanese-owned Ching Luh Vietnam Co. factory in southern Long An province walked off the job Monday seeking further wage increases, bringing production to a standstill. The plant, the largest employer in Long An province, is one of 10 factories that Nike has contracted to produce sports shoes in Vietnam. Together, the factories produce about 75 million pairs a year. [ ] …although the factory has been paying staff more than the minimum wage, workers are struggling to meet daily living expenses. They are also bargaining for better working conditions, including an improved cafeteria.

The Garment Worker’s Center in Los Angeles will be screening Made In LA this Saturday at their office located at 1250 S. Los Angeles St. #213. A fundraiser ($10 donation suggested) the award winning documentary -six years in the making- is about the LA garment industry from the viewpoint of three Latina immigrants who persevered in the campaign against Forever 21 (if you find California’s licensing onerous, you can thank Forever 21). Also on the agenda, banners and poster making for the scheduled May 1st march. The GWC is always looking for volunteers.
When I grow up, I want to be like Danielle. She posted a recent entry so concise, it garnered scant attention.

I just finished Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. Subtitled “A Plant’s Eye View of the World”. Pollan shows how plants go out of their way to use animals to propogate their own species, suggesting that we are just another seed carrying dupe in the grand plan of plants… like corn. Pollan’s book was a powerful one, expressing perceptions I have not encountered before.

Among other ideas (follow her links) she suggests that cotton is a conspiracy, we being but one of its seed carrying dupes through “profligation of denim and t-shirts”. Profligation…technically means defeat or rout but I think she means it as profligate proliferation. Helen, as our resident grammarian, what say you about that? Either we need a new definition or we need a new word. How about proflitergation? Proflergation?
Speaking of chunky, do any of you keep up with Their latest briefing is out. Entitled “Status Stories”, they say the trend in product marketing is “about companies no longer inundating consumers with their ‘brand stories’, but instead helping customers tell a story to other consumers. Not to promote that particular brand, but to make those customers more interesting to others”.
And speaking of trends, here’s a snippet from this article about Bottega Veneta submitted by BadMomGoodMom:

Faced with a recession, affluent consumers “don’t want to be screaming luxury right now,” said Milton Pedraza, the chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a research group in New York. “They don’t want something flashy that everybody else has. They are looking for unique handcrafted things that can’t immediately be reinterpreted at every level of the marketplace.”

Here’s a great collection of sewing and pattern making links -in Spanish. Be adventuresome, you’re sure to find something international you haven’t seen before.
The Las Vegas Convention Center complex isn’t big enough. No no, after this project is done, we’ll need air service to see it all.
Rene warms my heart with this news:

I just wanted to drop you a note and see how you are doing!! We are doing great, collecting investors since we got an account with Wholefoods and are being taken to multiple stores. We did Fashion Week last month in LA again, and it was 100 times better than the FIRST fashion week that we did. So, things are booming, everything is wonderful, and I certainly do not one to go another minute with out taking the time to thank you!! I appreciate so much what you have done for me, you have helped me have the confidence and direction to take my business to the level that I want. Oh, and the best part??!! (Well, its all best part really).. but we not have a new women’s sewing project in Nicaragua that is under a completely new business model (that theoretically works) that is FULLY FUNDED by a third party!! That breaks ground in 2009 and currently we are just working out logistics. I would love to borrow your ear for a moment to tell you what is going on with that since you have experience down in Latin America.

Ioanna (the one in Crete -or is it Cyprus?) sends a link to this video; An Engineer’s Guide to Cats. Yes, yes, that’ll do.

Oh and speaking of stupid, cat videos and engineers, my engineer made one of Shop Cat and her chair. Dull, you have been warned. The first time Sally saw us set the cat up to do it, she said “oh no, that’s so mean”. Well, depends on your definition of mean. The cat growls at Eric three quarters of the way into it when he tries to remove her from the chair.
Found: an interesting charity project called 100 Skirts hosted/sponsored by Vintage Threads. Her goal is to make 100 skirts for August delivery to a Guatemalan orphanage where her dad works. Due to increased demand, she’s had to up her goal to 150. As of 4/16 and thanks to a generous benefactor producing all of the size 7’s, she’s completed 83. Do drop by to see if you can lend a hand. Anybody got some extra elastic, fabric or thread? Too bad she lives in Alaska …sounds like it could be great fun as a sewing marathon type event.
Timo sends a link to an article about having your body scanned for fashion and science. A project based from Central Michigan University, they bought the scanner with a $400,000 grant from you the National Science Foundation. The college is building a database of the human body. No word yet on whether the results will be available to you considering you paid for it for a reasonable price, unlike other parties who will remain nameless.

Timo also sends two links to a bit of controversy. This man who heads a fashion school said publicly that men design for women, better than women do for women. His school, Sydney’s Institute Fashion Design Studio would only be featuring designs by four male student designers. Hmm.
Only men can save trashy girls
Fashion School Head Slams Female Designers
Hearst Magazines announces the launch of This is a campaign to encourage girls to donate their prom and special occasion dresses to girls who cannot afford to finance the costly experience of going to their prom, sweet 16, quinceañera or formal on their own. They already have give aways organized. I see it as a way one could finally recycle horrid bridesmaid’s dresses one was required to purchase or make.

And speaking of clothing donations, Treehugger says there’s a clothing library in Western Australia that lends clothes out to unemployed people who need appropriate attire for job interviews.

And speaking of Treehugger, they report that Saab (yes, the car maker) is launching a line of sustainable and free trade apparel in collaboration with Reflective Circle. I wonder how that’ll go over.
Esther writes:

I was playing around with Google Book Search and found some interesting things that may be of interest to blog readers. At Google Books, use the search terms “children’s clothing” and find lots of books having to do with pattern making, sewing, knitting, and crafts on the topics. I found some that I had never heard of before. Click on a title and there will be a link that says “find this book in a library”. Except in a few instances, most books are available through inter-library loan, including Master Patterns for children by Selma Rosen. The rarity, value, and rules of the lending library will determine if it is truly available through inter-library loan. I will be attempting to get Master Patterns through inter-library loan. Few lending libraries recognize the value of these types of books, so it may be possible, but no guarantee. But please, let’s not all try at the same time.

If you use the search term “dressmaking patterns” you can find many books on pattern making, including this gem Clothing for Women from 1916, available as a full text for download.

As a second part of my News for You, I have written a letter to ASTM requesting they develop an expanded standard for drawstrings and ties on children’s clothing. I have yet to receive even an acknowledgment of my letter, but it would help if others could also write. Contact information and my letter is posted in the forum.

Eddie Barcellos sends links, the first article explains how Patagonia has raised the bar of apparel manufacturing transparency.

Patagonia has become the first major apparel manufacturer to track and expose the social and environmental impact of specific garments through an interactive web-site that reveals to consumers the good and the bad involved in manufacturing outdoor clothing.

In the second, Barney has teamed up with the Sundance Channel and Loomstate to start the first ever t-shirt recycling program. Loomstate will be re-fashioning donated tees to be sold in a limited edition collection sold at Barneys for Holiday 2008.
Todd sends a link to an article and video in the WSJ about China’s Challenge to Italy. Can a Chinese factory make an $800 suit that is just as good as a $1,400 suit made in Italy? The very idea will ruffle the feathers of many a tailor I know.
In conjunction with WWD, 24/7 is offering a free copy of the WWD Salary & Job Satisfaction Survey. It’ll take awhile to arrive. I applied the day it was announced and got an email back two weeks later requesting more information from me to have it sent by snail mail. It still hasn’t arrived. Yahoo claims designers earn $55,000. I wonder where they got that from? We know most of you make dirt :).
Josh send a link to Fashion Space. The place to buy, sell or swap clothes you don’t want anymore. I think it used to be trades only but I guess they buckled to demand. I saw some cute things I couldn’t trade for but would have bought.
My friend Trish who teaches at El Paso Community College, has convinced her design students to start a blog. She agrees the students need to work on punctuation and capitalization so don’t judge it too harshly yet.

She also passed me some interesting links. Here’s a video made in the 1930’s about what they thought people in the year 2000 would be wearing. As if. People had a lot more class back then, so much for progress. The heels were interesting.

Another link she sent me was some YouTube videos produced by the student’s of Otis Fashion College (Verbal Croquis’ Alma Mater). I didn’t have time to look at them until today. I only watched one, called How to insert a railroad zipper (because I don’t know what a railroad zipper is) and found it was just a regular dress zipper. I don’t recommend this method by the way. I could see this if a student had figured it out but no, this was an instructor illustrating how to do it. Eeek! Maybe I should send them a link to my zipper tutorials?
Okay, this gets me through submissions sent as of March 28th. I really need to do a catch up entry to include the back log (embarrassed to say how many but it’s over 100). I’m just trying to not get any further behind.

I welcome noncommercial submissions from anyone be they useful, quirky, weird and offbeat. I credit all sources, include your web address for link love. Be kind, save me some time and include your url with your message. If it’s not obvious from the content that you want to remain anonymous, you’ll have to tell me.

Commercial notices are encouraged from community members. 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. Non-members with commercial notices should review the 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. Esther says:

    BTW, I did try to get Master Patterns by Selma Rosen. It is NOT available through inter-library loan. Master Patterns is 6 sheets of paper in a large cardboard box and is classified as visual materials. Visual materials are very rarely available through inter-library loan.

    Many people want these patterns to be reprinted – they used to accompany the book. The book Childrenswear Design is out of print too. I have never seen the patterns and I have my doubts about their value. Still if anyone lives close to one of the libraries that does have a copy, perhaps you could let us know what it’s all about.

  2. ioanna says:

    It’s Cyprus :) Not that I’m turning my nose up at Crete in any way. Love that place! Both used to be part of the mythical Atlantis empire you know. :) Well that is my theory anyways. Based on very little scientific or archaeological fact of course :)
    lol You should hear my conspiracy theories etc. I also have a theory where cats have a genetic memory that goes back to Ancient Egyptian times when they used to be treated as gods, which explains their often spoiled attitude :)
    Great multitude of links as per usual. Thanks!

  3. Bethany says:

    I thought the little video about designs in the future was fascinating. The third outfit was pretty much dead on and the man’s outfit, though funny, did have a phone that was attached to him, which I thought was pretty true.

  4. Railroad zipper? How many puns will that result in, I wonder.

    Thanks, Esther, for the 1916 book. I couldn’t work out how to download so have ordered through Amazon. The contents look fascinating; can’t wait!

    Yep, that story about Mr Huxley making those comments (the day before in the same paper, he raved about Lisa Ho and Zimmerman, very successful FEMALE graduates of the course) has dominated industry chatter here for the week, though it’s unlikely his head will roll. The New York Times had an article on the same topic in 2005, and if you’re after a reason to loathe Tom Ford, there it is…

    Thanks for this, Kathleen and everyone, so much to get through!

  5. Josh says:

    After further investigating the Fashion Myspace I was disappointed in the men’s trade selection, mostly junk. Also not many if any US people trading, maybe that will change. I really wish there was an actual good apparel trading site that was buzzing with activity. I often wear things a few times and don’t want to be seen in it again or tire of it quickly but they still look brand new. It would be neat to have a site where you could just find people your size and who share your fashion sense and trade with them, things with equal value. Fashion MySpace is attempting it but it needs to motivate it’s visitors better. I should start like a personal website and invite people to trade clothes with me but with my luck I’d get some crazy who wanted to molest my socks. Anyone wanna trade clothes with me reading this? tehe I’m a 32 waist, small to med shirt size…

    Randomly I just had some coconut milk and it tasted/smelled like gasoline, ew, hope I don’t die.

  6. Helen says:

    1. My university requires engineering majors to pass a writing test before graduation. I just received news that I have passed (woohoo). We were to read a short (under 500 word) article and write a 300-500 word response. I seem to remember my 4th grade Ohio Proficiency Tests as feeling more challenging.

    2. Prolifligilaterlamation. Eat that, Webster’s.

    3. My future roommate has a cat. I have a spinny chair. And despite the twitchy tail Shop Cat seems to enjoy being spun AND does not puke on the carpet afterwards. Hm.

    4. I was under the impression that tailors in China and especially in Hong Kong already made very good bespoke suits. As for factories, I am not so sure of the situation there, but what is a good suit other than excellent patterns, proper construction technique, and decent materials? I can hardly wait to learn more. However, how will a potential buyer of this suit react upon learning it was made in China? I suppose if the low price point is the reason for purchase then they might not care. I love that they did a “blind tasting” of the suits without labels including my best-known company, HF, though I would venture to add that perhaps the difference in shaping may be because of different customer profiles.

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