Google just announced Project Jacquard, an effort to introduce interactivity into textiles. Swipe your sofa cushion to change the channel on your TV,1 tap a special "knock" on your collar to unlock your front door, or control your party's playlist with a few taps of your pants.
kottke.org posts about fashion
Dior and I May 27 2015
Dior and I is a fashion documentary about the first haute couture collection designed by Christian Dior's new artistic director. But from the looks of the trailer, you don't have to know or care about the fashion industry to get something out of watching a group of people accomplish something creative, difficult, and political under extreme time constraints.
The film is playing at select theaters around the US and should be available next month for streaming and digital download. (via russell davies)
Some sort of embargo seems to have lifted because here come the Apple Watch reviews! As I'm unanointed by Apple, I haven't experienced Apple Watch in the flesh, but I do have a few random thoughts and guesses.
John Gruber notes that why Apple made a watch is different from why they made the iPhone. People were generally dissatisfied with their mobile phones (I know I was) so Apple made one that was much better. But people who wear current watches like them.
But as Ive points out, this time, the established market -- watches -- is not despised. They not only don't suck, they are beloved.
I'm one of the watch non-wearers Gruber discusses elsewhere in his review; I haven't worn a watch since my Swatch band broke when I was 17. Part of the reason I don't wear a watch is they look hideous. The more expensive watches get, the uglier they are. Have you seen the watch ads in the New Yorker or Vogue? Garish nasty looking objects. And men's watches are generally massive, built for lumberjacks, linebackers, and other manly men, not for dainty-wristed gentlemen like myself. I tried on a regular men's Rolex some years ago and it looked like I'd strapped a gold-plated Discman on my wrist.
I know, I know, not all watches. The point is that for me, Apple Watch looks like something I would consider wearing on a regular basis -- imagining myself living in Steve Jobs' living room has always been more my speed than J.P. Morgan's library.1
The subtle notifications possible with Apple Watch (taps, drawings, heartbeats) are very interesting. Also from Gruber's review:
You're 16. You're in school. You're sitting in class. You have a crush on another student -- you've fallen hard. You can't stop thinking about them. You suspect the feelings are mutual -- but you don't know. You're afraid to just come right out and ask, verbally -- afraid of the crushing weight of potential rejection. But you both wear an Apple Watch. So you take a flyer and send a few taps. And you wait. Nothing in response. Dammit. Why are you so stupid? Whoa -- a few taps are sent in return, along with a hand-drawn smiley face. You send more taps. You receive more taps back. This is it. You send your heartbeat. It is racing, thumping. Your crush sends their heartbeat back.
Pings would be perfect for situations when texting or a phone call is too time consuming, distracting, or takes you out of the flow of your present experience. If you call your husband on the way home from work every night and say the same thing each time, perhaps a ping would be better...you wouldn't have to call and your husband wouldn't have to stop what he was doing to answer the phone. You could even call it the "sweetheart ping" or "sweethearting"...in the absence of a prearranged "ping me when you're leaving", you could ping someone to let them know you're thinking about them.
Like I said elsewhere in that post, this stuff always makes me think about Matt Webb's Glancing project:
Glancing: An application to allow ultra-simple, non-verbal communication amongst groups of friends online.
It's a desktop application that you use with a group of other people. It lets you "glance" at them in idle moments, and it gives all of you an indication of the activity of glancing going on.
A group is intended to be less than a dozen people. A person may belong to several groups simultaneously by running separate instances of Glancing. Groups are started deliberately, probably by using a www interface, and people are told the group secret so they can join (a "secret" is just a shared password).
But the thing that has struck me the most since the announcement of Apple Watch is the idea that if you're wearing one, you're going to be checking your devices a lot less. From TechCrunch last month:2
People that have worn the Watch say that they take their phones out of their pockets far, far less than they used to. A simple tap to reply or glance on the wrist or dictation is a massively different interaction model than pulling out an iPhone, unlocking it and being pulled into its merciless vortex of attention suck.
One user told me that they nearly "stopped" using their phone during the day; they used to have it out and now they don't, period. That's insane when you think about how much the blue glow of smartphone screens has dominated our social interactions over the past decade.
I'm in a meeting with 14 people, in mid-sentence, when I feel a tap-tap-tap on my wrist. I stop talking, tilt my head, and whip my arm aggressively into view to see the source of the agitation. A second later, the small screen on my new Apple Watch beams to life with a very important message for me: Twitter has suggestions for people I should follow. A version of this happens dozens of times throughout the day-for messages, e-mails, activity achievements, tweets, and so much more. Wait a second. Isn't the promise of the Apple Watch to help me stay in the moment, focused on the people around me and undisturbed by the mesmerizing void of my iPhone? So why do I suddenly feel so distracted?
The promise of the Apple Watch is to make it more convenient to send & receive notifications and quick messages, although many of the reviews make it clear that Apple hasn't entirely succeeded in this. In the entire history of the world, if you make it easier for people to do something compelling, people don't do that thing less: they'll do it more. If you give people more food, they eat it. If you make it easier to get credit, people will use it. If you add another two lanes to a traffic-clogged highway, you get a larger traffic-clogged highway. And if you put a device on their wrist that makes it easier to communicate with friends, guess what? They're going to use the shit out of it, potentially way more than they ever used their phones.
Now, it's possible that Apple Watch doesn't make receiving notifications easier...instead, it may make controlling notifications easier. Like congestion pricing for your digital interactions. But that is generally not where technology has been taking us. Every new communications device and service -- the telegraph, telephone, internet, email, personal computer, SMS, smartphones, Facebook, Whatsapp, Slack,3 etc. etc. etc. -- makes it easier to 1) connect with more and more people in more and more ways, and 2) to connect with a few people more deeply. And I don't expect Apple Watch will break that streak. The software will get faster & better, the hardware will get cheaper & longer-lasting, and people will buy & love them & use them constantly.
P.S. While I didn't quote from it, The Verge review is great. But mainly I'm wondering...where are the reviews from the fashion world? I assume Vogue and other such magazines and media outlets received Apple Watches for review and their embargoes lifted as well, but after searching for a bit, I couldn't find any actual reviews. And only a single major review by a woman, Lauren Goode's at Re/code. If you run across any, let me know?
Update: Executive editor Nicole Phelps wrote a review for style.com. (thx, louis-olivier)
God, I hate linking to TechCrunch -- I've only linked to them a handful of times and I complain about it every time -- but they were the best source for this point. Apologies to my soul.↩
The conventional wisdom about Slack is that it's rescuing us from the tyranny of email. But when everyone is on Slack because it's easier and offers certain advantages over email, then what? What will rescue us from the tyranny of Slack? (A: Nothing. That's the point...we can't help wanting to communicate in easier ways with our fellow humans, so much so that we gorge ourselves like geese at the gavage. Whatever kills Slack will be a bigger, easier communications gavage. Rinse. Repeat. Until the heat death of the Universe.) ↩
The easy way to care for your jeans Mar 26 2015
Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean made a video for Mr. Porter about how to care for your new pair of jeans.
I remember reading his original post on the topic and boggling at the concept of wearing a new pair of raw selvage jeans for an entire year before washing them. (I still have never done such a thing. I'm just not that fancy.)
Fashion advice from Fran Lebowitz Mar 25 2015
I loved every opinionated moment of this interview with Fran Lebowitz about fashion. Where do I even start? Some choice bits:
Yoga pants are ruining women.
Shirts don't go bad, they're not peaches.
I feel very strongly that almost the entire city has copied my glasses.
Dry...clean. These words don't go together. Wet clean -- that is how you clean. I can't even imagine the things they do at the drycleaner. I don't want to know.
I have to say that one of the biggest changes in my lifetime, is the phenomenon of men wearing shorts. Men never wore shorts when I was young. There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I'd just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It's disgusting. To have to sit next to grown men on the subway in the summer, and they're wearing shorts? It's repulsive. They look ridiculous, like children, and I can't take them seriously.
Now people need special costumes to ride bicycles. I mean, a helmet, what, are you an astronaut??
Of course, more people should wear overcoats than those damned down jackets. Please. Are you skiing, or are you walking across the street? If you're not an arctic explorer, dress like a human being.
I, myself, am deeply superficial.
Feeling good about an outfit is the point at which that outfit finally becomes good.
First the actual Michael Bolton pops up in Office Space and now Derek Zoolander and Hansel are walking an actual runway show during Paris Fashion Week:
Is this what we have to look forward to for the next 10 years, late-90s/early-00s media remixed for an aging and increasingly wealthy Generation X? Bring it on?
Update: Here's the video of the whole show; the Zoolander appearance happens right at the beginning.
And as if there were any doubt, the stunt was a promo for Zoolander 2, which will come out in 2016.
Update: At one point, Zoolander grabbed the phone out of someone's hand and walked with it. Here's the video of that.
The someone turns out to be Jerome Jarre, a big Vine star who gets paid by brands to do this sort of thing all the time so chances are it was staged. Sorry, there are no more genuine moments left, it's all fake from now on.
The Denim Breaker Club Nov 26 2014
I don't recall if I ever tweeted about it, but a few months ago I had this idea for a service for the wealthy who wanted properly broken-in jeans but didn't want to bother wearing them around for months first without washing.1 It's basically a dog-walking service but for jeans. It was mostly a joke, but in the age of Uber taxiing kittens to your office for you to cuddle with, no such idea is truly off the table. Huit Denim Co. is experimenting with a beta feature called the Denim Breaker Club.
You are going to break our selvedge jeans in for our customers.
You will have to agree to not wash them for 6 months.
You will have to agree to update what you get up to in them on HistoryTag.
And before you get them sent to you have pay a small deposit, which we will refund on their safe return.
When we get them back, we will expertly wash them.
And then we will sell these beautiful jeans.
You will have 20% of the sale.
So in effect you will be paid to wear jeans.
Have to admit, that's pretty clever. (FYI: HistoryTag gives individual pieces of clothing tracking codes which you can use in social media. A Social Life of Clothes, basically.)
Update: APC offers a similar Butler program:
Nothing is created or destroyed, it is merely transformed. This adage is fulfilled in every respect by the Butler jeans concept. Customers are encouraged to bring their old denim jeans to any A.P.C. store or send it to the online store, where they will be exchanged for a new pair at half price. Broken in naturally over time, their attractive patina created and preserved in accordance with washing instructions, the jeans thus reappear, beginning a second life. But not until they have been washed, mended and marked with the initials of their former owner by our workshops. Each pair is therefore truly unique.
Update: The Guardian's Morwenna Ferrier has more on Huit Denim Co. and their Denim Breaker Club, including an interview with one of the breakers-in.
I was one of the first breakers. They are the best jeans I've owned. I got involved because I've known David for a long time, as I used to run a clothing company. He told me about the idea and I signed up, paying an £80 deposit.
"When I handed them back, of course they smelled bad. I wore them every single day for six months. Literally. I don't wear a suit, you see. I live in Belfast and I work in Hollywood down the road, and I cycled to work every day. I went to the rugby in them with my thermals underneath. They got soaked in the cold and rain, and so they spent a lot of time hanging and drying above a radiator. One day, when it was warm, I went and lay on the beach in them. I went to the supermarket in them, I cooked in them, I drank in them. I didn't spill anything serious on them, thankfully. I also carved spoons in them, so by the end they were pretty covered in wood shavings.
Methods of breaking in a new pair of unwashed raw selvage jeans vary, but as an example, Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean waited an entire year before washing his jeans for the first time. And yeah, you can buy them broken in, but jeans aficionados insist the proper way to break in jeans is by wearing them.↩
Last call for kottke.org t-shirts! Nov 18 2014
Today is the last day you can order the limited edition kottke.org t-shirt. Get yours now or forever be, um, something.
After much futzing about in Photoshop, I came up with the perfect simple design for the limited edition kottke.org tee shirt, featuring the familiar blue gradient that wraps all the way around the shirt. The shirt is made of fabric, has sleeves, and features a hole for your head. It's everything you need in a shirt.
The kottke.org t-shirt Nov 04 2014
For about 50 years now, I've wanted to do a kottke.org t-shirt. But I could never decide on a design I liked enough to wear. A few months back, I came across a service called Print All Over Me, which uses a process called "reactive dye digital printing" to seamlessly cover an entire t-shirt with a design, and I had a tiny eureka moment. After much futzing about in Photoshop, I came up with the perfect simple design for the limited edition kottke.org tee shirt, featuring the familiar blue gradient that wraps all the way around the shirt.
The shirt is made of fabric, has sleeves, and features a hole for your head. It's everything you need in a shirt. Due to the unique printing process, the shirts are custom-dyed, cut & sewn to order, cost $38 plus shipping, and will only be available to order for the next two weeks. After that, poof. Order yours today.
(BTW, when ordering, select the "Print" option under "Back". For some of the other shirts PAOM offers, it might make sense to not get the print on the back, but for this shirt, it's the whole point.)
On pointe Oct 30 2014
Three dancers from The Australian Ballet share their prep routines for their pointe shoes.
Take-aways: Ballerinas' feet are really not attractive, they soup up their shoes in all sorts of unusual ways, but the end result is beautiful. (thx, fiona)
Modern dandies Sep 29 2014
Rose Callahan photographs gentlemen with "exceptional personal style" for her blog, The Dandy Portraits.
The new fashion: phones, Dres, and Insta Aug 28 2014
This year, your back-to-school shopping may have included more devices and downloads than pieces of attire. According to the NYT, today's teenagers favor tech over clothes. One retail analysts explains how his focus groups go these days: "You try to get them talking about what's the next look, what they're excited about purchasing in apparel, and the conversation always circles back to the iPhone 6."
Infant shirts for adults Jul 14 2014
Jokey t-shirts for infants are almost never funny but putting the same shirts on adults is the best idea ever.
All the designs featured are actually available for sale -- here's that I Pooped Today shirt -- just click on the "See all styles" button for adult options. Ok, just one more:
Black bar sunglasses Jun 26 2014
Maybe I'm the last person in the world to see these (I don't go out on Halloween or to clubs or do anything cool really), but these Black bar censorship sunglasses are a little bit genius:
And they look way better than wearing Google Glass. You can buy a pair on Amazon for $6. Reminds me of David Friedman's pre-pixelated clothes for reality TV shows. (via @mrgan)
Lacquerheads Mar 25 2014
People collect everything. Even old nail polish.
The objects of their desire -- what they track on eBay, rhapsodize about on their blogs and search for in faraway lands -- are bottles of old nail polish. More specifically, discontinued varieties that come in colors no longer available but that are still out there, sitting forgotten on the shelves of manicurists and out-of-the-way stores, just waiting to be found by some lucky lemming who will add them to her collection, cherish them and post them on Instagram for other members of this unlikely subculture.
One white whale for those in the know is Starry Starry Night by Essie, often abbreviated SSN. The navy blue pigment, spangled with silver glitter, is beloved for its "buildability," meaning that in just a few coats one can achieve an alluring depth.
The vocabulary around nail polish collecting is as colorful as the polishes themselves: "lemmings", "unicorn pee", "frankensteining", "lacquerhead", "dusty hunting".
Wear your font favorites Jan 22 2014
Finally! A Japanese company called Type is selling eyeglasses that evoke the Helvetica and Garamond typefaces. It's like webfonts for your face.
How to make a fake bag Jan 13 2014
David Munson, CEO of Saddleback Leather, gives some advice to those who want to rip off his high quality leather bags...basically how to save money by cutting corners, using cheaper leather, etc.
How to make a t-shirt Dec 03 2013
From the cotton in the fields to the manufacturing machines to the container ships, NPR's Planet Money looks at the often complex world behind the making of a simple t-shirt.
We flew drones over Mississippi. We got mugged in Chittagong, Bangladesh. We met people whom we'll never forget -- the actual people who make our clothing. At every location we had radio reporters and videographers.
Unshrinking wool sweaters Sep 27 2013
It's maybe the least Kottke-like Kottke post imaginable, but "How to unshrink a wool sweater" still holds up for me after more than a dozen years. It's a personal anecdote with no links, deeply focused on domestic service journalism instead of the liberal arts or technology or society. But it kinda, sorta changed the course of my career and my life.
Jason had noticed my site linking to his before, but we actually emailed about the sweater post and I was totally geeked out that he replied to me. It cemented the idea that I could participate in this medium, even though I was years behind the experts and pioneers like him. And from that point, it was a short journey to making all of the friends I've made online, and discovering so much more about what we could do online.
So while there are the planes-on-treadmills and girls-on-bikes are the crowdpleasers for other Kottke fans, on Jason's birthday I wanted to point out a post that's simple, useful, memorable, personal, and effortlessly combines midwestern earnestness with big city pragmatism. In other words, exactly what I've come to expect from my friend Jason.
Luxury handbag-backed lending Aug 19 2013
A Hong Kong lending company accepts luxury handbags as collateral for loans.
Yes Lady provides a loan within half an hour at 80% of the bag's value -- as long as it is from Gucci, Chanel, Hermès or Louis Vuitton. Occasionally, a Prada purse will do the trick. Secondhand classic purses and special-edition handbags often retain much of their retail prices.
A customer gets her bag back by repaying the loan at 4% monthly interest within four months. Yes Lady says almost all its clients quickly pay off their loans and reclaim their bags.
The company recently lent about US$20,600 in exchange for a Hermès Birkin bag, but Yes Lady's purse-backed loans start at about US$200.
(via marginal revolution)
Cartoon closets Aug 15 2013
Nerd boyfriend, meet geek girlfriend.
BforBel creates outfits inspired by cartoon characters ranging from Ariel to Shrek.
I especially like this Rogue outfit for being so reminiscent of the character while looking fashionable, not costume-y.
How to tie your shoes Jul 24 2013
Getting the right fit Jul 08 2013
Gentlemen, this is how clothes should fit.
A suit jacket's length -- like a good lawyer -- should cover your ass.
Classical statues dressed up as hipsters Jun 14 2013
Photographer Léo Caillard makes images of classical statues dressed up as hipsters.
Kanye West is a confident gentleman Jun 12 2013
Jon Caramanica talks with Kanye West about his work, his past, his impending child, and all sorts of other things in the NY Times. I started pulling interesting quotes but stopped when I realized that I was copy/pasting like 96% of the article. So, you only get two:
I sat down with a clothing guy that I won't mention, but hopefully if he reads this article, he knows it's him and knows that out of respect, I didn't mention his name: this guy, he questioned me before I left his office:, "If you've done this, this, and this, why haven't you gone further in fashion?" And I say, "I'm learning." But ultimately, this guy that was talking to me doesn't make Christmas presents, meaning that nobody was asking for his [stuff] as a Christmas present. If you don't make Christmas presents, meaning making something that's so emotionally connected to people, don't talk to me.
And I don't want to ruin the amazing last few paragraphs, but I just had to include this:
I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it's like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.
The anti-drone hoodie Apr 04 2013
Designer Adam Harvey, who gave the world the anti-paparazzi purse and dazzle camouflage for the face, has developed a hoodie that makes the wearer invisible to the sort of thermal imaging utilized by surveillance drones.
"These are primarily fashion items and art items," Harvey tells me. "I'm not trying to make products for survivalists. I would like to introduce this idea to people: that surveillance is not bulletproof. That there are ways to interact with it and there are ways to aestheticise it."
Tumblr of the day: What Ali Wore Mar 28 2013
Zoe Spawton often photographs a particularly well-dressed man who passes her cafe in Berlin each day. She's documenting the results at What Ali Wore.
Wonderful. Ali used to be a doctor but is now working as a tailor.
Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and volatile tweeter, is addicted to high-end leather fashion, to the tune of more than $500,000 over the past few years.
The only clothing I ever tried on before buying it was from Gucci. But many of the online purchases were fantastic-the patent leather trench coat from Burberry, a cropped leather jacket from Versace, a brown leather jacket from Ralph Lauren, a studded leather jacket from Cavalli, boots from Jimmy Choo, leather gloves from Ines in Amsterdam and Madova in Florence. I bought dozens of stretch jeans and leather leggings and leather pants that sculpted my lower body the way I wanted, with no room for speculation. I bought dozens of leather gloves that actually did fit like a glove. I bought dozens of boots, some with a flat or low heel that any man can wear, some with five-inch heels that only a man with real balls could wear.
Lisa in general liked the rocker look. But there were times I was too outrageous for her taste, and she began to feel like she was living with a hoarder. The kids liked the flair, maybe, but there were times they seemed embarrassed, or simply stunned. My friends, particularly those from Philadelphia, were appalled and confused and amused. With the exception of Lisa, nobody had any real idea of the extent of my addiction.
Too many of the purchases were sheer compulsiveness multiplying into more compulsion like split atoms. I bought an orange leather motorcycle jacket and matching orange leather pants from Alexander McQueen that made me look, well, very, very orange. The same went for a blue ensemble that made me look, well, very, very blue. I bought dozens upon dozens of leather jackets-bolero-style, waist-length, above the knee, below the knee-in which the gradations of difference were microscopic. I bought a pair of knee-length Stuart Weitzman boots and then two weeks later bought the exact same pair because I had forgotten I bought the first pair. I bought at least a dozen items that cost over $5,000 each but did not fit, the hazard of online purchasing, since sizing by high-end retailers is often like Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I bought items I wore once, or never wore at all, the tags still hanging from the collar. Yet I returned very little: The more the closets in the house filled, the more discerning I became, the more expensive the items, the more I got off on what I had amassed.
Glitch art blankets and textiles Mar 15 2013
All items are woven in the US and cost $200 and up (plus shipping).
The 10-year hoodie Mar 08 2013
The Flint and Tinder folks are back with another Kickstarter campaign and this time they are selling a hooded sweatshirt with a ten-year warranty. It's a premuim-quality sweatshirt, made entirely in the USA, and if rips or comes apart at the seams in the next ten years, just send it to them and they will mend it and send it back.
The Flint and Tinder team overheard a conversation in a factory we were visiting. Someone was talking about using coarse thread with delicate fabric. Doing this accelerates the process of wearing holes into a garment as it goes through the dryer time and time again.
It's a common trick of the trade. It's one of several techniques companies secretly use to ensure that if you like what you've bought, you'll be forced to replace it soon.
In the manufacturing industry, this is known as "planned obsolescence."
It doesn't have to be this way though -- far from it. Eager to prove a point, send a message, and make a sweatshirt that could last a lifetime (the way your favorite sweatshirt should), we set out to make a premium piece that's so well constructed customers would rather have it mended (free of charge, of course) than replaced.
The JCrew crew Feb 28 2013
What are all those models in the J.Crew catalog doing anyway? By cleverly piecing together narratives from catalog photographs, Meghan O'Neill imagines that they are solving crimes, misbehaving on honeymoons, and such. Here's the most recent episode:
How to efficiently sort socks Jan 22 2013
From Stack Overflow, a question about how to efficient sort a pile of socks.
Yesterday I was pairing the socks from the clean laundry, and figured out the way I was doing it is not very efficient. I was doing a naive search -- picking one sock and "iterating" the pile in order to find its pair. This requires iterating over n/2 * n/4 = n^2/8 socks on average.
As a computer scientist I was thinking what I could do? sorting (according to size/color/...) of course came into mind to achieve O(NlogN) solution.
And everyone gets it wrong. The correct answer is actually:
1) Throw all your socks out.
2) Go to Uniqlo and buy 15 identical pairs of black socks.
3) When you want to wear socks, pick any two out of the drawer.
4) When you notice your socks are wearing out, goto step 1.
Oh Vogue, who thought a Hurricane Sandy-themed photo shoot with supermodels walking through Far Rockaway dressed in the likes of Rodarte and Marc Jacobs was a good idea?
"...we spent the night on a bridge, then went back in with the National Guard to work on patients." On Iman: Narciso Rodriguez camisole and pencil skirt. On Kloss: Diane von Furstenberg dress. Hair: Julien d'Ys for Julien d'Ys. Makeup: Stéphane Marais.
I guess they were going for inappropriate & provocative but hit inappropriate & idiotic instead? Vogue did raise a bunch of money for storm relief, but still. They should leave the provocative stuff to Vogue Italia and Steven Meisel...they're a lot better at it. (via @alexandrak)
"Made in the USA" is back, baby Dec 06 2012
Earlier this morning in a post about Apple manufacturing their products in the US, I wrote "look for this "made in the USA" thing to turn into a trend". Well, Made in the USA is already emerging as a trend in the media. On Tuesday, Farhad Manjoo wrote about American Giant, a company who makes the world's best hoodie entirely in the US for a decent price.
For one thing, Winthrop had figured out a way to do what most people in the apparel industry consider impossible: He's making clothes entirely in the United States, and he's doing so at costs that aren't prohibitive. American Apparel does something similar, of course, but not especially profitably, and its clothes are very low quality. Winthrop, on the other hand, has found a way to make apparel that harks back to the industry's heyday, when clothes used to be made to last. "I grew up with a sweatshirt that my father had given me from the U.S. Navy back in the '50s, and it's still in my closet," he told me. "It was this fantastic, classic American-made garment -- it looks better today than it did 35, 40 years ago, because like an old pair of denim, it has taken on a very personal quality over the years."
The Atlantic has a pair of articles in their December issue, Charles Fishman's The Insourcing Boom:
Yet this year, something curious and hopeful has begun to happen, something that cannot be explained merely by the ebbing of the Great Recession, and with it the cyclical return of recently laid-off workers. On February 10, [General Electric's Appliance Park in Louisville, KY] opened an all-new assembly line in Building 2 -- largely dormant for 14 years -- to make cutting-edge, low-energy water heaters. It was the first new assembly line at Appliance Park in 55 years -- and the water heaters it began making had previously been made for GE in a Chinese contract factory.
On March 20, just 39 days later, Appliance Park opened a second new assembly line, this one in Building 5, to make new high-tech French-door refrigerators. The top-end model can sense the size of the container you place beneath its purified-water spigot, and shuts the spigot off automatically when the container is full. These refrigerators are the latest versions of a style that for years has been made in Mexico.
Another assembly line is under construction in Building 3, to make a new stainless-steel dishwasher starting in early 2013. Building 1 is getting an assembly line to make the trendy front-loading washers and matching dryers Americans are enamored of; GE has never before made those in the United States. And Appliance Park already has new plastics-manufacturing facilities to make parts for these appliances, including simple items like the plastic-coated wire racks that go in the dishwashers.
and James Fallows' Mr. China Comes to America:
What I saw at these Chinese sites was surprisingly different from what I'd seen on previous factory tours, reflecting the political, economic, technological, and especially social pressures that are roiling China now. In conjunction with significant changes in the American business and technological landscape that I recently saw in San Francisco, these changes portend better possibilities for American manufacturers and American job growth than at any other time since Rust Belt desolation and the hollowing-out of the American working class came to seem the grim inevitabilities of the globalized industrial age.
For the first time in memory, I've heard "product people" sound optimistic about hardware projects they want to launch and facilities they want to build not just in Asia but also in the United States. When I visited factories in the upper Midwest for magazine stories in the early 1980s, "manufacturing in America" was already becoming synonymous with "Rust Belt" and "sunset industry." Ambitious, well-educated people who had a choice were already headed for cleaner, faster-growing possibilities -- in consulting, finance, software, biotech, anything but things. At the start of the '80s, about one American worker in five had a job in the manufacturing sector. Now it's about one in 10.
Add to that all of the activity on Etsy and the many manufactured-goods projects on Kickstarter that are going "Made in the USA" (like Flint & Tinder underwear (buy now!)) and yeah, this is definitely a thing.
As noted by Fishman in his piece, one of the reasons US manufacturing is competitive again is the low price of natural gas. From a piece in SupplyChainDigest in October:
Several industries, noticeable chemicals and fertilizers, use lots of natural gas. Fracking and other unconventional techniques have already unlocked huge supplies of natural gas, which is why natural gas prices in the US are at historic lows and much lower than the rest of the world.
Right now, nat gas prices are under $3.00 per thousand cubic, down dramatically from about three times that in 2008 and even higher in 2006. Meanwhile, natural gas prices are about $10.00 right now in Europe and $15.00 in parts of Asia.
Much of the growing natural gas reserves come from the Marcellus shale formation that runs through Western New York and Pennsylvania, Southeast Ohio, and most of West Virginia. North Dakota in the upper Midwest also is developing into a major supplier of both oil and natural gas.
So basically, energy in the US is cheap right now and will likely remain cheap for years to come because hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking aka that thing that people say makes their water taste bad, among other issues) has unlocked vast and previously unavailable reserves of oil and natural gas that will take years to fully exploit. A recent report by the International Energy Agency suggests that the US is on track to become the world's biggest oil producer by 2020 (passing both Saudi Arabia and Russia) and could be "all but self-sufficient" in energy by 2030.
By about 2020, the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer and put North America as a whole on track to become a net exporter of oil as soon as 2030, according to a report from the International Energy Agency.
The change would dramatically alter the face of global oil markets, placing the U.S., which currently imports about 45 percent of the oil it uses and about 20 percent of its total energy needs, in a position of unexpected power. The nation likely will become "all but self-sufficient" in energy by 2030, representing "a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy-importing countries," the IEA survey says.
So yay for "Made in the USA" but all this cheap energy could wreak havoc on the environment, hinder development of greener alternatives to fossil fuels (the only way green will win is to compete on price), and "artificially" prop up a US economy that otherwise might be stagnating. (thx, @rfburton, @JordanRVance, @technorav)
Matt Haughey wrote an essay called Why I love Twitter and barely tolerate Facebook.
There's no memory at Twitter: everything is fleeting. Though that concept may seem daunting to some (archivists, I feel your pain), it also means the content in my feed is an endless stream of new information, either comments on what is happening right now or thoughts about the future. One of the reasons I loved the Internet when I first discovered it in the mid-1990s was that it was a clean slate, a place that welcomed all regardless of your past as you wrote your new life story; where you'd only be judged on your words and your art and your photos going forward.
Facebook is mired in the past.
One of my favorite posts on street photographer Scott Schuman's blog, The Sartorialist, consists of two photos of the same woman taken several months apart.
Schuman asked the woman how she was able to create such a dramatic change:
Actually the line that I think was the most telling but that she said like a throw-away qualifier was "I didn't know anyone in New York when I moved here..."
I think that is such a huge factor. To move to a city where you are not afraid to try something new because all the people that labeled who THEY think you are (parents, childhood friends) are not their to say "that's not you" or "you've changed". Well, maybe that person didn't change but finally became who they really are. I totally relate to this as a fellow Midwesterner even though my changes were not as quick or as dramatic.
I bet if you ask most people what keeps them from being who they really want to be (at least stylistically or maybe even more), the answer would not be money but the fear of peer pressure -- fear of embarrassing themselves in front of a group of people that they might not actually even like anyway.
For a certain type of person, changing oneself might be one of the best ways of feeling free and in control of one's own destiny. And in the social media world, Twitter feels like continually moving to NYC without knowing anyone whereas Facebook feels like you're living in your hometown and hanging with everyone you went to high school with. Twitter's we're-all-here-in-the-moment thing that Matt talks about is what makes it possible for people to continually reinvent themselves on Twitter. You don't have any of that Facebook baggage, the peer pressure from a lifetime of friends, holding you back. You are who your last dozen tweets say you are. And what a feeling of freedom that is.
72 year old man models teen-girl clothes Nov 21 2012
The shocking thing about this 72 year old grandfather modeling teen-girl clothes: he rocks it.
Liu Xianping, has been posing for his granddaughter's female fashion store on Tmall and has become an Internet sensation. Though most of the clothes Liu has been modeling for are more of the tiny, sweet and cute teen girl style with rosy shades, laces and ribbons, the 72-year-old totally pulled things off. His signature piece so far seems to be color tights and thigh stockings. Liu's confidence in front of the camera and his long pair of skinny legs are the envy of many girls. Netizen Satsuki sighed: "He has such a good figure, especially those legs!"
I simultaneously love that he's doing this with his granddaughter and hate that women, myself included, are coveting the spindly legs of a 72 year old man. (via @mulegirl)
The fancy gentlemen from the Congo Oct 09 2012
Photographer Daniele Tamagni's new book Gentlemen of Bacongo captures the fascinating subculture of the Congo in which men (and a few women) dress in designer and handmade suits and other luxury items. The movement, called Le Sape, combines French styles from their colonial roots and the individual's (often flamboyant) style. Le Sapeurs, as they're called, wear pink suits and D&G belts while living in the slums of this coastal African region.
In interviews with some notable sapeurs, Tamagni unearths the complex and varied rules and standards of Le Sape, short for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, or the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People. Sapeur Michel comments on the strange combination of poverty and fashion, "A Congolese sapeur is a happy man even if he does not eat, because wearing proper clothes feeds the soul and gives pleasure to the body."
Vintage flannel baseball jerseys Oct 02 2012
Ebbets Field Flannels sells historic baseball jerseys made from "real 1950s-era wool blend baseball cloth".
The Clowns were baseball's answer to the Harlem Globetrotters. Players entertained the crowd with various comedic antics, including "shadowball", where they would go through a warm-up routine with no baseball. When the team joined the Negro American League, they dropped the "Ethiopian" moniker and played straight baseball.
This? No. Hell no. No no no. Aug 12 2012
No. No no no. No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no. NO NO NO NO! No. No no. No no no no no no. No. No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.
Some will spend $795 on Gucci backpacks or $1,090 on leopard print puffy coats from Lanvin.
Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director at Us Weekly, admits that some of the clothes are outrageously prices. But, she says, things like $200 Gucci sneakers make her kids happy.
"They're a walking billboard of you. They're a reflection of who you are, so if you are someone highly stylized, then you want to make sure your kids are the best-dressed kids out there," she says.
No no no no no no no no no. No. No no no no no no no no no. Fuck you.
Bathing suits that match book covers Jul 31 2012
Matchbook is a blog of bathing suits that happen to visually match up with book covers. Like so:
The great dude battles of the 1880s Jul 10 2012
E. Berry Wall was a dude. But not just any dude. In 1888, he was declared "King of the Dudes" in a competition against another gentleman, one Robert Hilliard.
Wall became famous after meeting Blakely Hall, a reporter hungry for good copy. Thereafter, every week or so, Hall's articles publicizing Wall's adventures in clothing appeared in newspapers across the country. Then one of Hall's competitors set up a rival, actor Robert "Bob" Hilliard, another flashy dresser. Thus began the Battle of the Dudes, in which each sought to eclipse the other in sartorial extremes. According to the Times, Wall finally won when, during the Great Blizzard of 1888, he strode into the Hoffman House bar clad in gleaming boots of black patent leather that went to his hips. (Nonetheless, some social historians claim Hilliard won with the high boots, supposedly part of his Western gambler's costume from a play in which he was then appearing).
But it was Wall who won a later sartorial marathon:
Wall won another contest in Saratoga when daredevil financier John "Bet-A-Million" Gates wagered that he could not wear 40 changes of clothes between breakfast and dinner. On the appointed day, Wall repeatedly appeared at the racetrack in one flashy ensemble after another until, exhausted but victorious, he at last entered the ballroom of the United States Hotel in faultless evening attire to wild applause.
Profile of Uniqlo and its CEO, Tadashi Yanai Jun 26 2012
For the most recent issue of Fast Company, Jeff Chu profiled Tadashi Yanai, the CEO of Uniqlo, one of the hottest retail companies in the world. The piece is full of interesting business & design wisdom throughout.
Yanai, though, cannot resist the American market. Around the corner from his Tokyo office, there's a large map of Manhattan. There are push pins marking Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Forever 21, Gap, Hollister, and a half-dozen other brands that could be considered immediate competitors. Significantly, there's one outlier marked: the Apple Store. When I ask Yanai about this, he replies simply, "People have only one wallet."
More notably, Apple is perhaps the best example of a company whose products have become ubiquitous without losing cachet. "Specialness is nice to have," Yanai says, "but what's more important is being made for all."
One of my favorite things about shopping at Uniqlo is how they hand you your credit card back:
All associates are trained, for instance, to return your credit card and receipt with both hands, as a sign of respect.
Mister Rogers' mom knitted all of his sweaters Jun 25 2012
Fun fact about Mister Rogers' cardigan sweaters that I hadn't heard before: his mom knitted all of them by hand for him. That may be the most perfectly perfect detail about anything that I've ever heard. (via ★djacobs)
When life gives you graffiti, make money May 14 2012
Last week, graffiti "artist" Kidult painted the word ART in pink paint all over the Marc Jacobs store in Soho. The store's staff cleaned it up, but not before snapping a photo of it and dubbing it Art by Art Jacobs. And then, in an awesome twist, Marc Jacobs put the photo on a tshirt and offered it for sale: $689 or $9 less if you want it signed by the "artist". The Observer's Foster Kamer has the story.
Jacobs, in this situation, has made one hell of a commentary about the absurd commoditization that some street art has yielded, and how easily ostensibly subversive art can actually be subverted, facile as it so often is, and it may be the best take on the matter since Exit Through The Gift Shop.
I'm going to pay for those quotation marks with lots of email and tweets, aren't I?
Update: Kidult has answered back with a tshirt of his own that pictures the "artist" tagging the store. $10.
Moonshiners' cow shoes May 14 2012
This is one of a pair of cow shoes worn by moonshiners during Prohibition to hide their tracks from prohibition agents. From a 1922 edition of The Evening Independent:
A new method of evading prohibition agents was revealed here today by A.L. Allen, state prohibition enforcement director, who displayed what he called a "cow shoe" as the latest thing front the haunts of moonshiners.
The cow shoe is a strip of metal to which is tacked a wooden block carved to resemble the hoof of a cow, which may be strapped to the human foot. A man shod with a pair of them would leave a trail resembling that of a cow.
The shoe found was picked up near Port Tampa where a still was located some time ago. It will be sent to the prohibition department at Washington. Officers believe the inventor got his idea from a Sherlock Holmes story in which the villain shod his horse with shoes the imprint of which resembled those of a cow's hoof.
I think I saw a woman wearing a pair of these on 6th Ave last week. (via nyer photo booth)
Mugshots from the 1920s May 08 2012
A collection of vintage mugshots from the 1920s. Crime used to be a lot more civilized.
Kickstart your underpants Apr 26 2012
Flint and Tinder is attempting to reintroduce American-made underwear back into US stores with a Kickstarter project. They've raised $39,000+ so far.
The factory I'm working with is family owned and operated. It's over 100 years old. Just before the recession hit, they moved into a larger facility and invested in some of the capital improvements shown in the video (solar power etc.).
At that time they had 300+ employees and were hoping to double or triple in size. When we started this project however, with the economy in free-fall, they were down to just 90.
They've agreed to learn to make this new, high-end brand of American-made underwear. Here's the fun part though: For ever 1000 pair we sell per month, 1 full-time job has to be added back to the assembly line. Hopefully, with your support, it will help them keep the doors open.
The Intimacy 2.0 fashion garments become see-through when the wearer's heart rate increases.
I think my pants are broken. They should be fully transparent at the moment... (via ★warrenellis)
New season of Put This On begins Mar 14 2012
The first episode of the second season of Put This On is out (as funded on Kickstarter). The episode takes place in NYC and features a segment on Lo Heads, a subculture of Polo Ralph Lauren enthusiasts.
With roots in 1980s street gangs, these Polo Ralph Lauren enthusiasts have made "aspirational apparel" a lifestyle. They once had to boost their Polo from stores and fight to keep it on the streets. Today, their culture is worldwide, promulgated by hip-hop. Their hero is Ralph Lauren -- a working class New Yorker who understood that the fantastical power of style can be transformative. Dallas Penn from The Internets Celebrities, a dedicated Lo Head (and former member of the Decepts crew) with a collection of over 1000 pieces of Polo apparel takes us on a tour of this remarkable fashion subculture.
Mad Men season five fashion predictions Jan 31 2012
Over at Sew Weekly, Mena Trott predicts what some of the characters will be wearing in the coming season of Mad Men.
Oh, Betty. For years, she has been immaculately dressed and presented as the facade of the perfect 1950s/1960s wife. With her cinched waists and billowing skirts, she's held onto late 1950s and early 1960s fashion the longest. In season four, she's married to the anti-Don, the boring Henry Francis and is getting a little too familiar with the bottle. When you're married to Henry Francis, you just don't care any more. That should be embroidered on a pillow.
Hipster Star Wars Jan 17 2012
Available at Etsy, prints of Star Wars characters wearing designer clothes by John Woo (not the director). A stormtrooper wearing Thom Browne, Boba Fett wearing Supreme Visvim, and my favorite, Jango Fett wearing Comme des Garçons.
Woo does similar illustrations outside the Star Wars universe...here's the T-1000 from Terminator 2 wearing Thom Browne. (via flavorwire)
Long-toed cowboy boots Jan 10 2012
Last year, Vice travelled to Matehuala, Mexico in search of dance crews who wear extremely pointy cowboy boots called botas vaqueras exóticas.
In Matehuala, guarachero has become an unlikely style of music where a bunch of people who in theory should not get along come together and get along. It's also the music preferred by the men and boys in the long and pointed boots.
Participants in these dance contests spend the days and weeks prior choreographing intricate footwork routines and fabricating their own outfits with cheap paint and fabric. The grand prize, beyond the enthusiastic crowd's affection, is either a bottle of whiskey or a few bucks.
Don't go changing Jan 09 2012
In a piece for Vanity Fair, Kurt Andersen argues that for the first time in recent history, American pop culture (fashion, art, music, design, entertainment) hasn't changed dramatically in the past 20 years.
Since 1992, as the technological miracles and wonders have propagated and the political economy has transformed, the world has become radically and profoundly new. (And then there's the miraculous drop in violent crime in the United States, by half.) Here is what's odd: during these same 20 years, the appearance of the world (computers, TVs, telephones, and music players aside) has changed hardly at all, less than it did during any 20-year period for at least a century. The past is a foreign country, but the recent past -- the 00s, the 90s, even a lot of the 80s -- looks almost identical to the present. This is the First Great Paradox of Contemporary Cultural History.
Think about it. Picture it. Rewind any other 20-year chunk of 20th-century time. There's no chance you would mistake a photograph or movie of Americans or an American city from 1972-giant sideburns, collars, and bell-bottoms, leisure suits and cigarettes, AMC Javelins and Matadors and Gremlins alongside Dodge Demons, Swingers, Plymouth Dusters, and Scamps-with images from 1992. Time-travel back another 20 years, before rock 'n' roll and the Pill and Vietnam, when both sexes wore hats and cars were big and bulbous with late-moderne fenders and fins-again, unmistakably different, 1952 from 1972. You can keep doing it and see that the characteristic surfaces and sounds of each historical moment are absolutely distinct from those of 20 years earlier or later: the clothes, the hair, the cars, the advertising -- all of it. It's even true of the 19th century: practically no respectable American man wore a beard before the 1850s, for instance, but beards were almost obligatory in the 1870s, and then disappeared again by 1900. The modern sensibility has been defined by brief stylistic shelf lives, our minds trained to register the recent past as old-fashioned.
The Men Who Shop in Bulk Dec 30 2011
Men hate shopping so they buy their favorite shoes/coats/pants/shirts in bulk. Here are interviews with some of those men. Guess who this might be:
I hate to shop. For the last 20 years I only shopped once every two or three years. I would go to the big and tall store and buy only what I could find in 20 minutes, tops - usually a few dozen briefs, T-shirts and sweaters. If there was time left, I would try on a jacket. Nothing needed to be perfect: just fit and be black.
Now I am buying African block-print shirts and pants in a riot of colors and patterns from an African street merchant. I visit him every few weeks to see what's new. I buy 10 or 15 at a time.
What The F*** is Michael Jordan Wearing? Dec 19 2011
I like Mike but his wardrobe is pure WTF. Like these jeans:
This is sort of the opposite of the NBA fashion nerds.
The rise of the NBA nerd Dec 16 2011
NBA players, especially the younger ones, are dressing like nerds.
In their tandem press conferences, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, of the Miami Heat, alternate impeccably tailored suits with cardigans over shirts and ties. They wear gingham and plaid and velvet, bow ties and sweater vests, suspenders, and thick black glasses they don't need. Their colors conflict. Their patterns clash. Clothes that once stood as an open invitation to bullies looking for something to hang on the back of a bathroom door are what James now wears to rap alongside Lil Wayne. Clothes that once signified whiteness, squareness, suburbanness, sissyness, in the minds of some NBA players no longer do.
If you happen to be someone who looks at Durant, James, or Amar'e Stoudemire's Foot Locker commercials -- in which he stalks along a perilously lit basketball court wearing a letterman's cardigan, a skinny tie, and giant black glasses (his are prescription) -- and wonders how the NBA got this way, how it turned into Happy Days, you're really wondering the same thing about the rest of mainstream black culture. When did everything turn upside down? Who relaxed the rules? Is it really safe to look like Carlton Banks?
Cristiano Ronaldo's dazzle shoes Dec 15 2011
The cleats look remarkably different from each side of Ronaldo. From the right, they have a clean look with pinstripes. From the left, though, there are thick stripes with a red accent line. Furthermore, the asymmetrical design makes a defender's judgment that much harder, as the visual effect of Ronaldo turning his foot in one direction may not come across exactly the same as reality.
Reminds me of the dazzle camouflage used on military ships in WWI and WWII.
Nerd girlfriend Dec 12 2011
H&M using computer generated fashion models Dec 06 2011
If you were thinking that all of H&M's clothing models are looking pretty much the same these days, that's because the bodies are computer generated with heads pasted on in post-production.
But man, isn't looking at the four identical bodies with different heads so uncanny? Duly noted that H&M made one of the fake bodies black. You can't say that the fictional, Photoshopped, mismatched-head future of catalog modeling isn't racially diverse.
Halloween or Williamsburg? Oct 26 2011
Got this from several people yesterday: are these people dressed up for Halloween or just live in Williamsburg? It's surprisingly difficult to tell.
Monsters of Grok Sep 01 2011
Monsters of Grok offers "fake band t-shirts for history's greatest minds". The Tesla/Edison send-up of AC/DC is nearly genius, but I like the Machiavelli/Metallica one better for some reason.
These remind me of IFC's Cinemetal shirts. (via many different vectors)
100 years of East London fashion Aug 30 2011
A couple dances their way through 100 years of fashion, from 1911 to 2011.
Personal style Aug 10 2011
The seventh episode of Put This On covers personal style...for which they interviewed Gay Talese.
Fancy old ladies Jul 28 2011
A short and charming documentary about fashionable seniors who are very much young-at-heart.
I'm not ready for a convent or anything, so I can wear leopard glasses.
If you like that, check out the portraits on Advanced Style, which is like a Sartorialist for the AARP set.
Seinfeld's sneakers, a complete guide May 24 2011
Jerry Seinfeld seemingly wore a different pair of sneakers (mostly Nikes) on his TV show each week...here are 50 pages of analysis of Jerry's shoe choices. For 90s athletic shoe and Seinfeld superfans only. (via @cory_arcangel)
Pink used to be a boys color Apr 12 2011
The gender-specific colors we have today for kids -- pink for girls and blue for boys -- didn't come about until the 1940s...before that, pink was recommended as a color for boys.
But nowadays people just have to know the sex of a baby or young child at first glance, says Jo B. Paoletti, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, to be published later this year. Thus we see, for example, a pink headband encircling the bald head of an infant girl.
Why have young children's clothing styles changed so dramatically? How did we end up with two "teams" -- boys in blue and girls in pink?
"It's really a story, what happened to neutral clothing," says Paoletti, who has explored the meaning of children's clothing for 30 years. For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. "What was once a matter of practicality -- you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached-became a matter of 'Oh my God, if I dress my babies in the wrong thing, they'll grow up perverted,'" Paoletti says.
It is nearly impossible, even in NYC, to find girls clothes that are not pink unless you pay through the nose for imported European kids clothes. See also vocabulary in boys and girls toy advertising. (via megnut, who is fighting to keep our kids in gender neutral clothing)
How the other half of 0.1% lives Feb 23 2011
These are the people who pay full price for the clothes that appear on the runways of Paris, NY, Milan, etc.
Christine Chiu wears most items only once. The 28-year-old, who is married to the founder of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, goes to events every night of the week-often making multiple wardrobe changes in a single night.
"If you're going to a gala for some kind of disease and then you go to a hip art event, you can't wear the same thing," Ms. Chiu says.
How to tie a Hermes scarf Jan 27 2011
Hermes has a handy PDF file that shows you how to tie their famous scarves into all sorts of configurations, like so:
You can even fold some of the larger scarves into handbags.
Bill Cunningham film Jan 24 2011
If you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do. That's the key to the whole thing.
Lyndon Johnson buys pants Jan 18 2011
This is a hoot: in want of slacks, President Lyndon Johnson called up the Haggar clothing company and requested several pairs be made in the style of a pair he already owned. Except a little bigger in the crotch..."down where your nuts hang" as Johnson put it. Just listen:
T-shirt classification system Jan 07 2011
While organizing his closet, Nick Foster came up with a categorization scheme for his many t-shirts.
Short documentary on The Sartorialist Jan 07 2011
A really lovely seven-minute documentary about Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist.
Watching the concentration, focus, and determination in Schuman's eyes and body as he walks around looking for photographic subjects immediately reminded me of an elite athlete; that same look was documented at length in Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait. And that's no accident...what Schuman does is an athletic pursuit as much as anything else. The way he holds his camera while walking, down by his side, slightly behind his back, hiding it from his potential subjects until he sees an opening...he's like a running back cradling a football, probing for an opening in the defensive line.
Carine Roitfeld resigns from French Vogue Dec 17 2010
After ten years, she's stepping down as editor-in-chief.
"I had so much freedom to do everything I wanted. I think I did a good job." But she added, "When everything is good, maybe I think it's the time to do something else." She expects to complete issues through March. She said she was not sure what she would do after that. "I have no plan at all," she said.
Is Courtney Love getting her life together? Nov 08 2010
On Monday night, at a screening of the movie "Due Date," Courtney Love told a reporter from Style.com that she was trying to take better care of herself.
Or, perhaps not:
Shortly after 8 p.m., Ms. Love burst into the room with the Marchesa dress slung on one arm and the noted German Neo-Expressionist artist Anselm Kiefer on the other. She was entirely naked and leaning on Mr. Kiefer for support. She made one lap around the room, walking in front of a photographer, an assistant, a hairstylist and me. She pulled over her head a transparent lace dress that covered up nothing, and demanded my assistance -- "Not you," she said to Mr. Kiefer, who was bent over trying to help her -- to stuff her feet into a pair of black Givenchy heels that were zipped up the back and tied with delicate laces in the front. Then she applied a slash of red lipstick in the vicinity of her mouth.
"I really must get out of here," Mr. Kiefer said.
"Just a minute," Ms. Love said, as she pushed her feet, shoes and all, through a pair of pink knickers that she said cost $4,000. She grabbed a trench coat, walked through the hotel lobby with her breasts exposed to an assortment of prominent fashion figures, including Stefano Pilati, the Yves Saint Laurent designer, and then exited the hotel.
Like Ms. Love, this profile of her is anything but boring.
Dress like Carl Sagan Nov 02 2010
Nerd Boyfriend, a site that details the sartorial choices of desirable nerds, shows us where to buy the outfit Carl Sagan wore in Cosmos.
New male sartorial technology messes shit up Oct 26 2010
Mary HK Choi observes that NYC's men have suddenly learned how to dress and now she can't tell who's who anymore, socioeconomically speaking.
I can't figure out how old anyone is. I can't figure out how gay anyone is. On silent subway morning commutes there are no tells. The brogues, desert boots and quickstrike high-tops not only have me manic-fantasy-banging every well-dressed dude on the F BECAUSE IT IS ALL SO GODDAMN GOOD but the fact that so many are suddenly well shod plus the prevalence of hard-bottoms straight CRIPPLES my ability to tell how rich anyone is. And that is fucking my game up major. Aaaaaaaaaand everyone's watch is now the old timey Timex from J.Crew for $150 so yeah, 360 IDK. Plus, also, seriously, there must have been some clandestine colloquium workshop situation where all the dudes in all the land shucked to skivvies and got sized for their perfect pair of Uniqlo jeans and nobody said "no homo," not even one time, because, Hi, y'all all look fantastic FUCK YOU.
The Master of Blue Jeans Sep 29 2010
Huh. The word "denim" comes from "serge de Nîmes", a fabric made in Nîmes, France, and "blue jeans" comes from "Bleu de Genes", blue pants made in Genoa (aka Genes). Both cities claim to have been manufacturing denim for centuries, but there has never been much proof in the way of artifacts and such. So the recent discovery of several paintings from the mid-1600s depicting people wearing jeans is surprising. Look at this jean jacket:
He's even got his collar popped.
Vulcan hoodie Sep 22 2010
Lady Gaga flank steak, $7.99 lb. Sep 20 2010
Zuckerberg and Style Rookie and Dyson Sep 13 2010
The New Yorker has a trio of interesting articles in their most recent issue for the discerning web/technology lady or gentlemen. First is a lengthy profile of Mark Zuckerberg, the quite private CEO of Facebook who doesn't believe in privacy.
Zuckerberg may seem like an over-sharer in the age of over-sharing. But that's kind of the point. Zuckerberg's business model depends on our shifting notions of privacy, revelation, and sheer self-display. The more that people are willing to put online, the more money his site can make from advertisers. Happily for him, and the prospects of his eventual fortune, his business interests align perfectly with his personal philosophy. In the bio section of his page, Zuckerberg writes simply, "I'm trying to make the world a more open place."
Tavi has an eye for frumpy, "Grey Gardens"-inspired clothes and for arch accessories, and her taste in designers runs toward the cerebral. From the beginning, her blog had an element of mystery: is it for real? And how did a thirteen-year-old suburban kid develop such a singular look? Her readership quickly grew to fifty thousand daily viewers and won the ear of major designers.
And C, John Seabrook has a profile of James Dyson (sub. required), he of the unusual vacuum cleaners, unusual hand dryers, and the unusual air-circulating fan.
In the fall of 2002, the British inventor James Dyson entered the U.S. market with an upright vacuum cleaner, the Dyson DC07. Dyson was the product's designer, engineer, manufacturer, and pitchman. The price was three hundred and ninety-nine dollars. Not only did the Dyson cost much more than most machines sold at retail but it was made almost entirely out of plastic. In the most perverse design decision of all, Dyson let you see the dirt as you collected it, in a clear plastic bin in the machine's midsection.
Your pants are lying to you Sep 08 2010
Your pants say that you have a 34-inch waist but the actual measurement might be a few inches off.
However, the temple for waisted male self-esteem is Old Navy, where I easily slid into a size 34 pair of the brand's Dress Pant. Where no other 34s had been hospitable, Old Navy's fit snugly. The final measurement? Five inches larger than the label. You can eat all the slow-churn ice cream and brats you want, and still consider yourself slender in these.
Typographic World Cup tshirts Jun 09 2010
I love these World Cup soccer shirts...here's the Brazilian one:
Another one for the list.
Some Sassy scans May 26 2010
The Style Rookie gets ahold of a bunch of old issues of Sassy and scans in a couple dozen pages, including a fashion layout featuring Sassy intern Chloë Sevigny.
Sassy seems to be one of those rare magazines that is dearly missed but doesn't really have a modern day analogue. (See also Might and Spy.)
Luxury brands' sites don't work on the iPad May 04 2010
The websites of the top 10 luxury brands don't work that well on the iPad...most throw up a splash page prompting you to download Flash. This is what Cartier's site looks like:
If I were Anna Wintour, I would be screaming at these companies to fix these sites. They reflect poorly on an industry that's all about effortless style, appearance, confidence, and never, ever having a hair out of place (unless that's the look you're going for). This? This is like they've got no pants on -- and not in a good way. That goes double for restaurant sites.
The new Chanel (grocery) bag May 03 2010
The hot new Chanel bag this season is a brown paper bag.
As one of the commenters says, "fake it until you make it".
The last zipper man standing Apr 21 2010
Eddie Feibusch opened his Manhattan zipper store on December 7, 1941 and is still plying his trade there, even after most of his competition has decamped for cheaper overseas locations.
How great are zippers? Don't even get Mr. Feibusch started. They are watertight for deep-sea divers, airtight for NASA. "Nothing replaces a zipper," he said. Buttons? He made a face. "A button is unpleasant," he said.
Feibusch will even sell you a 30-foot-long zipper for $100...to wrap your hot-air balloon up. (via girlhacker)
Down and to the right Apr 16 2010
The beauty of this photo by The Sartorialist is not in the clothes or the model but in the way that everything in shot leans down and to the right: the sidewalk sloping away toward the curb, the higher cuff on her right leg, her left foot slightly in front of her right, hips slouched so that her belt is parallel to the sidewalk, the neckline on her shirt. And then that big wave of hair thrown over the other way, balancing everything else out.
Poets ranked by beard weight Apr 09 2010
How do Tennyson, Longfellow, and Thoreau stack up in terms of the thickness of their beards? Surprisingly, that question has been asked and answered.
That "exalted dignity, that certain solemnity of mien," lent by an imposing beard, "regardless of passing vogues and sartorial vagaries," says Underwood, is invariably attributable to the presence of an obscure principle known as the odylic force, a mysterious product of "the hidden laws of nature." The odylic, or od, force is conveyed through the human organism by means of "nervous fluid" which invests the beard of a noble poet with noetic emanations and ensheathes it in an ectoplasmic aura.
Shoes that make everyone the same height Mar 25 2010
Fashion waste Jan 07 2010
It is winter. A third of the city is poor. And unworn clothing is being destroyed nightly.
Vogue Italia does Twitter fashion shoot Dec 07 2009
The December 2009 issue of Vogue Italia has a spread of photos taken by Steven Meisel presented in the style of Twitpic.
That's Viktoriya Sasonkina; also represented are Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Gisele Bundchen.
The 2000s according to Wikipedia Nov 13 2009
In hip hop, the throwback jersey and baggy pants (popular in the '90s to 2004) look was replaced with the more "grown man" look which was highly popularized by Kanye West around the year 2005.
If you say so. More interesting is the chart of the 20 highest grossing movies from the film page (the top 3 each grossed $1 billion+ worldwide):
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
3. The Dark Knight
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
8. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
9. Shrek 2
10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
11. Spider-Man 3
12. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
13. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
14. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
15. Finding Nemo
16. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
17. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
19. Shrek the Third
20. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Only one movie on the list was made from an original screenplay: Finding Nemo...the rest are all sequels or adapted from books, TV shows, amusement park rides, etc. Out of the top 50, only nine are not franchise films.
Book cover handbags Nov 10 2009
Olympia Le-Tan makes handbags -- actually hand-embroidered rectangular box clutches -- that look like book covers.
Dressing like a grownup Nov 03 2009
The first episode of a new web series "about dressing like a grownup" called Put This On is about denim. Denim like a jean. Put This On is hosted by Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America and Adam Lisagor, the web's loneliest sandwich.
Futuristic fashion, as predicted Oct 06 2009
A video clip of what fashion designers in the 1930s predicted that people would be wearing in the year 2000. While the predictions for the women only accurately depict Lady GaGa's wardrobe, the designers of the past were slightly closer to the mark when it came to men's fashion:
"He'll be fitted with a radio, telephone, and containers for coins, keys, and candy for cuties."
By which they must have meant credit cards.
Update: FASHION magazine responded to this video. It turns out that it was eerily accurate, with designs like Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs parading futuristic wares that are perfectly current.
A little Grace Kelly Sep 28 2009
I love this shot of a woman in Milan from the Sartorialist.
As Schuman notes, there's a sense of style here that tons of expensive flashy clothes can't compete with.
Update: On the other hand, this sort of thing has its charms.
Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil Blog caught the lineup of models before they walked the runway for Thom Browne.
This photo alone could be the springboard for an entire novel.
MJ tshirts are the new Obama tshirt Sep 01 2009
The history of Levi's jeans Aug 25 2009
A Continuous Lean has an interview with Lynn Downey, an archivist and historian for Levi Strauss.
Well, [Levi's] started just as a regional thing, we had the lock on the West and other brands had their own consumer segments. I believe Lee had the South sort of sewn up, and there were some other brands, I think Lee included, that were known in New York. It's funny, you could always tell where someone was from; if they said "jeans," then they were from the west, if they were from the East they called them "dungarees," you could immediately tell where someone was from.
Update: Here's part two of the interview.
T-shirt designs on cakes Jul 20 2009
Gradient jeans Jul 15 2009
I love this photo from JAK & JIL BLOG. The lighting, the clothes, and the person wearing them are all perfect. Do click through to see it larger.
How to get The Sartorialist to shoot you Jul 13 2009
A handy flowchart: how to get your photo taken by The Sartorialist. If you're a man and you have pants: "cuff 'em, roll 'em, make 'em too short".
The September Issue trailer Jul 10 2009
The September Issue is the much-anticipated documentary that follows Anna Wintour and her staff at Vogue through the process of creating the magazine's September issue, AKA the world's thickest magazine issue.
An apt demonstration that an editor/curator's main job is saying no to almost everything.
Rendered fashion Jun 26 2009
The clothes from Irina Shaposhnikova's Crystallographica show look as though they were created with 3-D rendering software but haven't quite finished rendering yet.
(via today and tomorrow)
Gay Talese spends $2800 on shoes Jun 12 2009
And he's got several pairs of them. In this video, the noted writer shows off his suits and talks about "dressing up for the story" as a young reporter.
Hermes breeding its own crocodiles Jun 11 2009
The recession seemed like a far-removed concept for Hermes this morning, as the luxury retailer announced it is breeding its own crocodiles to keep up with the demand for its iconic handbags.
The Uniform Project Jun 10 2009
For The Uniform Project, Sheena Matheiken is wearing the same dress every day for an entire year. Each day, she "reinvents the dress with layers, accessories and all kinds of accouterments".
How do you design a dress that can be worn all year around? The mastermind behind the uniform dress is my friend and designer, Eliza Starbuck. We took inspiration from one of my staple dresses, improving upon the shape and fit to add on some seasonal versatility. The dress is designed so it can be worn both ways, front and back, and also as an open tunic. It's made from a durable, breathable cotton, good for New York summers and good for layering in cooler seasons. With deep hidden pockets to appease my deep aversion for carrying purses.
Looking through the photos so far, you can see how versatile the dress is and how clever Matheiken is in accessorizing it. (via ben fry)
Update: Alex Martin did a similar project back in 2005 called Brown Dress.
So, here's the deal -- I made this dress and I wore it every day for a year. I made one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days. In this performance, I challenged myself to reject the economic system that pushes over-consumption, and the bill of goods that has been sold, especially to women, about what makes a person good, attractive and interesting. Clothes are a big part of this image, and the expectation in time, effort, and financial investment is immense.
From 1991-2002 as part of her A-Z Uniforms project, Andrea Zittel made herself a new dress and wore it for six straight months.
Because I was tired of the tyranny of constant variety, I began a six-month uniform project. Starting in 1991 I would design and make one perfect dress for each season, and would then wear that dress every day for six months. Although utilitarian in principle, I often found that there was a strong element of fantasy or emotional need invested in each season's design. The experiment as a whole worked quite well, especially since dreaming up the next season's design helped relieve any monotony that might have occurred from wearing the same dress every day.
Some of Zittel's dresses are pictured here. Has The Onion done a piece about the guy in marketing's art piece where he wears brown khakis and a blue button-down shirt everyday for 20 years? (thx, jon & amanda)
Optical illusion shoes Jun 04 2009
It took me at least 30 seconds of looking at these shoes to realize that the woman wasn't floating two inches off the ground and what I thought were shadows are actually heels. Even knowing the secret, the effect switches for me like a Necker cube or the spinning dancer.
Emergency cuff links Jun 03 2009
If you have two pair of small binder clips:
Rules of style May 19 2009
I don't agree with everything on Scott Sternberg's rules of style list, but a couple of his points are pretty interesting. I'll spot you this one:
Whenever you start a new project or a new job, don't tell anyone what you're working on, because it can change direction a million times and once you start telling the world about it, you get constrained by your own mouth.
but you'll have to find the others on your own. (via andrea inspired)
Update: A recent study has indicated that people who don't share their goals are more successful in achieving them.
Researchers report that when dealing with identity goals -- that is, the aspirations that define who we are -- sharing our intentions doesn't necessarily motivate achievement. On the contrary, a series of experiments shows that when others take notice of our plans, performance is compromised because we gain "a premature sense of completeness" about the goal.
Cool bowler camera bag Apr 30 2009
This SLR camera bag that looks like a bowling bag seems like the sort of thing that some of you may "dig".
Happy hour Mar 27 2009
Nerd Boyfriend Mar 09 2009
Nerd Boyfriend breaks down the wardrobes of the fashionably nerdy male, including those of Peter Sellers, Alistair Hennessey (from The Life Aquatic), Buster Bluth, and Sir Edmund Hillary. (via lonelysandwich)
High-style five-finger discount Feb 18 2009
An interesting profile of Kevahn Thorpe, who started shoplifting high fashion items when he was 16 years old and couldn't manage to stop.
Kevahn, meanwhile, was arrested over and over -- always at department stores, he emphasizes, "never in no label stores," like Prada, where the staff is perhaps more sensitive to the possibility that a young black kid drifting among the merchandise might be an up-and-coming entertainer or a rich private-schooler and not necessarily a thief. And by then, he was dressing for the occasion. As helpful salesclerks retrieved sneakers from the stockroom, he whisked the ones he wanted under a couch and played a kind of shell game with display models and shoeboxes. When he was caught, he pleaded down the petit-larceny charges to disorderly conduct, until a judge finally got fed up and sent him to Rikers Island for the first time, on a ten-day sentence.
Perhaps it's easy to laugh Kevahn off as just being obsessed with fashion, but he's also gotten caught stealing iPods and using stolen credit cards.
Lo Heads Feb 12 2009
Rapper/producer 88-Keys is a Lo Head, an obsessive collector and wearer of Ralph Lauren Polo clothing and accessories. He's been wearing nothing but Polo every single day since 1993. This interview with rapper and Lo Head Rack-Lo functions as a sort of Lo Head manifesto.
A lot of street dudes have paved the way and paid a hefty price for all of you to even be able to rock Lo and all those other name brands as well. Other names like North Face, Benetton, Gucci, Spyder, Gortex, Louis Vutton and the list goes on - Lo-Life's did it all first. So let me school ya'll for a second. This Lo movement officially started in 1988. And even before 1988, the movement was in development. Have ya'll ever heard of Ralphies Kids or USA (United Shoplifters Association), that's the foundation right there. Those are basically the two crews that Rack-Lo united as Lo-Life's to form voltron on the Hip Hop world. And a lot of you dudes probably weren't even born then. So what the fuck are you really saying? So I'm just making it clear that if your going to rep that Lo shit and be apart of a fashion institution there's a certain way to do it. Word, it rules and laws to this shit. This aint no fly by night shit where u wake up one morning and decide to rock Lo like Kayne West did. That shit there is a fairy tale a lot of heads are living.
Kanye defended his status as a Lo Head in the song Barry Bonds from his Graduation album.
Make a sweater from your pet's fur Jan 22 2009
You can now get sweaters made from your dog's fur or a handbag made from your cat's fur...or hats, mittens, etc.
Draft Sully for Secretary of Transportation Jan 16 2009
Now available for sale on CafePress in men's and women's sizes:
The mayor gave Sully the key to the city for landing the airplane safely into the Hudson River but surely he deserves more...like a job in the Obama administration as the Secretary of Transportation (no offense to Mr. LaHood).