Archive for the 'Fashion' Category

People Don’t Forget

Monday, January 12th, 2009

While I was reading some online information about how American clothing labels get their stuff manufactured in Chinese sweatshops I started noticing something. All the sites that I was visiting looked very dated. This issue was a cause du jour several years ago . An undated PBS web page linked to a very impressive chart showing the wages and conditions at various factories as well as what fashion house they were working for. That chart had a date at the bottom, it was made in 1998.

The lack of freshness of the info is best illustrated by the fact that one of the main targets for criticism was Kathy Lee Gifford. For all I know she could be working in a sweatshop by now. When I googled a few factory names, I saw the dated information being paraphrased or quoted in blogs from this century. The manufacturing industry of China is huge, I am not even going to pretend to know whether the situation is better or worse today. I am pretty sure that things are not exactly the same as they were in 1998.

The thing that bothers me about this situation is that companies that respond to criticism by cleaning up their acts deserve to have the positive changes acknowledged. It seems like having ten year old facts used against them would be a disincentive.

On the bright side, hopefully new corporations understand that unethical practices can result in decades worth of negative word of mouth.

Head to Head With Super Lice

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

WARNING: Blog posts describing lice infestation can lead to psychosomatic itching of the scalp.

super licePicture me in one of those newsboy caps as I announce that HATS ARE BACK IN STYLE!!!

I was trying on used hats in a shop in Northern Tunisia last week and I was amazed at the selection. There were berets from France, caps from Ireland, fedoras from Italy as well as all manner of unnameable hats from goodness knows where.

Ok, I didn’t actually put very many of them on my head because I am scared of picking up a case of head lice (or worse). I read a thread in a hat forum that was started by a guy who caught ringworm from a pith helmet. Someone speaking with the voice of experience said that sealing hats in airtight bags for two weeks will kill lice. They went on to say that the transfer of lice from one host to another could involve two people trying on the same hat (new or used) within a few hours of each other.

If I had unthinkingly tried on every hat in the store and by chance picked up a few critters, at least I already know how to get rid of super lice. When our kids were sent home from school with super lice a few years ago, we tried the over the counter insecticidal shampoos. The lice were resistant, which means that they won the first battle. We regrouped and researched. Our plan of attack was based on a medical study carried out in the United Kingdom. We executed the plan with precision and we won the war against super lice.

Used Shoes are Awesome

Friday, November 21st, 2008

With the World Economy in a desperate state, I am picturing lots of people considering cost saving measures that they would have scoffed at a few months ago. I am presently living in a different part of the World with a different economy. Used shoes are sold in surprising quantities around the corner from the main food market. Some are in small shops and some are laid out on carpets on the sidewalk.

I am not an enthusiastic shoe browser, but I have developed an eye for them while keeping a close eye on my shoe obsessed kids. The surprising thing about the used shoe market is the high proportion of very well made shoes. My memories of North America are getting fuzzier, but I seem to recall used shoes being a very stigmatized product. Anybody who would be so gauche as to sell shoes at a yard sale would have to practically give them away. Here, the market value approximates the degree of utility and the style. I have walked about 30 miles in another man’s shoes so far this month and I feel think that I spent my seven bucks wisely.

yellow shoes