News From You 6/6/2008

Yep, it’s another edition of News From You. Yeah, I’m still behind on submissions but these are much appreciated! If you’re new to these parts, News From You is an ongoing 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.
I thought this was a great storage idea for stashing small quantities of components like buttons and the like. The idea came from her significant other -an engineer.
WWD announces the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Award winners. Free access.
Josh has started a blog, My Vegan Cookbook. Boy, food is hard to shoot but his photos are amazing. Enough to inspire me to try some of those yummy looking recipes. Josh, a vegetarian since the age of 12 along with his identical twin Jess, says he’s lost 60 lbs since making the switch.
Danielle has entered a boot design contest. Show your support by voting. You can vote once every 24 hours. She’s currently in 11th place. Let’s push her over the top.

Tyler says Japanese retailing is more efficient than most people think

The basic measure of retail-sector productivity is how much of a product an employee can shift in an hour. On this measure, Germany does well. That turns out to be because of restricted opening hours, which oblige customers to make hefty purchases in one go. Japan does badly. Cavernous US superstores do better than cramped noodle or tofu shops. Japan also has a dense network of convenience stores on almost every city block, open 24 hours, allowing people to shop whenever they want. This makes them inefficient, since purchases are less concentrated.

No allowance is made, either, for the fact that Japanese shops tend to be within walking or, at most, cycling distance. Figures do not capture the inconvenience of having to travel, or the externalities associated with long shopping expeditions: traffic accidents, pollution, road maintenance.

Alex Tabarrok says a tariff on imports of coat hangers from China is raising dry cleaning costs. NPR explains:

If you think your dry cleaning bills are high now, hang on. Wire hangers are getting more expensive due to import tariffs on cheaper hangers from China. So dry cleaning operators are asking customers to return their hangers to help keep costs down.

A flood of cheap Chinese hanger imports in recent years has forced all but one major U.S. hanger manufacturer out of business. M&B Hangers in Leeds, Ala., hung on. M&B President Milton Magnus III complained to the U.S. Commerce Department that Chinese manufacturers were dumping hangers well below market value. In March, the government responded by imposing a tariff on all wire hangers from China. Today, M&B is thriving. It makes more than a million hangers a day, and Magnus expects to double his work force in two years. But that still isn’t enough to meet the demand. Since the tariff was imposed, nearly every dry cleaner in the U.S. has had to pay more for hangers, on average about $4,000 a year. But Magnus says most customers probably won’t notice it.

Recently, we’re short on hangers. My usual strategy is to weed Eric’s closet of shirts and slacks he’s no longer wearing. And why not? We’re short because of adding to his wardrobe. I don’t hang my clothes. We send nothing to the dry cleaners either.
Via See Here, The Masai warriors’ guide to England

Six Masai warriors, who are so fierce they kill male lions with their bare hands, have been warned that surviving the perils of the African bush will be child’s play compared to what they can expect on their first trip to England. The warriors, who are leaving their remote Tanzanian village to run in the London Marathon, have been given a detailed four-page guide on how to contend with the most curmudgeonly species they may ever encounter: the English office worker.

JC Sprowls says he’s becoming quite partial to the Garmentos blog, courtesy of Fortune. I find it interesting Fortune finds it worthy of ink -so to speak. The most recent entry dated May 1st gives more insight on factoring. I never processed the fact that factors also finance inventory to vendors.

JC also sent a link to a DE website with a product that made him snort with laughter. Being a fuddy-duddy, I reserve comment. ~sigh~ What will people think of next?

  • Gay Hairdresser: It’s so cool that you’re willing to try new things with your hair. Most people hate change.
  • V: I’m just so bored with myself. And I figured I could either develop a personality or get a new haircut.
  • Gay Hairdresser: Haircut is easier.
  • V: That’s what I thought.

Not news, Naomi Campbell has been charged with assault again.
Dr. Kurzweil says we have little to worry about, science will save us.

Do you have trouble sticking to a diet? Have patience. Within 10 years, Dr. Kurzweil explained, there will be a drug that lets you eat whatever you want without gaining weight.

Worried about greenhouse gas emissions? Have faith. Solar power may look terribly uneconomical at the moment, but with the exponential progress being made in nanoengineering, Dr. Kurzweil calculates that it’ll be cost-competitive with fossil fuels in just five years, and that within 20 years all our energy will come from clean sources.

Are you depressed by the prospect of dying? Well, if you can hang on another 15 years, your life expectancy will keep rising every year faster than you’re aging. And then, before the century is even half over, you can be around for the Singularity, that revolutionary transition when humans and/or machines start evolving into immortal beings with ever-improving software.

Why do we look for technological solutions to check-mate our profligate human natures? I think humans instinctively resist technological cures in spite of the solution simplifying matters for us, largely removing choice. Then, there’s the technological backlash. For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. The big problem I see is that if people are in denial, preferring to believe there’s no need for it, how can resources be prioritized and directed towards needed technologies particularly in an increasingly challenging economic environment?

Nonetheless, while Dr Kurzweil’s claims are provocative, they aren’t groundless. Spectrum magazine -the membership publication for the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers- current issue is devoted to this concept called Singularity; the issue is online now. Kurzweil’s is here. Kurzweil’s arguments of course, are contingent upon warm bodies embracing engineering and science careers, the numbers of which are in critical decline…
When Bernard Arnault -the owner of LVMH, a stable of couture and luxury brands- buys, the market listens. DNR says he bought Princess Yachts International (PLC) and a French company (Groupe Paprec) that recycles plastics and office paper. What does this mean? Is he hedging his bets?
Mixed news on the retail front for economy watchers, retailers posted solid gains. WWD says (ungated) Wal-Mart posted 4% gains for same store sales, an increase of 1.6% had been expected. Other winners are TJX (2%), Buckle (34%), American Apparel (24%), Aeropostale (6%) and The Children’s Place (10%). Losers were Old Navy (-25%), American Eage (-9%) and Dillards (-7%). DNR says profit at Jos.A. Bank is up (17.6%) and profit at venerable Neiman’s is down 7% in the third quarter.
Was there really any doubt? DNR reports the judge has ruled that Joseph Abboud has no right to use his name.

In a 91-page conclusion filed to the U.S. Southern District court, Judge Theodore Katz concluded that Abboud will be “permanently enjoined and restricted from using his personal name to sell, market, or otherwise promote, goods, products, and services to the consuming public.” This ruling also found that Abboud, by initiating business relationships with Jack Victor, an eventual licensee of Jaz, before July 13, 2007, violated his non-compete agreement with JA Apparel.

Total Barcode announces a 30%-40% reduction in prices. That’s where I got my little keychain sized barcode reader. I love it.
A Columbian designer has opened shop in Mexico City doing brisk business making bullet proof coats and vests. Average price is $2,000. Miguel Caballero emphatically refuses to do business with the bad guys. More on NPR.
Kelly Rose says that Seam Collective is hosting a fashion show at Canco Lofts in Jersey City, Saturday, August 23rd. You are cordially invited to participate and or attend. Seam Collective is a group of designers supporting and promoting designers.
It’s official. Dallas Market Center organizers will be hosting two fabric shows yearly at the Convention Center in Los Angeles. The first shows of the event, called GlobalTex will be held April 21–23 and Oct. 13–15 of 2009. What I want to know is why the Dallas people can’t put on a fabric show in Dallas :::pout:::

In related news, Textile Web says Material World is also adding a West Coast fabric show starting Fall 2009. The first event will be held in Los Angeles September 30-October 2, 2009.
Speaking of trade shows, United is sitting out this summer. The men’s wear show plans to resume early 2009.
Have you heard of The Kathleen Show? I hadn’t either. I got a PR piece because the host has interviewed designer Arianne Phillips; the latter was nominated for an Academy Award. The interview is here.
The WSJ published Shades of Green: Decoding Eco Fashion’s Claims with the lowdown on who’s doing it across various categories.
Birgitte sends a link to an article from The Los Angeles Times about a $1,395 tee shirt from Martin Margiela. The shocking part of the story is that they’ve sold out! Here’s the brazen part in case you’re wondering why it’s so special to warrant the price. Do you suspect the shirt features artwork from a high dollar artist? You’d be right. The problem is, Martin Margiela used the image without permission. He …uh…”borrowed” it.
Eric sends a couple of things. Except for the last one (actually sent first) his submission theme is grossness. He can be such a 9 year old sometimes. The first one is the most palatable; a story about the development of a sewage-proof suit. We forget the first function of apparel is protection from the elements. If you’re wading through contaminated water, you need this for sure.

The second link he sends is even more gross. EWWW. Definitely not vegetarian friendly. It’s described as an improvement on Mr. Potato Head.

His last link is definitely a fashion faux pas.

The last thing (or first) is really pretty cool! I don’t know how I missed this. It’s an interactive image of inflation as measured by the average consumer’s spending from the New York Times.

Rest your cursor over any portion of the map, and the image provides details. Below, in the food category, I’ve highlighted cakes and cookies. Natch.

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. Kathleen says:

    For now, I use a barcode reader for book organization. Still, maybe that was my excuse to buy one? It is a very cool toy, useful.

    I realize barcodes are a big deal but I think they’ll get even bigger. It’s only on the business end that barcodes are really used. How will things change once *consumers* start using them, interacting with them independent of the parties who’ve traditionally held the scanning wand? In Japan, consumers are using barcode readers built into their cell phones to look up products on the web and price shop. Even advertising billboards have barcodes, large enough for cell phones to capture.

    I also have some ideas for expanded use of bar codes but nobody will get it unless they have a reader. I think it’ll get here eventually. We’re just so behind here in the U.S.

  2. Eric H says:

    Hahaha, I just found this on Kottke via Marginal Revolution. The Japanese are using them on tombstones to link images of the deceased, mourners, and guest book.

    Next up: we’re probably going to get an RFID scanner. Once RFID settles down, it’s going to replace bar codes for many of these applications because you don’t have to actively seek out and scan the identifier. You just receive it.

  3. ioanna says:

    OMG RFIDs! I just emailed the link to Kathleen for the book Little Brother. Scary.
    Btw. I love News from You!
    And the barcode organization idea. I bet you can go crazy and do it with all sorts of things. :)

  4. Josh says:

    Thanks for the plug! I’m not that confident in my photography skills and I’m always shocked to hear someone say something positive about them. By the way, try the peanut butter cookies first, they are so good and simple.

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