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?