Friday, 19 December 2008

That was the year that was

So here we are, the last day of work (for us anyway), and we thought what better way to sign off in style than with our own review of the year...

It's been another varied and interesting year in the Company Clothing offices...

We've looked in detail at the problems with EN471 (the standard that covers high-visibility clothing), visited a tailoring factory in Portugal and a fabric manufacturer in Leeds, hopped across the Irish Sea to meet Allied Irish Bank and spent a day in the rain at a firing range (full report in January's issue).

We felt all scientific at the nanotechnology conference at the Royal Society and all fashionista when we covered a brief section of the London Fashion Week parade. We've meet buyers and suppliers covering everything from new uniforms at Edinburgh Castle to St John's Ambulance and looked at casualwear in all its forms - hats, softshells, and the great polo review too...


We've looked at PPE - fire resistant suits, electric arc protection and body armour. There's been product reviews of workwear covering everything from head to toe and ear and eye protection too. We traveled to exhibitions in Birmingham and Coventry, attended conferences in Rugby and Paris, a fashion show in Accrington and put garments from soft-shells to kilts through their paces in our rigorous road test column. We've even got to know about the people in the industry and their preferences on everything from Scrabble or Monopoly, to dream holiday destinations, in our 20 Questions column on the last page of the magazine.

And despite doing all this we've even found the time to arrange for the Company Clothing Industry Awards to take place on March 12 2009, organised the judging and hired a top swanky London venue all so the industry can celebrate its talent, achievements and success, and have a drinks or two as well.

All in all then we feel we've earned this break. But of course so do you. Because the reason we're off and about writing about such myriad topics and concerns, is because of the work you do day-in, day-out, creating the stories for us to cover. We hope you enjoy receiving our publication and the areas it covers - be they directly relevant to you, or merely an interesting read, and of course, don't forget the comments button below is your chance to say hello and tell us what you love and what you don't (don't worry we can take it!).

So, from everyone here, a very merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and here's to a weird, wonderful and downright diverse 2009. Who knows what it has in store...

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Hats off to you

So, after years and years of being told "make sure you wear a hat, you lose 10% of your heat through your head" we're now being told this is not true. This kind of thing happens all the time - these myths become so throughly embedded in our culture we believe them to be true only for scientists to then turn around years later and tell us they're all a load of rubbish. Perhaps they spread them to make sure they've got something to do in a few years time?

Not only have they done this, but they have also concluded that there is still no conclusive cure for a hangover and that "staying teetotal or drinking in moderation is the only way to avoid a hangover." True enough, but where's the fun in that over the Christmas period?

Tune in tomorrow for the last blog post of 2008!

Pictured: Santa refused to take his hat off, despite the scientist's claims.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

As you read this...

...judging for the Company Clothing Industry Awards will be in full swing! Those that entered will be anxiously wondering how their entries are being received, but will have to wait until awards night to find out if they've won! Those of you that didn't enter (why not?!) can always come along on the night as well and not only enjoy the revealing of the winners but also the luxurious surrondings of the location and the quality menu as well as a bit of chatting and dancing.

So we hope to see you there!

Right, back to the judging...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Is it cheating?

After the joy of Sports Personality of The Year (Is this right? Ed) and Rebecca Adlington coming third after her two Olympic-gold-medal-winning swims in the 400m and 800m it seems churlish to start finding fault with sport. But British team coach Dennis Pursley has said that the use of hi-tech fabrics to aid swimmers is tantamount to cheating.

An interesting claim. As we've covered before in Company Clothing there are fabrics out there that can do some incredible stuff and if we can help improve sporting prowess through their use where's the harm? After all, if it's open to everyone it's still a level playing field and all it means is everyone is going faster, but those who are the best will still be the fastest.

But perhaps swimmers shouldn't be allowed to use these fabrics. If a world record tumbles how much is due to the suit and not the swimmer? Would the swimmer's own innate talent have broken the record against the previous swimmers who didn't have the technology?

This looks like a debate that could, er, run and run...What do you think?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Rogue brogues attack Bush

Well, there's only one story to be blogged about today isn't there? George Bush being attacked by shoes on a surprise visit to Iraq. Spectacular footage of the event here. Doesn't he duck well?

It's an interesting form of attack and it’s well documented that showing someone the soles of your shoes is a serious form of insult in Arab countries. But in any culture hurling your shoes with all your might at someone's face is considered a serious insult, and then potential injury.

Are there other world leaders who deserve such treatment? Could we throw scarves at Nicolas Sarkozy? Or perhaps a wellington boot at Gordon Brown?*

*In no way whatsoever does Company Clothing endorse, condone or promote the throwing of garments at prominent world leaders.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Wearing your heart on your sleeve

We often write about fantastic, hi-tech fabrics and fibres in Company Clothing, and with new fibres that are able to monitor the health of the skin and the body it seems it is something we will be covering in more detail for many years to come.

The new fibre works by monitoring the wearer's vital signs and could be used by people in ill health, young babies, or even those in the military and emergency services. How long it takes for this technology to become the norm is of course another matter, but no doubt in a few years time it will be being trialled for the first time and then rolled out and when it does, you can rest assured Company Clothing will be there to bring you the latest news.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Christmas gifts

So Christmas is really nearly, almost, here. It's the 11th today so in just two weeks we'll all be sitting around with our families, opening gifts, drinking and watching TV. Sounds nice! But of course there will be the inevitable clothing gift disaster's that so often occur on the day. The obligatory pair of socks (that are actually quite useful), the terrible jumper (as modeled by Colin Firth), and possibly some other poor choices such as pyjamas, shirts, or, shock-horror, underwear.

So come on readers, what's your worst ever Christmas clothing gift you've received, and what would you most like to receive this year, clothing or otherwise?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Cat burglar

Two day of the great no-clothes-related-stories drought continues - but never fear! - we have an enjoyable story that transcends the need for it to be directly relevant to the remit of this blog, because the cat involved is just so darn cute. See.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Well we've been going for almost 50 days now and had over 1000 visitors! Hooray! But for a milestone day we've been undermined by the lack of good, interesting or quirky clothing stories we usually find every day on the interweb.

However, if you've been checking back on here to read one and been disappointed, never fear, this blog is a home to plenty of other things you can - there's the poll on the right hand side (just scroll down slighty) / a list of other blogs and links we like you can go and spend a merry minute or 10 perusing / or you can read back through some of our past stories and think of some interesting comments to leave, or reply to those that are there.

Hopefully normal service will resume tomorrow and a plethora of stories shall come flooding in.

Monday, 8 December 2008


Microsoft is a company that has, in most ways, become part of people's lives on a daily basis - internet, word documents, slideshows, spreadsheets - all run on their operating systems. Although this is being written on a Mac, so they don't own everything.

However, one area we don't think many people would have seen them move into would be the world of t-shirts. But they have. Quite why remains something of a mystery, but some of the designs aren't that bad - see - but as you can see from the one on the right (in larger size here), they're not all quite the kind of thing you'd want to be seen in.

Still though, it shows the market for brand allegiences that exists, and if a company like Microsoft thinks its worth moving into it makes you wonder who could be next to put their founder on a t-shirt...any suggestions? Use the comments button below!

Friday, 5 December 2008


Don't forget, next Wednesday, the 10th, is the deadline for entries for the Company Clothing Industry Awards - apart from the Design Innovation Challenge for which the deadline is December 18th. You can always use special delivery to ensure they arrive on time to be judged and potential win a prestigious and coveted Company Clothing Industry Award!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The gloves are on (and so is the music)

A new glove from The North Face called the eTip (hmm like iPod...) has reportedly been flying off the shelves as people want to get their mitts on, er, mitts, that let them control their MP3 devices through the ends of the glove - ah, that explains the name!

It's a common problem actually, the old glove / music player trade off and if the eTip is able to remove this annoying fiddly problem then it's no wonder it's doing well - apparently there is only one pair left in the Leed's branch of the store - it's probably gone by now, but if you're in
the Leeds area let us know.

If you're off skiing, running, walking in the cold winter weather - and man it has been cold this week - then gloves are useful and if they can be worn and still let you use your MP3 player without hinderance, so much the better.

Right, do excuse us, Company Clothing is just off to this wonderful sounding winter wonderland in Dorset for a Christmas holiday...what?!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Streets of shame?

As regular readers will know a few weeks ago we blogged about the potential use of high-visibility clothing to 'shame' offenders on community service and highlight the work they are doing to the community. Needless to say it drew some debate from several quarters as we noted.

As of yesterday the new scheme which sees offenders in bright orange tabards started and the debate went from hypothetical to reality.

Jack Straw said of the scheme and its goals: 'They're not medieval; it's not to do with the stocks. It's not to do with shaming. The shame the offenders feel is the shame and humiliation of having committed the offence and then going to court and having a criminal record. What this is about is enabling the public to see that justice is being done.'

A strong argument you might think, but clearly some disagree. But what do you think about this? We are an industry involved with high-visibility clothing in its more traditional uses but this is an emotive subject and one could run and run.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

On the streets

Louis Theroux in Philadelphia was on BBC2 on Sunday night and those who watched it will have noticed our intrepid journalist (aren't they all) wearing a flak jacket to give him protection on the mean streets he was investigating.

Here he's written an article on the BBC about the experience of filming the show, and with quite a few mentions of what the body armour did, why they had it, and what it felt like to wear it. It's quite an interesting read.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Mad as hatters

As it's December 1st we thought a Christmas story was in order, so we were pleased to find this bizarre tale of students from Cambridge University placing a Santa hat on the Gate of Humility at Gonville and Caius College as an end of term joke.

Three fire engines had to be called to get the hat down among fears it may, 'pose a danger to passers by.' The danger of looking silly by being hit by a falling Santa hat?

Friday, 28 November 2008

Flipping and flopping

Police in Torbay have spent £30,000 on flip-flops to provide drunken woman with an easier way of getting home, rather than staggering precariously in their high-heels.

Unsurprisingly the move has split opinion. As the story on The Times mentions the pressure group The Taxpayers’ Alliance criticised the scheme as an “idiotic waste of money”. However, club goer Danielle Bolton, 19, said: “It’s a great idea and I would wear them 100 percent. My heels hurt me at the end of the night so I tend to take them off. It’s a hell of a lot easier to walk with flip-flops than high heels.” Nice to see someone expressing themselves through medium of percentages.

Are there other forms of leisure wear that could be turned into useful drunken wear? It's that party we mentioned tonight so perhaps we could try it out? High vis to make sure you're seen?


As a related aside on this grey Friday, don't for that at our awards in March there is a Footwear Innovation Award category, so if you have a product you want to show off, make sure you enter!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

A bit tasteless

America is often the source of some of the more bizarre stories that crop up from time to time. This one is no different. High heels for babies. Yeah, we're not so keen either.

The US designers said they had 'fun, hilarity and glamour' in mind when creating the shoes. Are fun, hilarity and glamour a well known trio? Surely glamour goes with style and grace?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Cotton imports decline

Some serious clothing-related news for the blog now as it’s been reported that China, the world's largest cotton consumer, reduced its imports by 30 percent in October from a year earlier as demand for clothing and textiles slowed, according to China Cotton Association estimates.

Number crunching: China imported 96,200 metric tons, which is still down 30 percent from October 2007 and imports since the start of the marketing year on September 1 totaled 225,200 tons, down 39 percent from a year earlier, Bloomberg News said.

China's cotton crop may total 7.8 million tons this year, the association estimated. It produced 7.62 million tons last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Fashion socks it to the credit crunch

As the Christmas party season hurtles towards us thoughts will crop up along the lines of ‘oh what the hell am I going to wear?’ But even though a credit crunch is biting (is it alive?), we’re still very much followers of fashion. Dedicated even, as The Kinks may proclaim.

Research figures from online business directory Scoot, shows that during October almost 30,000 people looked up fashion and accessory related shops on the site. Shoe shop searches reached almost 11,000 too. As Sue Barnes, the MD, notes, ‘Scoot searches tell us what sorts of businesses people are looking for, not what people re spending, but fashion remains high on our priority list, despite the credit crunch.’

Company Clothing is off to a Christmas party on Friday where we’ll sip champagne, make witty remarks in the spirit of Dorothy Parker or Oscar Wilde, and eat one too many cheese and pineapple sticks. The question is, what should we wear to make sure we stand out from the crowd?

Monday, 24 November 2008

World leaders in...ponchos?

Those of you au fait with the surreal fantasy comedy The Mighty Boosh will know from Vince Noir that "it's impossible to feel unhappy in a poncho". The world leaders of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have been busy testing this theory as they dressed in Andean ponchos in honour of the location of the event - Lima, Peru.

The ponchos worn could have ranged anywhere between $100 and $6,000 according to reports and are made with materials from Alpacas. Alpaca, along with vicuna and llama, are the three camelids native to Peru. Their warm, dryable fibers were worn by the ancient Incas, who wove their fleece into royal robes on delicate hand looms. Descendents of the Incas still herd the animals and spin their coats into ponchos and ear-flapped caps.

Have you ever worn a poncho? Did it stave off the blues? Perhaps to beat the Credit Crunch woes the government could issue everyone with one? Perhaps not.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Body protection

In our November issue we covered the important topic of body armour and some of the issues surrounding its construction and end-use - you can read it in PDF form by clicking here. News then that the Scottish Police have signed an order with Tyronne based Hawk Protection for their body armour is of particular interest.

In our January issue will have a report from an event we were invited to attend where we witnessed body armour be put through its paces by being fired on by weapons ranging from shot-guns to uzis. If you don't get the magazine, make sure you subscribe to recieve it for 2009.

Plus don't forget, there's not long until the deadline for the Company Clothing Industry Awards closes so get those forms filled in, the samples gathered, the entry fee sorted, and get them to us asap!

Other than that, have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Dog is new stationmaster

With the terrible news that John Sergeant is off Strictly, we felt a fun story was in order for today's blog entry. So we were pleased to come across the story of a dog being made stationmaster of a small railway station in Japan. As you can see from the picture there's something strangely commanding about him - you wouldn't risk jumping the barriers with him snapping at your heels. There's even a little video of the fella in action here.

Last week we reported on Hatty the dog being made to wear high-visibility clothing so it seems dogs in workwear - either PPE or corporate wear - is becoming something of a trend. What other jobs could dogs do, and what uniforms would they need to do them?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Awards deadline moves closer

There's only three weeks to go until the deadline for entry to the Company Clothing Industry Awards closes! To make sure you don't miss your chance to enter visit the website, have a look through the categories, and download the necessary forms for entry. There's an FAQ that should answer any additional questions you may have but you can always contact us if you are still not clear.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


A pensioner aged 71 was asked to 'take off her hoody' by a security guard in an Aldi supermarket despite it being merely a headscarf (and the fact she was 71)! The store has since apologised and offered to give her some complimentary groceries.

The fact though that a security guard felt compelled to approach a pensioner and ask her to remove what he believed was a hoody underlines the connotations the hoody has and how it has become something of a symbol of some of the perceived problems with youths in Britain. Other garments have reputations too though. High-visibility jackets are synonymous with construction workers or other official roles, for example.

Are there any other garments that bring about such strong opinions?

Monday, 17 November 2008

Dressed to shame?

Sir Ian Blair has brought a debate back to the fore that's been bubbling away for many years. He called for criminals on community service to wear uniforms so that, "people can see those people (offenders) have been sentenced to a community project."

However, as long-time readers of Company Clothing will know, this is not a new topic. In 2005 Hazel Blears called for a similar scheme and much backlash ensued, from MP Ann Widdecombe ("it might be worn as a badge of honour") to civil rights group Liberty ("degradation is no way of engendering a culture of respect").

In America this type of activity already exists, in a predictably bizarre way, with people being made to wear chicken suits to be shamed for their crimes. While it is obvious the UK would never take things to this extreme the question is still yet be resolved around uniforms for offenders on community service.

What do you think? Is this something that should be brought in or is it a step too far? What if the uniform was made to be tasteful and smart rather than designed to be bold and make them standout for the wrong reasons? Would that make it more acceptable?

Friday, 14 November 2008


You may remember back on Halloween we blogged about some of the spurious world records that had been broken that links to the clothing world. Well today we bring you another on of those - Friday certainly is the day for silly news.

Yesterday at St Pancreas station in London the world record for 'the largest gathering of people wearing underpants/knickers' was broken. It was all in aid of charity with money being raised for Pants to Poverty, a Fair Trade group, and was part of of Guinness World Record Day in which people all over the world try to break a world record. The best record of the day to be broken was surely the most skydivers at once - 71 - pictured above.

What other world records need breaking? Perhaps our industry could come together and earn ourselves a place in the record books...ideas using the comments button below!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Insuring everything's in order

Tough times are here make no mistake. Where once the Credit Crunch could be batted aside with a dismissive hand gesture it is now here and refusing to go away. As a result it's vital companies, of any nature, ensure they don't risk losing money through unnecessary means.

News then that research by an insurance broker called Aon has found that one in ten insurance claims by clothing suppliers could face non-payment due to insufficient cover. This could mean companies' balance sheet take a hit for loss or damage to goods at times when credit is most scarce.

Aon's research notes the top three most common gaps in cover for clothing companies in a standard cargo insurance policy include:

1. No brand protection in the event of damaged goods having a potential reduced or salvage value. Ordinarily insurers would deduct any reduced or salvage value from a claims settlement. However, where this can harm a brand’s reputation, a cargo owner may elect to have the goods destroyed and seek payment of the full invoice value

2. Payment of the purchase invoice value, rather than the final sales contract value in the event of loss

3. Cover for damaged items only, rather than an entire consignment in the event of
damage/soiling by stowaways or other ‘unauthorised occupants’ in a container or trailer.

Aon recommend that cargo owners check their policies for potential gaps in cover. In addition to securing broad insurance cover, cargo owners should also focus on improving their risk management and reporting procedures to help prevent these incidents in the first place and ensure the successful resolution of claims. This includes:
  • putting in checks for correct packaging for you and your suppliers;
  • holding your carriers liable in writing, without delay, for loss/damage in transit;
  • noting damage on delivery notes on arrival to evidence damage in transit.
So there you have it.

And if we're to get rid of this pesky credit crunch that insists on hang around, perhaps some big party would be good? Yes, some big, fun, fancy party with awards to be won, and a chance for the clothing industry to come together and prove Mr Credit Crunch he won't dampen our spirits. Now if only someone would go and host such an event...

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

You can do better than this!

Forget counting down to Christmas, the real excitement is looking forward to the Company Clothing Industry Awards that are to be held at a top London venue on March 12. As you (hopefully) know one of the categories you can enter is the Design Innovation Challenge.

Last time the theme for this award was James Bond to coincide with the release of Casino Royale. The film link continues this time with the new Star Trek film the basis from which those entering need to take their inspiration.

And, as if that wasn't enough to get those pencils sketching, some recent stills from the new film have just been released and, on the uniform sides of things at least, the results are hardly universe-shattering. They look exactly the same as the old ones!

So come on, prove you've got more of a creative mind that Hollywood, and potentially win this prestigious award! You can download the criteria for the Design Innovation Challenge here.

Protesting the badge

As some of you may remember we recently blogged about the resentment that many war veterans and their partners had felt by news that the American army insignias for the 1st Infantry Division was to be used on clothing.

The story continues to make the headlines with the news yesterday, on the 90th anniversary of the Armistice of WWI, that many veterans had been out actively protesting against the clothing now on sale with these insignias, with that famous American brand, Sears, the recipients of their protest.

It is doubtful the US Army ever thought their decision to license the insignia for commercial clothing would cause such debate but it underlines the emotional strength such insignias and clothing can have and that to open them up for anyone to wear dilutes what makes them special.
What do you think about this?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The bright side of life

High-visibility clothing sure is versatile. Not only is it a widely used and vital piece of PPE, we've also seen it been turned into a kilt, and now, even more fantastically, it's been made into a little jacket for a dog. Why we hear you ask from behind your computer screens?

Well it all started because the landlord of the pub the dog frequents had barred the little terrier tearaway Hatty (pictured gambling) had a tendency to destroy beer mats. Around 50 a night!

Now though the landlord has relented and agreed to allow the dog to return, on the proviso she wears the high-vis jacket so he can keep an eye on her at all times. The landlord also said, "We were thinking of a hard hat and muzzle but that was going too far."

Perhaps some of our PPE workwear readers could suggest further items for Hatty, or other high-vis clothing for animals. Snakes in high vis tubes to make them easier to see? Surely you can do better dear reader?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Ensuring all needs are met

Clothes make the man, or so the quotation goes, but people are the end-users of clothing and their considerations have to be final.

The story, which you can read here, outlines that albinos in Nigeria have appealed to educations authorities to exempt them from wearing school uniforms as it can cause health problems. They have said they have been made to expose their bodies to direct sun ray, at the insistence of the authorities, and this makes them vulnerable to skin cancer.

Clearly a serious matter and one that underlines an important aspect of clothing. All wearer's needs can be different and that while the majority may be happy enough with a certain style, look or design, sometimes it can be the minority, in any form, from which the most important objections or debates come.

New issue out now

The November issue of Company Clothing is out now and so should be with you shortly if it hasn't already arrived. As it's the last issue before the Christmas break we hope you enjoy the many and varied features we have in this months issue, including a look at some of the issues around body armour, Royal Mail's new uniform, an in-depth look at the new Emirates' Airlines new uniform and more details on our awards. What more could you want?!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Election day

So today is the day. The American Election is upon us. What the outcome will be seems decided (if the polls are correct), what the will hold though is unknown. But even among all this there are stories about clothing tucked away behind the more heavy-hitting articles on foreign policy and economic policies.

The story
concerns a woman who went to vote and was told she couldn't because she was wearing 'a campaign t-shirt'. Except the t-shirt was only a souvenir t-shirt she had bought when on holiday in Alaska. American voting law, in some states, forbids the wearing of clothing that is of a direct campaigning nature or shows the candidate images, and a polling official believed the reference to Alaska to be of a serious enough level to ban her from voting.

Eventually she got to cast her vote after some good conflict management resolution by the polling officer in overall charge, which is the main thing.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Skin deep

Okay so it's not quite clothing, but this story is a fun example of the creative way in which it people can be made to look like their wearing clothing.It's not too dissimilar to the classic Pink Floyd poster - that you can see here.

Still, fun as this looks, perhaps it would better to stick with real clothing and leave this kind of thing to the, er, professionals?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Spooky goings on

First off – Happy Halloween! Secondly, Happy ‘Dare to wear it pink day’! The Company Clothing offices are, for one day only, a sea of pink ties, shirts, jackets, and even earmuffs, all in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. An office of people wearing pink…something Halloween-ish about that.

It’s all go today: First up we’ve a story about people trying to break the ‘World Record for most amount of Thriller Zombies’. And they say Guinness World Records are meaningless!

Secondly we’ve the story that another clothing related world record has tumbled, fallen, been smashed…for dressing up as computer game characters! An impressive 342 people dressed as legendary characters such as Solid Snake, Zelda and Mario…no, neither do we.

While these may be somewhat odd records to break, it does go to show that people do like dressing up in funny clothes whatever the reason. So come on, confession time. What’s your favourite fancy dress get up? Pirates? Vikings? Ghostbusters? Let us know - you can always stay anonymous!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The importance of staying green

The importance of ethical and environmental sourcing and trading is something that is frequently covered in Company Clothing and more often than not from a positive angle. However, as we noted back in June in a feature Primark had recently been found to still be using factories that were operating unethical working conditions.

As a result of the story – for which journalist Dan McDougall has been nominated for Private Eye’s Paul Food Award for campaigning journalism – Primark has been voted the least ethical clothing retailer in a survey of shoppers carried out by The Times.

It certainly underlines the necessity of following through ethical and environmental practices, especially as it is still an issue that shoppers still deem to be important. Can Primark ever shake this view now? How can they go about improving their reputation? What could our industry teach the high-street about the benefits of ethical and environmental business practices?

Monday, 27 October 2008

The gloves are off

A few months ago we covered the topic of disposable gloves and the fact that they can cause skin irritations for certain people, making them unwearable. Well a story in today’s Metro - you’ve got to read something to pass the time on the tube – highlights a real life example of this.

The poor chap in question was a chef who first discovered he was allergic to water – ouch – but then when he took to wearing latex gloves to overcome this… discovered he was also allergic to them as well! Talk about bad luck.

As we covered in our article, this is still a concern for some people and work is constantly being undertaken to try and develop gloves that won’t cause these problems. However, the final quote in the story, by Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists, outlines that information about the condition was limited, saying 'we do not yet fully understand the precise mechanisms that cause the reaction.’

On display

A nice article here on the BBC Magazine section of their website about the increasing fashion trend of wearing clothing that reveals a little bit of underwear.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The devil wears a $150,000 wardrobe

It’s far to say whatever the outcome of the American presidential elections the name Sarah Palin will live on long after the party is over and the banners have been taken down at either the Democrat’s or Republican’s victory parades.

Certainly for the shopkeepers of America she will be remembered – after the news on the BBC website that a staggering $150,000 (£92,000) has been spent by the Republican National Committee on fitting the Alaskan governor out with a new wardrobe – some wardrobe!

More used to being dressed in furs and hunting gear, one imagines, she was given the makeover after she was announced as John McCain’s running mate and they thought she needed some new outfits.

Is this right? In an economic climate as unsure as ours, should politicians be fitted out in such a lavish amount of clothing? Does it really make a difference anyway towards the final vote? What do you think?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Off with their heads

The Queen is off on another holiday (of sorts) this time visiting the people of Slovenia. However, her arrival has caused an unexpected problem – a chronic shortage of white ties and tails. As reported in today’s Metro, guests for the party in honour of the Queen’s visit have been forced to travel across borders in order to try and get hold of this elusive items.

'We don't have events like this very often, so who knows where to get all these complicated clothes? People here don't have these kind of things sitting in their wardrobes’ said one guest, showing a distinct lack of gratitude…

Still I’m sure a few Company Clothing readers do have these white ties and tails in their wardrobes and are no doubt looking forward to dusting them off for the Company Clothing Industry Awards in March.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Asda overtakes Primark

It has been announced today that Asda has overtaken Primark as the second largest clothing supplier by volume, their figures rising by 6%, to give them a market share of 9.5% while Primark's dropped from 10% to 9.3%. Marks & Spencer maintained the top spot.

The story in The Times also notes, ‘Asda recently sold about 100,000 units of a new £15 winter black coat in less than a fortnight. A £16 copy of a prom dress worn by a star of High School Musical 3 has sold out before hitting the shelves after 20,000 pre-orders'.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Badge of honour?

The US Army has again come under fire for its decision-making – but this time in an entirely clothing related capacity. In June 2007 the Army licensed out the logo for the 1st Infantry Division so that it could be used on clothing.

This move has upset several former soldiers who served on the Division – one of the Divisions who were involved in the Normandy landings – who don’t believe the insignia should be commercialized in such a way and say it undermines the sacrifices made by those who lived and died while fighting wearing the insignia.

Clearly these days there is a move towards creating garments that advertise jobs or organisations to tap into consumer desires, but it frequently causes problems too. In Newquay in Cornwall shops selling hoodys with lifeguard emblems and text on them have been criticised for too closely resembling the official clothing.

What do you think? Is it acceptable that the Army's insignia’s can be worn by anyone if the have been licensed, or should some symbols remain unique? Do clothing manufactures have a moral debate to consider when using such logos?

Friday, 17 October 2008

Solar-powered clothing?

It sounds like something from the future but a project to develop solar panels that can be woven into people’s clothing to generate electricity has won research funding from the Federal Government in Australia.

If the research were to prove fruitful thing of the problem it could solve! People out and about working and walking could store the energy and then use it to power their homes – saving money and keeping fit – the perfect situation! Whether or not it becomes a reality any time soon is of course another matter, but it’s interesting, and encouraging to note, there are people out there working on these issues, and can rely on funding from the highest levels.

Of course in Britain we’d more likely need something that took wind-power or rain to generate electricity – although the weather has been unseasonably warm lately…

What do you think – is this the future, or just some hair-brained scheme like hoverboards and robot butlers?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Clothing cross-breeding

Here is a rather bizarre piece of footwear - flippers that are also high-heels. Called the 'High Tide Heels' they are meant to be a comical comment on climate change and rising sea levels, according to the report in today's Metro.

Would you wear a pair?

Monday, 13 October 2008

Interactive T-shirts

Technology is wonderful and often incredibly useful. Othertimes it's just fine to use it to make cool stuff though. This is one of those times. These t-shirts, actually change their pattern depending on various things. The one pictured is a music equaliser that reacts to the volume of the music as a normal equaliser bar would.

Another picks up wi-fi signals in the area and changes its display as to the strength of that signal. Pretty groovy and just shows what the humble T-shirt can be used for with a little imagination.

So come on. What other technological innovations could a t-shirt use?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

How not to kit out a team

French rugby team Stade Francais have been making headlines for their new kit, but not for the right reasons. As you can see from the image on the right it has certain hint of Andy Warhol about it.

Perhaps to give the designers some slack the BBC have plundered the photo galleries and found some other classic designs from the past - you can view the gallery here. Special credit to number 9.

Is a team kit meant to inspire fear in your opposition? Or build a good sense of teamwork and community? What is the best colour for success? New Zealand's black kit has a classic ruthlessness to it, but then they always falter at the end. England's white kit probably causes headaches for the people who have to wash it, but they seem to do alright, despite wearing a colour more synonymous with surrender than vicious tackling.

It would be some interesting research to carry out - see which colours result in the most wins / trophies etc. Manchester Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool have been three of the most successful English teams of the last 20 years and all wear red. Often a colour associated with agression...

Then there is Brazil in yellow. Argentina in blue and white stripes. Perhaps there is no science to it at all. What do you think?

Music in your clothes

Here's a nifty piece of clothing that combines modern needs with simple style. A coat designed specifically for the carrying of Ipods. You can see the controls that link to the device on the right hand sleeve of the picture (as you look at it).

With so many people 'plugged' in to their music devices these days it's not surprising there is a market for garments which can accommodate the devices in the most efficient, simple ways, so users can get the most out of them.

What other devices could clothing be accommodating in the future? Answers on a postcard! Alternatively, and quicker, use the comments button below!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Lyrics to be put on T-shirts

EMI and Sainsbury's have struck a deal to allow Sainsbury's clothing bran 'Tu Clothing' to publish the lyrics to famous songs such as Wild Thing by The Troggs.

Jonathan Channon, executive vice president for EMI, said: "Classic songs are part of the fabric of everybody's lives, and we’re delighted that people will now be able to wear their favourite songs through this deal." Very witty.

You could take this supermarket / clothing selling further. They could print the lyrics to Jean Genie on jeans, or maybe sell berets next to the raspberrys. Any more offerings readers?

Monday, 6 October 2008


TK Maxx has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons this weekend, after it was discovered they have been stocking jackets with knives inside them. While most clothing comes complete with functions built in to protect the wearer, be that for warmth, comfort or security, this jacket is doing something quite different. TK Maxx have since removed all the jackets from the stores. Furthermore, on Saturday it was reported that they had also had to withdraw 'Sword Sticks' which were discovered in the store.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Dressing Up

An interesting article here on the BBC Magazine section about what the clothes parents make their children wear say about them. The idea of dressing children in the same clothes, to create a 'uniform' that helps them form a bond and create a sense of identity, is not so differnet from how uniforms in the workplace are supposed to function.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Stitched up

A very unusual story here. An 89-year-old woman has been sentenced to knit jumpers after she was found guilty of slashing car tyres! Apparently she will knit jumpers for all the people whose tyres she slashed. 'When she's knitted the sweaters, then the matter will be over for us,' said prosecution spokesman Helmut Bleh. Well the winter is on its way...

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

TV Matters

The BBC are showing a new season of fashion based programmes this Autumn that certainly look well worth catching.

Skirting the issue

A women's Dutch football team have caused something of a stir with their new kit which some have claimed more closely resembles a skirt, rather than shorts.

It's an interesting question though. Why shouldn't female football players be able to wear a skirt if they wish? If the garment is suitable for wear and doesn't hinder their movement then it's surely as acceptable as shorts? The club chairman of the teams insists this shift from shorts to skirts is no publicity gimmick and that his players genuinely prefer the skirts.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Kilts: the long and the short of it

As readers of Company Clothing will know, in our September issue we featured the Blaklader High-Vis Kilt - you can see a PDF of the page here. To follow up we decided to take to the streets and find out what the general public made of this unique workwear garment - we had some interesting reactions! You can read them in October's issue of the magazine, out soon.

In the mean time it seems that we are not the only ones to get opinions on kilts. The BBC website has reported that some of Scotland's leading kilt manufacturers are meeting in Perth to discuss what is, and what is not, a genuine Scottish Kilt.

Kilt-maker Ruthven Milne is quoted in the story as saying: "A kilt is a traditional garment, not a fashion garment." Yet as our story has shown, the kilt is, like any garment, potentially the subject of fashion's eye - in this case being re-interpreted as a high-vis workwear garment.

So what do you think? What makes a kilt a kilt? Does changing it to a workwear garment cause it lose its heritage, or does it reinvigorate it and bring it up-to-date while helping to preserve it? Let us know using the comments button below...


Welcome to the first post of the brand new Company Clothing blog!

This blog aims to be a fun, sideways but informative and thoughtful look at the fast-moving and ever changing world of fashion.

Everyday stories crop up in the news that underline the fascinating world of textiles, fabrics, garments and trends, and the traditions, triumphs and difficulties that can arise. With this blog we are able to bring you an instant, frequently updated, series of interesting links, ideas and opinions.

The best part is you can interact, discuss, comment and even disagree with us and help generate interesting, lively and hopefully enjoyable debate among your fellow readers.