Open tabs 3/8/11
On the heels of yesterday’s entry I found three textile glossaries courtesy of Textilesmithing, glossary one, glossary two and glossary three. There’s a fourth but it’s not loading for me. Textilesmithing is a newish blog featuring topics on surface design, weave, pattern and with a healthy smattering of stuff you should have known a long time ago. Such as, sharkskin suits are not made of sharkskin. Yes indeedy! I imagined they weren’t made of shark skin but I didn’t really know what they were made of and so now thanks to the internet, I can pretend I always did. Be careful though or you can waste a whole day there -speaking of the Lexus carbon fiber circular loom that amounts to nothing less than autie-porn. The photo above is Sayed Alavi’s Flying Carpet installation at the Sacramento Airport, again courtesy of this entry on Textilesmithing. If you follow Seth on twitter, you can pick up more tres cool stuff like this gizmodo story about a brief history of bulletproof fabric.
The Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware publishes Fiber Journal (free subscription). This issue features articles about Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development, Creating a Green Label and a whole bunch of other stuff. I can’t read it all. Codes of Conduct—Not Just for Large Manufacturers caught my eye because I have so often told you that you can’t assume a small operation is better for workers than a large one. The paper’s author (Sugandha Agrawal) says smaller operations are reluctant to undertake initiatives fearing cost and what not (same as you!). In the firm that agreed to participate for the experiment, basic safety regulations were implemented, nothing crazy or costly (do go look, it is basic 5S) but the results were astounding:
…worker attendance improved by 20 percent and there were fewer complaints of fatigue or poor health. The better attendance had its direct impact on productivity. Also, providing designated break times for tea and prayers lessened the machine run down–time and improved line productivity by reducing bottlenecks associated with one or a few persons leaving the assembly line. By providing a healthier and safer workplace, workers were motivated and excited about work.
It occurs to me to ask, do you all have any idea what constitutes workplace safety? It seems obvious to me but then maybe it isn’t. How did I learn it? I don’t recall reading a book about it, maybe I read some OSHA regs at some point but it just seems like common sense. Perhaps I absorbed it from my environments so it merely seems intuitive. Is this topic of interest? Related: Mr Fashion-Incubator has finally made a decision on shop lighting and ordered some test lights so we may soon be able to speak more quantitatively about that. Since I’m finally in my permanent shop location, we want to get the real thing instead of eking by on cluster hung four footers. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for the price. Between the lighting fixtures, bulbs and materials for the electrical upgrade, it’s going to cost about $7,000. I have no idea what it would cost if we had to pay somebody to install it and add new electrical service. I’m thinking we should add raceways at the same time. Mr.F-I is not amused that I told him (same as you) that you don’t mount fixtures on the ceiling; no more than 5 feet above the cutting table surface. But anyway, before I went off track, maybe I could do safety stuff in my shop all official like so you all can get an idea of the things to keep in mind.
It’s a love/hate thing, an under-the-bar secret that men (and possibly some women, though I haven’t found any yet) pass along. It’s what your natty bartender has on under his pants, for lack of a better way to put it. The shirt garter is exactly that: a $7 rubberized strap with garter hooks on both ends that attach the tails of your shirt to the tops of your socks, keeping your shirt neatly tucked in while, as a symbiotic windfall, holding up your socks.
According to NPR (this is just the latest, like I said, an open tab I need to close) Manufacturing in the US is in trouble (again) but not for the reasons you think. I have a whole draft on the subject I’ve yet to publish (yet one of many) and maybe I’ll never polish it to the point of publishing but ya gotta know, the biggest crises in manufacturing in the US is not the lack of jobs but the lack of workers. I kid you not. I know everybody thinks contract sewing operations are dying for work but it’s the exact opposite. Nobody I know can find enough qualified workers. It is a real crises. It’s even a crisis in NY of all places. The mayor wants visa restrictions relaxed for immigrant garment workers. We have tons of designers and marketers but not enough skilled workers (an ongoing topic in the forum). It’s crazy.
WWDMagic (the tradeshow) has a blog now. Did you know? I didn’t. I’ve had that tab open in my browser for two days and still haven’t read it. Yesterday’s entry is a video about the business of fashion blogging. We’ve come a long way baby! I remember the hassle of getting press credentials to attend the show, trying to explain what a blog was and now the trade show is featuring how it’s done. They even had a contest for potential correspondents. It’s a fine thing. Of course these bloggers aren’t doing the kind of blogging I do (the segment was filmed in the Teen Vogue section) but it’s all good.
Okay, those are all my open windows in the browser, closed one by one.