Medium has a story today on the less-than-honest business practices of discount and outlet stores. An excerpt:
Despite common belief, outlet clothing never enters a “regular” store and is most likely produced in an entirely different factory than the “regular” clothing. A few months ago I met with some people from Banana Republic Outlet. Banana Republic has a team of people whose sole responsibility is to design and manage production for their outlet stores. Their production team was looking for new ways to diversify their outlet product-line in order to compete with H&M and Zara. It is rumored that these huge retailers have such agile supply-chains that they are able to bring new product to their stores every 2 weeks. While Banana Republic and J.Crew are not trying to compete on price with H&M, their outlet counterparts must. This means that these companies produce lower cost and lower quality clothing specifically for their outlet stores.
TJ Maxx, known for it’s off-price designer labels, finds itself in a similar position. Ever notice that TJ’s will have a surplus of Calvin Klein, or Rachel Roy, or Elie Tahari clothing? This happens when TJ Maxx brokers a licensing deal with one of these brands. In this situation, the brand (ex: Calvin Klein) agrees to let TJ Maxx produce clothing with their label on it in return for a percentage, usually between 5-20% of the wholesale price of the garment. To put this in perspective, in 2012 Calvin Klein reported that “licensed products currently represent slightly over 50% of global retail sales.” At that time, licensing alone accounted for more than $3.8 billion in CK sales.
Licensing can be a great situation for the brand because they do not have to manage sourcing, production, or shipping. TJ Maxx, or the licensee, manages all of the nitty-gritty stuff, and makes the product in their factories at prices that they control. Then, they put the reputable brand label on the clothing and write that company a check. These branded garments end up at discount retailers and consumers buy them thinking that they’ve just scored an awesome Calvin Klein blazer.
You can read the rest of the article here. To figure out which outlet stores are worth visiting, you can read Jesse’s post from four years ago (as far as I know, all those recommendations are still good). He also has a great post on diffusion lines and licensed clothing.
Here’s a thing I’ve had around in my head for a while!
Okay, so I’m pretty sure that by now everyone at least is aware of Steampunk, with it’s completely awesome Victorian sci-fi aesthetic. But what I want to see is Solarpunk – a plausible near-future sci-fi genre, which I like to imagine as based on updated Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Edwardian aesthetics, combined with a green and renewable energy movement to create a world in which children grow up being taught about building electronic tech as well as food gardening and other skills, and people have come back around to appreciating artisans and craftspeople, from stonemasons and smithies, to dress makers and jewelers, and everyone in between. A balance of sustainable energy-powered tech, environmental cities, and wicked cool aesthetics.
A lot of people seem to share a vision of futuristic tech and architecture that looks a lot like an ipod – smooth and geometrical and white. Which imo is a little boring and sterile, which is why I picked out an Art Nouveau aesthetic for this.
With energy costs at a low, I like to imagine people being more inclined to focus their expendable income on the arts!
Aesthetically my vision of solarpunk is very similar to steampunk, but with electronic technology, and an Art Nouveau veneer.
So here are some buzz words~
Tailors and dressmakers!
Stained glass window solar panels!!!
Education in tech and food growing!
Less corporate capitalism, and more small businesses!
Solar rooftops and roadways!
Communal greenhouses on top of apartments!
Electric cars with old-fashioned looks!
No-cars-allowed walkways lined with independent shops!
Renewable energy-powered Art Nouveau-styled tech life!
Can you imagine how pretty it would be to have stained glass windows everywhere that are actually solar panels? The tech is already headed in that direction! Or how about wide-brim hats, or parasols that are topped with discreet solar panel tech incorporated into the design, with ports you can stick your phone charger in to?
(((Character art by me; click the cityscape pieces to see artist names)))
i am so into this wow
sign me the fuck up
I want a solarpunk future. *_*
SOLARPUNK OH MY GODDDDDD i love it
CURVY ORGANIC LINES, REFLECT NATURE, FLORALS VEGETATION, UGHHHH I WANT IT
So pretty. Want. Now.
Actual Japanese Workwear
Check out these absolutely stunning Japanese firemen coats. Known as Hanten coats, these were worn by Japanese firefighters in the 19th century. At the time, the technology to spray water at a high-enough pressure hadn’t been invented yet, so Japanese men had to fight fires by creating firebreaks downwind. Doing so, however, put them in danger of catching on fire themselves, as hot embers can travel up to a mile. To prevent that, they were continually doused with water, so that the thick and heavy coats would be more fire resistant.
The symbols and designs you see are for several things. Some are just for decoration, of course, while some signal the fire crew that the wearer belonged to. Others are lucky symbols, while some might refer to a heroic story or myth, encouraging the wearer to be courageous and strong.
You can see these coats in person (along with many other awesome things) at Shibui, a shop in New York City for Japanese antiques and collectibles. They’re moving at the end of September and are having a sale right now to lighten their load. Select items are discounted by up to 50%, including lots of boro fabrics, which is a kind of heavily patched and mended Japanese textile. You can see examples of boro here.
For those of us outside of NYC, Shibui has a Google+ page you can admire (they’ll take phone orders, if you’re interested). There’s also a book titled Haten and Happi, which is all about traditional Japanese work coats.
Yesterday, our National Museum of American History added more items to its LGBTQ History collection. The items are not on view yet, but you can see many of them online now.
LGBTQ History is an important part of the American experience and the Smithsonian is committed to making sure these stories are told. In a blog post, a curator reflects on collecting and interpreting LGBTQ material culture.
American Quilts and Coverlets
It’s not a big jump from appreciating menswear to appreciating textiles, and the greatest of all American textile arts has to be traditional quilts and coverlets. These are partly about function, partly about art, and partly about the stories and communities they represent.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a particularly good slideshow with some beautiful examples of this craft. An excerpt from the accompanying article:
Bed quilts and coverlets, appliquéd, pieced, embroidered, or woven, are some of the few handmade objects that were created by American women to express their artistry and skill. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, women of all social strata made quilts and coverlets. Although many of these were meant to be primarily utilitarian, they were often designed to be pleasing to the eye as well, and sometimes they were imbued with significance far beyond being simple covers for a bed. During the heyday of quiltmaking in the nineteenth century, America’s increasingly mobile population was moving westward, settling in the wilderness. Easily portable, and certainly necessary, bedcovers might be some of the few decorative objects a woman had in her home. Bedcovers were often wedding gifts, or made by a young woman to take with her to her future husband’s house. If that new home was distant from friends and family, a bedcover became an important keepsake from her old life. Quilts were also made to celebrate the birth of a child, as gifts to thank important members of the community such as the local minister, and even sometimes in the remembrance of the dead.
Another popular type of bedcovering during the second quarter of the nineteenth century was the woven wool and cotton coverlet. While the earliest of these coverlets could have been woven in the home, professionally woven coverlets were more common by the end of the 1820s. They were made by mostly male weavers who set up shop in rural communities throughout the East Coast and Midwestern states. These independent weavers made coverlets, table coverings, and carpets for the local market. Many were immigrants from the British Isles or Germany, both places with large weaving industries firmly in place by the nineteenth century.
You can read the rest of the article here at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website, and check out some more beautiful quilts at the National Museum of American History. The second site is especially nice in that it allows you to zoom in on the pictures, so that you can appreciate the creative use of texture in each of these pieces.
Wes is one of our reporters, and we’ve shared stories of his on this Tumblr before. He’s been in Ferguson for the past few days reporting, and last night, he was arrested — and then released. Here, you can read Wes’s full account of what happened last night.
A climbing plant peels off a brick building, in an effect reminiscent of a snake shedding a layer of skin
holy shit, i have never seen this happen before. Whoah
I love that the bricks underneath were perfectly clean
kinda makes sense that they would be; the roots would suck up all the dirt and moisture
Jim Dingilian proves that a creative and skillful artist can create works of art with just about anything. By coating the interior of empty glass bottles with black smoke and then carefully brushing it away with tools mounted on dowels, he creates detailed and beautiful but dark works of smoke art that are dripping with a sense of suburban decay (via Bored Panda).