My life would be so much easier if more of you would take pains to keep in contact with your preferred educator at wherever it was you went to school. Okay, that is the sum of my tough love lecture but seriously, it’d be great if you all would do this more often.
There are a lot of good reasons to do it, yeah, there’s all the feel good back patting but like anyone, educators need to know the positive impact they’ve made in your lives. It could be as simple as dropping a card in the mail, it will brighten their day even if they don’t remember you!
Now to the point of today’s lecture -it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled workers, specifically pattern makers, graders and such. If you would like to be notified of opportunities, the first people called these days are college professors. And college professors are going to recommend former students who have kept in touch with them. Now, your situation may be such that you’re not looking for work but this can always change. Therefore, it’s best to make goodwill deposits in your favor bank in advance of need.
I neglected to mention that Mr. F-I is also contributing to the trip reports. However, I’m responsible for any oversights because he’s not seeing them until they’re published. The other thing specific to this entry is that my photos of the mentioned places went *poof* so any photos are lifted from the sites I linked to (apologies all around). Okay, that out of the way, onto part two in continuation of the first.
As I mentioned yesterday, we hired a guide () to drive us each day, taking us to recommended places around Bogota. If you have more money than time, this is a great solution. Fees can vary quite a bit. We found our guy at the airport (or rather, he found us); he wanted $110 per day. In retrospect I’m glad I didn’t bargain the fee because I got a quote from another service (after the fact, they responded late) that was significantly more; $110 for one person for 5 hours and $75 for each additional person (there were 3 in my party).
Places to go: In Bogota we went several places, first was the Gold Museum which had a stunning array of pre-Colombian artifacts. By the way, there is a good place to exchange currency off to the side in the same building. At least our guide said as much, we got there too late. They do charge a fee to enter but I guess it is free on Sundays which is when we went. Afterwards we walked catty-corner over to the Emerald Museum which was closed at the time. However, our guide, being an employee of the tourist ministry, arranged a private tour for us. Pretty amazing, no? We felt like VIPs. That said, the museum seemed a bit commercial and indeed, it was a partnership with the department of Tourism and a private collector -who, conveniently enough, had emerald jewelry for sale. Everyone (not just at the museum) knows more about the geology and extraction of emeralds than one would have expected. We certainly learned a lot -supposedly, Colombian emeralds are the finest in the world. I wanted one of those rings but the ones I liked ranged in price between $7,000 and $15,000.
So. We are back from our week away in Colombia! Mr Fashion-Incubator and I went there for the Colombiatex trade show and stayed additional days to get to know the country a little better. Accordingly, this first entry will tell you about the trip, where we stayed and what we did in the event you plan to go yourself. After all, we now have a free trade agreement with Colombia and if I can’t convince you to do domestic production or you can’t find a way to make it work, Colombia is a much closer quality option.
We arrived in Bogota (the capital) on the 19th of January on a direct flight out of Houston (at right are Avianca flight attendants). Flying time from Houston is 4 1/2 hours. It seems closer from Miami, maybe 2 hours but I don’t remember now from the last time I went in 2008. Getting to the hotel (Embassy Suites, I’d recommend it) from the airport was easy; like anywhere, cabs line up outside the terminal. The first driver we contacted is actually an employee of the tourism ministry. These drivers wear official identification on a lanyard. Basically, the setup is like a rental car with a driver. He was an outstanding driver and suggested several good places to go. We had him for two whole days. I would definitely not recommend renting a car in the usual way there – the rules are too fluid. He told us that it used to be that you didn’t even need to demonstrate the ability to ride a bike to get a truck driver’s license.
If you’re new to these parts, yours truly and many F-I members have been meeting at a sewing equipment trade show called SPESA. SPESA is no more; it was purchased by Messe Frankfurt (yay!) who have renamed it Texprocess. Catchy, no? Okay so it’s not. It is still the happening place to be come April 24-26, 2012 in Atlanta GA USA.
If you’re not sure if this show is for you, there is a lot of coverage of this show on Fashion-Incubator. I think it is good to attend even if you don’t intend to buy equipment because it will give you a better idea of the kinds of equipment needed to sew your products. There are also ancillary products of use such as software, dress forms etc. Furthermore, it should be a priority to attend because this show is only held every other year.
Many of us have had the show on our calender for two years so I don’t remember to mention it. Hopefully it’s not too late for you to make plans to attend. If you are going, please let us know so we can plan activities, hotel accommodations etc. If you’re not a forum member*, we will wait for 30 minutes after the show closes each day in the foyer at the top of the escalator. I realize that sounds ambiguous but you will find it. And you’ll know it’s us because we will be milling around, talking in twos and threes and have some kind of distinguishing feature on our badges. As dress is business casual, we won’t be wearing suits (hardly anyone does these days except salesmen and even many of them don’t). In 2010, we had holographic star stickers.
Today must be the day for legal stuff! Okay, primarily via Apparel News come these highlights of interest to California based apparel manufacturers.
First is SB657, the Human Trafficking law (pdf) which states that effective January 1st, qualifying manufacturers and retailers are required to post specific details about their supply chains on their websites. I am unsure as to whether this applies to anyone reading this, there is a bit of confusion. The law broadly states that firms with 100 million in sales worldwide who have a “presence” in California are required to comply. Frankly, I doubt this applies to any of my visitors. Presumably anyone to whom this would apply had their in house counsel poring over the law well before now.
The confusion arises because an earlier article in Apparel News says the law also applies to firms with sales in California that exceed half a million dollars or 25% of one’s total sales -but this contradicts an article I read in Just-Style last August. Hmm. This is a bit too close for comfort. I doubt 25% of my sales are in CA but this expanded definition could be worrisome to many of you. Accordingly, I had my in house researcher (Mr. F-I, naturally, he’s off this week) look it over. He says he doesn’t see those definitions. Which ever the case may be, if you are required to be in compliance come January 1st but aren’t, you probably have a bit of a grace period to unpack what the law says. Obviously we should discuss it in comments to narrow it down.
Amended 1/6/2012: Please see the most recent post on this topic for updated information, particularly if you experienced difficulty after complying with these instructions. ——————— This is important stuff. First of all, as much as it pains me to repeat myself, today is not the day to wrangle with semantics or diction. The term “manufacturer” is a legal designation. A Federal Legal Designation. Regardless of how you prefer to describe your business entity, you are a manufacturer even if you pay somebody else to sew things up for you.
Okay, with that out of the way, if you are a manufacturer of children’s products and produce in small batches, it is critical that you register for a small batch exemption if your sales are less than 1 million dollars from the previous calender year and you have manufactured less than 7,500 qualifying (children’s products) units. Registering for an exemption will exempt you from third party testing requirements under CPSIA. I realize that most apparel products were granted broad exemptions already but this will help you in the event your items include non-exempt components. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is just a testing exemption, you are still required to comply with standards defined under the CPSIA law.
What a minute -if you have no idea what I’m talking about, see the CPSIA category on this site. There is also a publicly accessible CPSIA section in our forum. However, since you have a lot of catching up to do, I suggest you register first (today!) and figure out what it means later.
[amended 1/31/12] Unfortunately, it has become necessary to close comments to this post (hopefully temporarily). Here is the cheat sheet for people who post questions instead of reading the entry and comments that answer the questions people have asked:
There will be a special meet up for F-I members who will have an identifier on their badges. If you’re already a member (click on this link ->) please post here (<-click on that link) to let us know to expect you (see this to become a member). If you cannot login at the link above, you either aren’t a member or your membership has expired (please renew). At the first link you will find meet up information and suggestions for accommodations, transportation etc. If you want more information on the show itself, go to the show’s website. [end amend]
You’re hearing it here first, the first public announcement of a new wholesale fabric trade show designed specifically for independent designers who need to source low minimum fabrics, leathers, trims, guts etc. The show is so new that it doesn’t have a name, a website or way to register for it. Considering everything it took to organize and pay for it, those are very minor details. Trust me. For now, all you need to know is this:
Hotel Pennsylvania New York City February 6-7, 2012 Hours: 9:30 to 6:00
I strongly suggest posting a comment (even if it is lame) or these vendors might get the idea this is not such a good thing to do. More importantly, it is critical that this go viral -promote this show to all of your friends, colleagues and contacts because not sharing the details can kill a show like this faster than anything. If you don’t make an effort to tell -oh let’s just say ten other people- don’t be dismayed if this is the first and last year this show is held. If you don’t tell ten other people, I never want to hear you complain there aren’t any shows for small designers.
You should promote this show even if you don’t live in NY or plan to attend! If this show doesn’t succeed, the vendors will not be convinced to do it anywhere else. Meaning, if you want a show like this to open in a location more convenient to you, the best way to make it happen is to do what you can to make a show you’re not even going to, a rousing success. Make sense?
And the follow up to yesterday’s entry comes courtesy of PleatFarm (always a good source for pattern puzzles). The photo in question (as with the others on site) comes courtesy of PF’s sister who attended Barbican’s exhibition Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion in London. The exhibition features luminaries like Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto -and Rei Kawakubo, creator of yesterday’s source material but perhaps better known by her label Comme des Garçons being a veritable haute couture line (a real one, she’s a syndicate member).
In a manner of speaking, those who suggested sumo wrestler in response to the challenge weren’t far off in that the style is diaper-ish. Perhaps you can see why I said it was Erte-esque. He did a lot of this folding, twisting and turning stuff, using both sides of goods for effect. I thought Alison’s comment about a hammer head shark was humorous; these things are hard to figure out if you’re lacking the context of scale. I wonder how many yards of fabric went into this outfit? Now that is the sort of challenge we should be doing… but then even fewer people would respond to these challenges. Call me crazy but I think one could do better at guessing yardage for this than however many jelly beans are in a jar. And I think we could even argue if so and so were right in their guesstimation without having to drape one up. Such are the heady topics of my work day.
The purpose of Fashion-Incubator is speaking frankly about how to produce a line of sewn products. We do it all from soup to nuts. Not shake-n-bake cake-mix manufacturing at arm’s length but how to launch a fair trade and sustainable clothing line, even including the minutia of how to sew properly, wresting the best engineered methods from history. An affirmation of our mission, at least 50% of our visitors are from the world’s largest brands who use the material as a tool to do their jobs better. In addition to the 2,000 pages of material on this site, we also mentor and welcome anyone who cares to join our proprietary forum. Fashion-Incubator is considered to be the most valuable piece of internet real estate in its class.
Obligatory introduction dispensed with, a bit of context is required for one quote attributed to me in the NYT article Plus-Size Wars:
“We know pretty well what a size 6 woman will look like if she edges up to a 10; her bustline might increase an inch,” Fasanella said.
This should read:
…“We know pretty well what a size 6 woman will look like if she edges up to a 10; her bustline might increase an inch PER SIZE,” Fasanella said…
If you’re interested in learning more about the worsening of fit and sizing in ready to wear apparel over the past fifteen years, I love you already. Sit right here [pats sofa] and I’ll make you a cup of tea. While you’re waiting, catch up on why vanity sizing is a myth in addition to the many other articles I’ve written on fit and sizing.
Thanks for coming, I hope you’ll visit more frequently.
It is my distinct pleasure to announce that one of our forum members Valerie Mayen (Yellow Cake Shop), has been selected as a contestant for the upcoming season of Project Runway.
Above is a photo of Cindy Dishmey, KM and Valerie Mayen (left to right). This photo was taken at the farmer’s market November 2009 in Las Cruces NM when they’d come to take my production pattern making class. And if you’re wondering, yes, Valerie was a pleasure to teach and a gifted student. I believe she also took classes with my colleague Heather Menzies, another reputable pattern maker in the industry.
The list of this season’s contestants is posted here… Ohmiword! Looking over the list, I see that we have two more this season! Another frequent contributor to our site is Kristin Haskins Simms (most notably in this thread). The last PR contestant has participated on Fashion-Incubator regularly but used a pseudonym. As such, it’s not appropriate that I disclose their identity. Well how cool is that? F-I has three contestants this season! After five years, I guess we’re doing something right in the way of nurturing emerging design talent.
Congratulations Valerie, Kristen and Anon, we’ll be watching your progress closely. Make us proud and break a leg!
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