Friday, 30 January 2009

Religious fashion

It's not often the religious attire is scrutinised - or at least, not openly - however, don't think they're not a fashionable crowd, looking to update their image and bring in some new designs. As this report shows members of the clergy recently held their own fashion show, with garments from top designers like Hemingway...that's Juliet Hemingway...including hot new items like socks embossed with the holy lamb, and a chasuble (pictured).

Feeling animated

Company Clothing was as sad as anyone to hear of the death of Tony Hart (and John Updike, and John Martyn), but was cheered up this morning when we read that Morph, the cheeky animated creature so beloved of children and adults alike from Tony Hart's show, is to be honoured with his very own fashion shoot.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

All change

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last year you'll know there's a new guy at the White House, and he's rather popular. As the 'new guy' everything Obama is doing is undergoing close scrutiny, particularly in reference to how Dubya did it before.

This is a fascinating article from the New York Times looking at how dress codes have changed in the space of a few days. Where once jackets and ties were a must in the Oval Office, now a more laid-back, casual approach is allowed - partly because the Hawaiian-born Obama has the heat turned up higher than Bush did.

Not only that, it's now a casual Saturday at the White House too. It must be strange for the staff, having to suddenly reconsider their wardrobe. Where once a suit was the one and only, now there is suddenly a choice - or change if you will - in what they can wear.

Would you want that? If a new boss suddenly said you could wear what you like? Or does the staple suit-and-tie mean you can get up safe in the knowledge you don't have to think about what to wear - beyond what will match and what won't? Let us know below.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Changing colours

Fabrics that change colour - sounds pretty cool eh? One American company has moved into this market with aplomb and four years from their inception are starting to make waves with their garments.

Their catalogue includes T-shirts that glow for up to eight hours, hoodies that sprout designs when exposed to cold, and could add bikinis that change color in water - the mind boggles.

The company made the jump from glowing necklaces to color-changing fabrics and they now work with a variety of clients, including Sears, Kmart, and Honda, according to Clayton, vice president.

'People have a big fascination with things they don't comprehend.' Karl Clayton said. 'Touching a piece of fabric that instantly changes color always results in a "wow."'

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Space is cool

The news Red Dwarf is to return is certainly welcome - life on planet Earth sure is tiresome right now, what with recessions this and global warming that. What could be better than a bit of escapism in outerspace - although the synopsis for the show is that they do make it back to earth...doh!

However, it does show that space is cool (again). We knew this was the case already though, what with our Design Innovation Challenge that asked people to come up with new uniforms for crew in the new Star Trek film. On March 12 the winners of this, and all the other categories, will be announced at the lavish surroundings of the Park Lane Hotel - you can buy tickets here.

Keep an eye on your postbox because shortly the latest issue will be arriving which contains not only a special supplement with information on all the shortlisted entries to the awards, but also images of the entries to the Design Innovation Challenge (they are definitely worth seeing) and also news of our fabulous, top-notch celebrity hostess for the this space!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Footwear stores bitten by Crunch

The next issue of Company Clothing features an overview of some new footwear products available on the market and underlines the innovation and drive of this area. However, the news coming from the high-street is not so good with the announcement that both Barratts footwear and Priceless have gone into administration.

Poll Results:

We asked you: Do you wear Hawaiian shirts? The results were:

Yes, it's all I own - 14%
Never, don't you know who I am? 28%
Only if I was in Hawaii, sipping a cocktail, playing the ukulele would you get me in one of those. 42%
It's a leftover from a party. 14%

So, it seems, you're not fans.

In other news the technical blight which hampered our efforts to bring you blog posts last week looks to be over, so now you can check back daily for your Company Clothing blog fix.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Friday fun (and an apology)

First of all, sorry for yesterday disappearance, and today's late show: we've been affected by some interweb issues making the blog off limits. We're back now though, with a fun, silly story, perfect for the last hour of a Friday.

An 84-year-old women has been knitting hundreds of woolly breasts that pregnant women can use to practice breastfeeding. It all came about when her daughter went to her birthing classes: "I went to a breast feeding training course and was told about how these things are useful but that they were difficult to get because the pattern is hard to do.My mum is good at knitting so I gave her the pattern and she was able to do it. It has just built up from there."

What a nice story. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

2 cents worth

So yesterday was pretty historic then. What little opinion we would add merely concerns the clothing on display, which understandably, was smart, upstanding, and very respectable - which is as it should be. Doesn't Obama look good though in his suits. Our statesmen, while never looking bad, rarely look good in them like he does. But perhaps we're all just peering through a haze of misty-eyed optimism that will soon dry up.

For a fantastic satellite image of the crowds from yesterday, click here. Trust us, it's worth it.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Fashion fighting

Fashion designers are often portrayed, in lazy Hollywood movies mostly, as highly-strung, fiery artiste types, who demand perfection from everything and everyone, darling. Well, a spat between Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, has done little to dispel this image. Claiming that Dolce & Gabbana had 'copied' his design for a pair of trousers, Armani said, 'Now they copy, later they will learn.'

Of course such an affront to their talent could only be met with a deliciously witty barb and so D&G's rapier reply was thus: 'For sure we have much to learn - but certainly not from him.' Ouch! It continued: 'Armani has never been a source of inspiration for us and we stopped seeing his shows years ago.' Well meow...However, they really were saving the best for last: 'As Picasso used to say - copying from others is inevitable but copying from oneself leads to sterility.'

Quoting Picasso to discredit an accusation of copying - that's your flair and thunder artiste genius on show.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Feet of the seats

How many times do you see those posters telling you not to put your feet on the seats on public transport? Quite right too. But what if your feet are the seats. Or to put it more accurately, you're wearing shoes that have the design of the tube's seats as their pattern.

That's the potentially mind-boggling situation that could occur should you choose to wear a pair of these shoes. There's a pattern from each line - Victoria, Piccadilly, Metropolitan - and so forth, and the gallery section of their website shows how the shoes are made.

We were hoping to end this blog entry with a funny pun on a tube station that had a reference to footwear but the nearest to any form of reference on the underground we could come up with was Archway - which is pretty poor. So we decided against it.

Friday, 16 January 2009

A universal truth

Pride and Prejudice has become a mainstay of the British public conscious, possible in part due to that scene in the BBC's adaptation many moons ago. The story certainly inspired one couple who married in the very same clothes that were used in the BBC series - with the groom even being introduced as Mr Darcy. If you had to get married as fictional character who would you choose. Homer and Marge Simpson? Victor and Margaret Meldrew?

Thursday, 15 January 2009

It's a scarf, no it's a dress, no it's a...

Multi-functional garments are always popular - they save you wadedrobe space, can be adapted for the situation, and just seem cool. This one - the scarf that also be used as a dress - is a great example of just how far these inventions can go. It's called, The Magic Scarf. Catchy.

As the image on the right shows, it's so versatile it can be used as a dress or a muff. And don't worry if you don't like the colour, it comes in 100 different options. Phew.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Dogs in clothes - cute or cruel?

The animal kingdom now. Dogs in clothing is not a rare sight - in fact we've covered it before with Hattie the High-Vis dog - but the RSPCA has reminded people that dressing dogs in clothing could constitute cruelty. There is a huge market of clothing for dogs out there and many people love their pets to a degree where they do indeed take advantage of these clothes to dote on their pet - but is it cruel?

Lynn Williams, founder of dog charity Happy Dogs is quoted in the story and said: 'People love their pets and the retail trade has latched on to that. To see a little dog dressed up in boots, I think, is a little over the top. I have an extreme love of the dog, but I don't like to see them dressed up as little human beings. I don't think they like it either. It's unnatural.'

This seems a farily considered outline of the debate but what do you think? Should we dress animals in clothing - is it just a bit of fun or should it be condoned?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Kilt pride

We've blogged about kilts before and they've once again come on to our radar with the story that a man from Halesowen has designed two brand new plaid patterns for Halesowen and the Black Country to show his pride for his place of birth.

Far from just being a garment worn by the Scottish they can be found as far south as Cornwall or, as the story shows, in the midlands, and the fact people choose to show their pride for somewhere through their clothing is another reminder of why the right look is so important.

Monday, 12 January 2009

No pants on the underground

Would you go outside and use public transport not wearing any trousers? No? Of course not. At any time that would be ludicrous but especially at the moment considering the cold out there!

But consider the fact that this weekend hundreds of people across the globe, from New York to Warsaw to Sydney, spent the weekend travelling on underground systems not wearing any trousers - or 'pants' to explain the Americanisation of our headline.

Why? Well, just for a laugh really. Some laugh! The rules say you can't acknowledge you are taking part in an official event and that you have to make up an excuse as to why you have no trousers on - 'no clean pair', 'laundry day' - if anyone asks. All very strange.

Still, it does underline the fact people love to experiment with clothing and society's expected codes by subverting the norm for their own amusement...well a bit of philosophising on a Monday afternoon never hurt anyone.

Sweat shops in the UK?

Primark has once again made the news for all the wrong reasons - this time after claims were made that it has been selling knitwear made by a company called TNS Knitwear based in Manchester whose workers earn just £3 per hour working in conditions resembling a sweatshop.

TNS Knitwear have denied the allegations and Primark is looking into the claims and while it does so has agreed to remove all references to its commitment to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).

Whether the allegations are true or not the story underlines the difficulties of knowing what the reality is between what the label says and what the truth really is. Stories like this not only damage the industry at large but undermine efforts made by genuine, often far smaller companies, to encourage consumers to spend money on clothing that was made by workers being paid a fair wage working in suitable conditions.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Drowning in pink?

The BBC Magazine section published an interesting article yesterday on the pros and cons of promoting pink as the colour for girls. Also worth noting is that at the start of the 1900s, the prevailing thought was that pink should be for boys, and blue should be for girls:

The Women's Journal explained it thus: "That pink being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."

DressMaker magazine agreed. "The preferred colour to dress young boys in is pink. Blue is reserved for girls as it is considered paler, and the more dainty of the two colours, and pink is thought to be stronger (akin to red)." Taken from the article.

Interesting how fashion changes. Any thoughts?

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Credit Crunch claims another

Womenswear outfit Viyella has become the latest company forced to call in administrators after suffering at the hands of the big crunch. However, as the news story says, they are hopeful new owners will be found for the business.

In other economic news Sainsbury's posted positive growth figures, which included sales of its clothing range Tu, that now owns a 2.3% share of clothing sales in the UK, placing it eighth in the rankings by volume.

Simply Red

Virgin has chosen to celebrate 25 years in the biz by highlighting the impact they made to the world of air travel in their eye-catching red uniforms. Try here if your youtube is blocked.

The ad, which features 80s references a-plenty - miner's strikes on the front pages, massive mobile phones, Wimpy bars, and soundtracked by seminal hit 'Relax' - underline the impact a distinctive, eye-catching uniform can make. Indeed the other air hostesses in the advert are portrayed wearing drab, grey outfits that are completely outshone by their rival's red ensemble.

As we found when we covered the new Emirate Airlines uniform design and rollout, airline uniforms are a fundamental part of brand image and Virgin clearly know this, using theirs as the focal point for this ad campaign.

What are your favourite memories of 1980s nostalgia - clothing or otherwise?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Suits you, madam

The Credit Crunch has outstayed its welcome don't you think? It should move on now and let us all get back to normal. However, while it continues to hang around, ASDA have decided to capitialise by producing a women's business suit that costs just £20.

No doubt high-profile tailors, from all sectors, will be rolling their eyes, saying you can't get a good, proper suit, for such low money. But if people are strapped for cash it's going to be a popular choice you would imagine.

However, as we often cover in the magazine, it is important to know where such garments come from, how they are made, by who and under what conditions. Only last year Primark were found to be sourcing clothes from a company that was employing child workers and have since ended their business with them. It is probably fair to assume ASDA are producing these garments ethically but when the cost is as low as £20 for an entire suit, it's not unfair to raise the issue.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Hawaii (shirt inventor) dyed, oh

Over the Christmas it's fair to assume you may have missed the news that the inventor the Hawaiian shirt died. His name was Alfred Shaheen and he was the ripe old age of 86. His legacy will live on for even longer though as the Hawaiian shirt is one of those garments that never really goes out of fashion - perhaps because it's never in fashion?

Regardless, in honour of the man and his fantastic design, the latest Company Clothing blog poll concerns the ownership of Hawaiian shirts. It's anonymous, so you can tell the truth, without fear of reprisals. Or you can proclaim your love of the garment to the world and his dog (blog?) in the comments section below. The choice is yours.

Morris dancing for extinction?

The news that Morris dancers fear their dance could become 'extinct' because people are too embarrassed to take it up is a sad one. However, surely only the most ardent Morris dancer could deny that it might be because their outfit is a bit, well, ridiculous.

There's nothing wrong with that in principal of course, and in fact at some stages in history it was probably something fancy and outlandish. But now it is a bizarre mix of bells and braces and you can understand why some people may be reluctant.

Perhaps all it needs is a bit of a revamp, an update of sorts. Incorporate a hooded element, pockets for Ipods, that sort of thing. What do you think? Is the uniform to blame, or does the dancing have something to do with it as well?

Monday, 5 January 2009

Return of the Work

So here we are, back at the start of the working year. All that festive fun fading fast into the distance and the cold sharp shock of work waking us once again. Still though, it's not so bad - there's only so many film repeats you can watch or chocolates hanging off a tree you can scoff...

The blog returns to regular action today and will do now for many, many months - and don't forget, if you're already looking for an excuse to relive the indulgences of the past few weeks, you can come along to the Company Clothing Industry Awards in March - tickets here.