News from you 8/11/2007

Welcome to this week’s eclection of news, the weird, the 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.
Val Salomons in Ontario is looking for an Eastman M9000 cutter or a similar flat bed cutter. Also, Stu Friedberg asks:

Given a older buttonhole machine like a Reece S2/S3 or a Juki LBH-180, how long does it take to switch between button sizes? Is this a 5 minute, minimal skill operation like mounting a binder on a single needle machine, or is it more involved?

I’ll bet Dave can figure that one out. By the way Dave, please stop trolling Julie. If you thought the apparel biz was small, blogging is smaller :).
Misbehaving police officers in Thailand, those who ” litter, park illegally, arrive late, or break other rules will be punished with office work ” and be forced to wear a Hello Kitty armband.

“Simple warnings no longer work. This new twist is expected to make them feel guilt and shame and prevent them from repeating the offense, no matter how minor,” said Pongpat, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok. “(Hello) Kitty is a cute icon for young girls. It’s not something macho police officers want covering their biceps,” Pongpat said.

Speaking of Hello Kitty, Gizmodo says Japan’s Hello Kitty Cat Humiliation System qualifies as animal abuse.

Eddie mentions that if you buy a pair of these very inexpensive shoes, the company gves a pair to a kid in the developing world for free. No fine print.

Cymru Llewes mentions a new sustainable electric car with the potential to “reverse 100 years of automotive history”. The downside has always been the battery. Now, you can lease the battery and PG&E buys the used batteries to store solar/wind energy.
Vicki Chauhan sends a pitch for Textiles Intelligence. The theme of issue 21 is temperature control fabrics.

One of the most noteworthy developments in the field of temperature control fabrics has been the use of phase change materials (PCMs). And over the past decade, with the advent of wearable technology, battery powered heating devices have begun to enter the temperature control market. Other temperature control technologies are also attracting the attention of outdoor enthusiasts and include silver-based fabrics, adjustable insulation systems and bionic climate membranes.

Malissa sends a to a link to a series of videos from Prada that she found on Fly. To see the videos, go first to Prada. Click on the left hand side and select “production movies”. Once a video starts, you can click on the arrow in the upper left hand corner to navigate the full selection of videos. The first few cover bag design. I noticed that the third video featured inventory tags that looked exactly (size, color, everything) like the tags I recommended you use. In the event it comes up, no, I did not copy my tags from Prada -or anyone else for that matter. Time and time again, form follows function.
Speaking of links to production, Todd sends a whole passle of links with a lot of great photos of equipment and processing, to a multi-part series on denim production. The featured company is Western Glove Works in Manitoba Canada. All in all, it’s a great tour for laymen although some of the terminology usage is a bit annoying. Todd says:

Some of the production terms they use are foreign to me (or maybe just wrong). They call a marker a “The Blueprint”. A question [I have] is whether or not 1921 (the featured brand) gave permission to the contractor and retailer to print all these descriptions and pictures on the web. I think it’s mostly standard practices they show but I’m not an expert. Also, the blog author “outs” the brands that this contractor does patterns and CMT for repeatedly.

As I mentioned the other day, a larger contractor like this has more latitude in publicizing their clients. I don’t know that 1921 gave permission for the use of their products but it could be they’re not paranoid which would be cool. I think this can actually help market their brand.
There’s an interesting article on bark cloth making available from World Vision Report.

The inner bark of the Mutuba tree (ficus natalensis) is harvested during the wet season and then, in a long and strenuous process, beaten with different types of wooden mallets to make its texture soft and fine and give it an even terracotta colour. Craftsmen work in an open shed to protect the bark from drying out too quickly.

Well preserved textiles found in a tomb in China may rewrite textile history.

A Peking University professor found with infrared devices that a piece of cotton cloth was partly red and partly black. “It was dyed red with vermilion,” said Professor Zhang Xiaomei. Historical records show the Arabians were able to produce vermilion in the eighth century and the Europeans learned the methods from them in the 17th century. Yet the tomb where these fabrics were found is believed to date back to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-221 B.C.).

Women’s Wear Daily has a new offer; a year long subscription to the online newspaper for $79.
I’m being sent a review copy of The Little Black Book of Style:

…provides the essential rules for fashion that every woman should know. From definite fashion faux–pas to pointers on how to create your own sense of style, to uncovering what makes you look and feel good, Nina García offers readers the ultimate guide to follow when it comes to dressing their best. Including tips on how and when to wear an outfit, occasion appropriate wear, advice on how to combine colors and textures, and inspiration on how to achieve your own signature look, this hand–book is a must have.

First person to leave a comment volunteering to write a review of it, with an angle appealing to F-I readers, gets it.
Material World says they’re focusing on sustainable textiles in the upcoming New York show, Sept 25-27.
Miracle wants to know if this is true. It sounds logical but I don’t know.

Cattle in my country are bred and reared in totally organic surroundings. Steroids, or other growth inducing hormones are not used in their feed and are not present in the fields where they graze, so their skin is unpolluted.” He pointed out that recent research had shown that leather from cattle that had been fed steroids contaminated the skin of those who wore the leather garments. This would never be the case with skins form Bangladesh. Also the cattle of his country were much smaller than those from Europe or North America, so the skins were smaller but had fewer blemishes. Because of this, the whole skin could be used in leather products, making them a better buy.

Portia says there’s some cutting tables for sale in the SF area. Albeit well made, they’re a custom job and won’t break down readily like the regular cutting tables. Caveat: if you grow, you’ll need Philocraft tables eventually (probably what this seller discovered). Otherwise, you could use these home made tables for patterns or exclusive task areas. I note the price has dropped $100 since the ad first went up. If you had a way to move them, I think $300 would be fairer considering they won’t grow with you.
Grace (Bad mom Good mom) sends a link to a mention of Skirtspot. The company is a pull manufacturer, cutting to order (and you say it can’t be done web retailing). “Shoppers can browse through hundreds of variations of classic and fashion-forward skirts, each sewn and delivered within 10 to 12 days of an order”.
Sadly, Mary Wilkins says she’s closing down the Sew-What’s-New forum over the next weeks.
Hat designer extraordinaire, Amy Downs, will be having a hat show September 5 th at “Off Broadway” on Central Ave in Albuquerque NM. There will be another show in Santa Fe on Sat 9/8.

Todd was first to send in a link to the Donlon Wedge. This is a pattern cutting strategy (suits) for corpulent men, meaning their waist measure exceeds their chest measure.
Fit Nation: The Obesity Fight – Special Reports from shows how obesity has become more prevalent. Click on the interactive map to see differences from 1985 onward. In fact, obesity wasn’t even tracked by all states in 1985.
Trendwatching’s newest report features research helping you target products to suit the wants and needs of women, the gay community and baby boomers. See FEMALE FEVER, PINK PROFITS and BOOMING BUSINESS for more.
From a link on the British Psychological Society, I see that Sage (the journal gate keeper) is offering free full-text access to Sage psychology journals, all 36 of them. Woo hoo! Casual visitors may assume I’m being sarcastic.

Speaking of psych, Mind Hacks says:

New studies have found that people tidy up more thoroughly when there’s a faint tang of cleaning liquid in the air; they become more competitive if there’s a briefcase in sight, or more cooperative if they glimpse words like “dependable” and “support” — all without being aware of the change, or what prompted it.

The good news, San Francisco fashion week is blogging. The bad news, they’re not issuing press passes to other bloggers. Some say this is one reason SFFW will remain second rate because it’s bloggers who drive interest in regional, second tier shows. I think SSFW’s direct disclosure is improvement over last year. F-I was invited then but at the last minute, passes to the events were rescinded.  Dispensing with formality, we weren’t invited this year.
The Lean Enterpise Institute has some webinars on lean processes in their library. Some you may find of value are Value Stream Improvement for the Office and Services and Lean Product and Process Development.
————- announces a sale on lithographs. You may remember as the company that trademarked the frownie emoticon (true) and issued a press release detailing their intention to sue millions of computer users for infringement (not true). All tongue in cheek, it’s a pretty good deal. I bought the one on Consulting (“If you’re not part of the solution, there’s money to be made in prolonging the problem”) and Mediocrity (“It takes a lot less time and most people won’t notice the difference until it’s too late” -with a photo of the leaning tower of Pisa). It’s rumored the owner will start blogging soon. I can hardly wait; I’m sure it’ll be priceless.

Not to be bested, JC sends a link to office revenge stink bombs.
Tracey Valliere-Evans sends a push she got recently, not a bad deal if you’re in the market for a web based PDM.

WFX On-Demand is specifically for fashion & apparel companies like yours but unlike other software solutions, requires no upfront hardware or software fees. This web based solution enables you to create & share Style information electronically. You can easily and quickly create techpacks, specs, upload pictures/sketches, and also collaborate with your vendors for style information and product tracking. The solution can extend to manage calendaring (Time & Action), which monitor and track activity and task across any order. This cost-effective product from World Fashion Exchange Inc. reduces your product development time, cost and helps to eliminate delivery delays. And you pay only $ 85USD per month per user!

Julie from Bag Borrow or Steal announces “AMERICA’S ULTIMATE BAGAHOLIC” CONTEST (details) saying

We know some bagaholics out there may be video camera shy so as an alternative to submitting a video, we invite you to take a digital photo that captures your handbag obsession and email it along with a brief essay (of 100 words or less) explaining your passion for handbags. A complete list of rules and eligibility requirements are also available on the site. The deadline to enter the “America’s Ultimate Bagaholic Contest” has been extended and is now now September 4, 2007.

I think it was Eric who pointed me to Battle over nation’s patent laws. Oddly, considering the recent push for fashion protections, it seems that

Both the House and the Senate are working on legislation that would substantially reduce penalties for businesses accused of hijacking the ideas and inventions of competitors. Critics of the legislation say the bills substantially undermine protections traditionally afforded inventors – and could pose a powerful disincentive for investors to risk their capital on untried ideas.

Doesn’t seem quite fair. Considering this climate, recent legislation is working against innovators. Intentional or not, one can only think the move to “protect” fashion is deliberate or maybe it’s another case of [any] sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice.
Send your submissions to News From You. Have a good week end!

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  1. Regarding the idea that leather will leak steroids into the skin of leather-wearers: it doesn’t make much sense to me. Steroids are fat-soluble and are stored in body fat. Leather is protein. If you’re really worried about absorbing steroids from livestock through your skin, I’d suggest avoiding soap and body lotion (made from rendered fat) instead. If you want to worry about being contaminated by leather in particular, perhaps you could concentrate on the chemicals used to tan hides.

  2. Regarding your comments about the running series about Western Glove Works, I was given permission by Michael & Bob Silver (Presidents of Western Glove Works Ltd.) and Allan Kemp (head designer of 1921 and Silver Jeans) to post images and content from their factory. This idea was spawned from my hands-on work for the company for a two month period, where they allowed me to enter their factory, take photographs, and post my notes online in a clear manner. I agree the terminology can be complex, and I would be more than happy to explain any of these terms in further detail to anyone interested.

    If my comments do not seem valid, feel free to contact Western Glove Works directly (204-788-4249) to ask them about my activities. The purpose of “The Art of Denim” is to teach consumers and fashion industry personnel all the work that goes into making premium denim jeans. As a merchant of the product, we are constantly searching for ways to verify reasons for buying high end denim over other products; this is simply a very creative and informative way of doing so.

    For more about “The Art of Denim”, visit

  3. Stu Friedberg says:

    I was able to ask my question on the forums (correcting my typographic error on the MBH-180 in the process). JC Sprowls gave me an answer, but I’d be quite happy to get another.

  4. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    I could review that book. I have always found it amusing that their are books and shows like that. I also always watch what people wear and wonder sometimes why they put x with y or I think if it were a different color it would look better.

    They had a picture of that cat in the Hello Kitty getup at with the caption that read Please shoot me now. Most of their captions are more or less ok but some aren’t kid friendly. Funny, though that’s not the funniest.

  5. Todd Hudson says:

    If you’re in the Bay Area and looking for cutting tables, here are some 4’X7′ tables for sale for $10 per section in San Francisco:

    Some of them are missing legs so you’d have to order parts depending on how many you need. Based on the description and location (South of Market), I assume these are professional cutting tables but I have not seen them in person. By the way, these table tops are really heavy! You’ll need a truck and two people to move them.

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