We’re back….

Well, not so fast there, cowboy!! We are keen on manufacturing returning to America.  But we are aware of the lack of expertise that we have developed in the last twenty years.  We are trying to imagine all kinds of apparel operations returning from China and we are wondering if we are ready for even the beginning of this movement.  We say, “Study Up”.

In the Washington Monthly article, Three Ways to Bring Manufacturing Back to America the discussion uses such terms as “in-sourcing” and says the trend is real enough.   Well, certainly the out-sourcing trend was real and will probably stay real for decades to come.  Just the sheer number of employees needed to produce all the things we in the USA consume would be staggering.

And then there is “reshoring” (as opposed to offshoring) and all of that sounds great.  Now, let’s get busy and prepare ourselves for the work that is already returning to our country.  Trust us, if work comes back home it will only be because the workforce is capable and ready to do that work.

Dolls, clothing, and musical instruments: Made in China

Dolls, clothing, and musical instruments: Made in China

In terms of apparel, it has been said that cost of production in China will equal the cost of US production in 2015 (which in apparel industry terms is yesterday!)  Since wages have doubled in China in the last ten years, we might imagine being able to compete, but again, we need to be prepared.  If we fail to be able to produce our gadgets, toys, and bobbles, we may see the prices rise beyond our own means.  Besides, it would be great to see Americans relearn how to create the things we love.  And though the hourly wage in China has only risen to $1.36 an hour, the cost of doing business off-shore includes much more than the direct labor involved.

Another article in the Washington Monthly refers to the dwindling labor force in China.  The article is required reading for anyone who chooses to understand the nature of international trade and the “follow the low wage” mentality of industries which cannot charge much for their products.  Chinese Labor, Cheap No More was written in early 2012 so you can imagine how this will continue to play out over the next few decades.  There is really nowhere else like China in the world: no labor force so large in a country with a relatively acceptable infrastructure.  So, America, get on the ball.  Let’s bring home just some of the production and begin to rebirth our apparel industry.

On a small side note about the future of manufacturing, pay attention to the 3D printing rage.  El Paso, Texas has many fabulous things going on in this area.  We have posted about it before but it is growing as we speak.  We sadly missed the 3D printing opening party in Northeast El Paso at the end of June but we are looking forward to learning more about this company in the near future.

Special thanks to our dear friend and fashion designer par excellence, Tom Courtney, for these great links posted to his satiric fashion doll blog, tommydoll.

00kitty on wall

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Social Media – How visual content can help retailers drive sales – Internet Retailer

Social Media – How visual content can help retailers drive sales – Internet Retailer.

This article points out how knowing your customer and then using such websites as Pinterest can make all the difference in your company’s long term health and welfare.

How well do you know your customer?  Could you determine which images will lead your customer to shop and spend?  If not, work on it.

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Fashion Industry ABC’s from Texworld USA

Lenzing is the textile mill we love.  We appreciate the fact that they produce seminars and put them on YouTube for all of us to see and learn.


In the Fashion Industry ABC’s you get to ask yourself, “Do you want to be rich or do you want to be famous?”  You probably cannot be both.   Well, let someone else tell you.  Mercedes Gonzales, Director, Global Purchasing Companies, will tell you how it goes.  How do I get from A to B and where do I start? [Takes about 45 minutes: From  1:11 to 53 minutes with additional great Q&A until the end.]

For those who study with us at the college level, none of this should be unfamiliar.  You will hear things like, you need to be in the customer’s brain, predicting what they want before they know.  You have to know who you “hang with”.  You have to be known for something.  What makes sense to the store buyer–did you give them a point of reference or are you a profit center?  You have to work backwards in your pricing.  Limit the number of fabrics you use.  Why would anyone want to buy from me?  How do we create emotion?  How actual costing realities occur, margins and profit, profit, profit.

(Anyone who reads and studies Fashion-Incubator.com will find this seminar to be a reminder of the things you have learned from Kathleen Fasanella, especially if you have read her book.)

Fashion Industry ABC’s is geared towards helping the emerging fashion designer, as well as retailer who wants to start their own fashion or private label line. Fashion Industry ABC: is a practical, insightful, crash course on how business is really done and the tools you will need to be successful.”

Today as we post this, there have only been 139 views of this video.  It makes us ask ourselves, where are these people who say they want to be in the fashion industry? 

Tex Lenzing has 241 videos on YouTube… go forth and learn.

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Fabric Mart online …

One thing we appreciate about Fabric Mart is the way they photograph the  textiles.   We love the swirl presentation because it gives us an idea of how the fabric drapes, in other words, its hand.  This is a difficult thing to do and Fabric Mart has found an answer.  Since we cannot copy their photos, you will have to click to visit the Fabric Mart site to see what we mean.  Hint: it’s in the swirl.

While there, check out the Fabric Care page and the Fabric Burn Test Chart.   You may also want to see Julie’s Picks or the blog Fabric Mart Fabricistas or learn about the Reader’s Pick Sew-Along.

And those of you who actually make garments there is Me-Made May.  “Sew” check it out.  You will meet Zoe from the UK who created the challenge.  And if you click around you will find Zoe’s tutorials and refashioning ideas.  Enjoy!

Zoe remade this top from a stained man's sweatshirt.  Cute!!

Zoe remade this top from a stained man’s sweatshirt. Cute!!

Or check out her various refashioned jeans.  We really thought these were adorable.  She gives the tutorial if you need it.  You probably do not but you might want to read her tutorial on changing a pattern for maternity wear or nursing baby.  Go find them on her blog.

Zoe jean short

For those of you yearning to be a textile artist, check out Aunt June to see that you can actually sell the fabrics you create at Spoonflower.  Aunt June’s fabric sales  on Etsy look quite healthy and check out the prices.

And finally today, look into Hart’s Fabric and their blog.  We love their simple, well photographed tutorials.  For example: the Easy Zipper Bag Tutorial

Hart bag tutorial


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More from the Met gala red carpet and Charles James

You must click the link and read this fabulous article and view the slide show.  Let’s start with a quote about Charles James from the New York Times article, Architectural Underpinnings of Cinderella: Technology Brings the Designs of Charles James to Life“Dior credited James with inspiring the New Look of 1947.  James was also known for designing the first fashionable down-filled jackets; mixing unrelated fabrics such as taffeta, velvet, satin and tulle; and playing with textures like matte and shiny, flat and ribbed. “

Our favorite looks from the evening include men in white tie.

Ten – Maggie Q in Zac Posen

Nine – Felicity Jones

Eight – Diane Kruger in Hugo Boss

Seven – Suki Waterhouse in Burberry

Six – Hailee Steinfeld in Prabal Gurung

Five – Janelle Monae in Tadashi Shoji

Four – Karlie Kloss

Three – Taylor Swift in Oscar de la Renta

Two – Johnny Depp in Ralph Lauren and Amber Heard in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture

One – Karolína Kurková in Marchesa


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“For our young people…this center will be a source of learning & inspiration.” —First Lady Michelle Obama

The First Lady cut the ribbon to open the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met! —  @MichelleObama


metmuseum         @metmuseum                

“The new Anna Wintour Costume Center is designed to accommodate and inspire the next generation.” —Director Thomas P. Campbell

“We have been given a facility that will allow us to experiment w/ new strategies to present fashion as never before.” —Curator Harold Koda – 9:10 AM – 5 May 2014


The Charles James exhibition will open May 8, 2014.  The Met offers this great link to images.

@MetMuseum Press Preview today of the new exhibit! Photo: Cross section of his 4-Leaf Clover Dress

View image on Twitter

24 hours before the , photographer Cass Bird took the best ball gowns of spring for a tour of Manhattan.

Vogue Daily — Victoria Beckham in Giorgio Armani

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WordPress.com Business Users: Ecommerce has Arrived!


Great news!

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

We’re thrilled to announce that, starting today,  WordPress.com Business users can connect their sites to their online stores. With three leading ecommerce partners to choose from — Ecwid , Shopify , and ShopLocket — you can showcase, promote, and sell products to your customers directly from your site.

If you’re already a WordPress.com Business user, or are thinking of becoming one, here’s how the ecommerce feature will power your WordPress.com site.

A simple, hassle-free connection

Users with the WordPress.com Business upgrade already enjoy great features like live-chat support, unlimited storage, and free access to all our premium themes. Now, you can turn your site into a sleek online storefront, and let visitors shop from any post or page. The partners we’ve teamed up with — Ecwid, Shopify, and ShopLocket — all provide a smooth and secure ecommerce experience for you and your customers.

Connecting to your store is…

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