Trend News: JC Report

I’ve mentioned the JCReport before. Much of it is over my head being uber-fashioney but their RSS of favored fashion feeds had some juicy ones in the latest newsletter. Interestingly enough, you can RSS to their RSS. I hadn’t thought of trying to do that before. Highlights:

  • China’s not the only one using prison labor, so is one Philippine designer. The video puts a different face on the benefits -to both sides- of using what most consider to be unpalatable labor sources. Not to be outdone, German inmates are producing their own line and selling it in their own store. Video.
  • Sewing machines are back in fashion. One source in the UK says Singer’s sales were up 50% between 2006-2007. Another retailer says their machine sales are up 258%. Wow.
  • I think the recent spate of fashion criticisms directed at women belonging to the polygamist sect in Texas to be distasteful. I’m not defending their religious practices but I think it’s the height of tackiness to level superficial criticisms during what must be the most stressful event of their collective lives.
  • Following Spain’s lead, the French fashion industry signs anti-anorexia charter. It should be noted that not everyone agrees that there’s an increase of anorexia nervosa, merely that there’s been an increase in identifying and diagnosing it. What is increasing, is public anxiety about it. I’d argue it’s a predictable and expected equal and opposite reaction to the increase of obesity in industrialized nations. Many more die of obesity or related illnesses than anorexia.
  • Hello Kitty has gotten a high fashion makeover.
  • Due to my recent jeans entry, I had to click on Are you a super wedgie or a fashion flattie? but it was referring to shoes, not jeans.
  • Supposedly dresses are out and pants are in. Do you pay attention to any of this?

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  1. “I think the recent spate of fashion criticisms directed at women belonging to the polygamist sect in Texas to be distasteful. I’m not defending their religious practices but I think it’s the height of tackiness to level superficial criticisms during what must be the most stressful event of their collective lives.”

    Thank you!!! I have thought the same thing.

  2. Lisa Bloodgood in Portland says:

    Why pick on that one sect when there are the Amish, the Mennonites, some of the Russians, and who knows how many others that don’t wear mainstream clothing. Pick on all or none.

    As for dresses being out and pants in. Whatever!! In general, all of us women are going to wear both. Pants for when they’re appropriate and dresses for when they’re appropriate. I like dresses because they’re a whole outfit. You just put on the one garment (well, undies, nylons, shoes, too) and go.

    What is ethically wrong with using prison inmates as labor? Don’t they make them do hard labor and other stuff like refurbishing wheelchairs to send to people around the world who can’t afford to get one?

  3. Big Irv says:

    I think many would be surprised at the amount of apparel and sewn products that are made within the Chinese penitentiary system, that make it to retailers here in North America.

    Practically every prison has some form of sewing facility and many legit factories use the prisons as subcontractors.

  4. J C Sprowls says:

    I’ll admit it, I’m all for setting up CMT shops in some prisons. It’s not the concept of “hard labor”, that compels me, either. The point of corrections is that inmates need the opportunity to reform their behavior. Job rehabilitation (i.e. earning a portion of their keep) seems just and fair to me. Not life-threatening jobs, just the jobs others don’t want.

    Some states (they allude me, now) petition businesses to set up satellite operations on prison grounds. Like in the report of the German prison, they split the inmates’ earnings, using a portion toward their room, board and upkeep, which reduces the dependency on State grants (and, my taxes!). And, the business owner who is accepted into the program (you gotta be upright, yourself) stands to benefit on several levels: a) fair operating costs, b) local tax benefits, and sometimes c) federal tax benefits.

  5. esther says:

    The only problem manufacturing with a prison system is the possibility of not getting your stuff because of a lock down or riot.

  6. ioanna says:

    I gotta chime in on the prison labor thing because I’ve known people who have been activists on this issue in the US. It’s not as simple an issue as ‘giving the prisoners work.’ There is a difference from what this company says it’s doing (part of the proceeds from sales go to organizations that support prisoners’ rights and better conditions for inmates, like Amnesty International.)
    and when companies use prisoners basically as slave labor. Those same companies also usually lobby for stricter laws so that more people end up in prison to manufacture their goods for a few cents or make their customer service phone calls etc etc. And JC, if I’m not mistaken most prisons are private businesses that generate millions of dollars in profits every year so not only should they pay the prisoners fairly they should also not take your tax money IMO. Are your business profits subsidized by the government? Why should theirs be?
    Anyways, dresses are out and pants are in you say? Talk about running out of trend ideas! How about dresses over pants? Is that still ok? lol

  7. ioanna says:

    Oh I’m not completely sure ‘activist’ is the right word? :S I realized after it might conjure up images of rebellion and civil disobedience and what not, and what I meant was people active and involved with prisoners’ rights issues. Oh and I’m all for job rehabilitation as long as it’s fair for everyone.

  8. J C Sprowls says:

    @ioanna. The philosophical argument re: prisons being subsidized by the state is a different discussion. Valid. But, different.

    Each country and state has its own guidelines for ethical treatment of prisoners, including wage earnings. If you, as a business owner, disagree with those guidelines or you witness situations that you cannot ethically support, then don’t.

    On the point of a “portion of proceeds go to Amnesty International”. I take this with a grain of salt. One could just as easily send $50 to any number of charities that appeal to their marketing demographic and spin that into a yarn: “a portion of proceeds”.

  9. ioanna says:

    You got me on that last part. That’s why I said “says it’s doing.” Unfortunately we can’t tell how serious any company’s claims are without investigating. Especially now that fair trade, labor issues, organics and what not are so popular there are those who exploit that. I agree.

  10. Lisa Cantalupo says:

    I have a 30+ year old friend who really doesn’t eat. In my opinion, she is already thin enough, maybe even too thin. She’s wants to lose 10 more pounds….yikes!! She has a 13 year old daughter. The message she’s sending to her daughter scares me; that not eating and taking care of your body to look good (personally, I think it looks horrible)is worth the sacrifice.

    Yes, a 30+ something year old woman should have enough self esteem and self worth to practice good health and good eating habits, but lots don’t. And where does this come from? Obesity is a huge problem, but I don’t feel as if there is an industry that continues to force feed that image down my throat.

    Every woman should feel good about their bodies regardless of size, learn to accentuate the positives, walk with pride, and not be hung up on an image that is unhealthy and self abusing. That’s why I love what I do. One customer at a time, I can help women to see how beautiful they truly are.

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