Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On being REAL...

Just this past weekend, I attended a wedding (reason for the dress in my recent post) where the above passage was read to my friend, the (mature) bride by her mother. Total tearjerker! 

At the reception, I talked to a Silicon Valley professional tech-savvy person (another close childhood friend's husband), and asked him "So, what is it that you ACTUALLY do?"  His patient reply gave me serious food for thought.

"Well, in a nutshell," he said, smiling, "people hire me to make  jobs go away." (He's a systems engineer)

He went on to explain that ANY job a person currently does that can be done by a computer, or automated in some way, eventually will be.  People will be replaced wherever they can, and that's where the future is headed. Hmmm... So what can go away?  What can't?

The things/functions that are currently done as jobs by human beings, which can be broken down into facts/stats/data and analyzed will go away.

"But what about creative professions, and the things you can't measure?" I asked, confidently.  After some really engaging conversation, I offered the example of clothing design.

Well, here's the thing.  There's the practical side of things...  We all understand the purposes of a basic t-shirt.  Versatility, color, fit, softness, and durability are all considerations, but, frankly, a computer program can analyze your preferences and suggest a t-shirt for you to buy that will likely be better than anything you might have chosen or described on your own. Technology is already proving that. Now, we can't quite account for things we haven't yet seen, innovations, and functions/features we haven't yet thought of, but the foundation has already been laid.

So what's left? Well, tech jobs, for sure.  Did you know that English is the primary language of 75% of internet users? Also, the things computers can't do, like sort through trash to find things of value. Problem is, the types of jobs you NEED people to do are generally also the lowest paying. Then, there are things that HAVE to be felt, lived, experienced in person.  In real life. For me personally, that is the tactile experience of making things with my own hands, and the things and feelings that effort creates, for myself and for others.

Sure these thoughts had occurred to me before my conversation at the wedding, but I really look at my clothes in a deeper way now.  Too much in my closets and drawers, I only want to own what makes a difference, and multi-season wear is vital. I am starting to genuinely dislike and eschew excess, and among my friends and family, the rejection of excess seems to be a growing trend.  Not only that, when you consider your purchases more carefully, what you are willing to spend changes, with quality and beauty becoming your focus.  This way of thinking, I feel, is more respectful of the marketplace, of yourself as a consumer, and of the enterprise or individual maker (especially if that person is yourself!), as a business.  I also no longer expect, require or seek anyone else's approval or permission to create or wear anything of my own choosing!  Maybe I'm just a grownup now.  Who knows?

I look in the mirror now and see the person I am, not anyone else's idea of who I am or should be. REAL. Some grey hair, a little extra weight/softness here and there, some wear and tear... but not too shabby (grin)...

Versatility, uniqueness, beauty, comfort, practicality, ease of wear and laundering have all become primary considerations for my clothing now.  The things that don't meet the requirements can go to charity.

In this deep thinking mode, I looked online for a TED talk or something similar, to help me process the abrupt quicksandish-seasick feeling that conversation left me with - but I saw nothing that jazzed me enough to watch.  It all feels ego-driven, feel-good, "you're the greatest!", when what I wanted, was something else ... something real. 

So I fired up my sewing machine. 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

As I work...

Making a dress... thinking, planning, cutting, fretting... I happened upon this on Netflix streaming...

A delightful watch so far...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Writing (which is what a writer should do)

The boot-strappy resilience and tenacity of this man is wonderful.  See my earlier post on my meeting with him, where we discuss the future, past and present "garment center" and his work, in particular.

Friday, March 17, 2017

10 Surefire ways to Maintain your (or someone else's) Faboulosity (I don't pretend to have original thoughts, BTW...)

Let's say you are attending Fashion Week events, or just need to look drop-dead fabulous for your own reasons...

Eva Gabor - from my father's collection of TWA publicity photos... many years ago.

*Update to an old post from 2014

You'll need some supplies to maintain your gorgeousness, won't you?

Today, I read another fall-down funny post on Man Repeller, and while I do not possess her brilliant comedy writing skills, I do know a thing or two about fashion/prop life kits, and feel a desperate need to elaborate on the subject. Having worked in live theater, TV, movies, and worst-of-all... weddings, I've got information to share, based on personal experience.  A very experienced person will know these things already, but some of us need a little help.

Here are some things you will absolutely need:

Stains?  Yeah, I see your Tide-to-Go Stick and I'll raise you a mighty Mme Paulette Stain Removal Kit.  The famous dry cleaner has certainly saved many garments for me over the years, and a few ties for my husband! I once wore an expensive sea foam green silk ensemble to a wedding where Chinese food was served, and... well, you know the rest... That experience led me to this product, and I just keep extras on hand now. When you can't just ask for club soda, and you know your ensemble is dry clean only, nothing beats it!

Thread clippers/Scissors, 'cause you know you'll end up needing them to trim those getaway threads and/or store tags you forgot to clip before leaving home.  Portable, with a protective cap or sleeve is best.  Small and non-threatening, let's avoid getting them confiscated by security, wherever you'll be.

Lambs wool padding for shoes that hurt! Beloved comfort for ballet dancers on pointe, this wonderful, soft padding will cushion sore areas, and help make life more bearable!

Double-stick body tape/ fashion tape.  Too late to lift those babies up now... I'm just trying to keep your dress closed, and your lining hem from being exposed!

A stapler (or an equivalent) Seriously. I know no one would recommend this under normal circumstances, but can I just tell you... there are some things only a stapler will do.  Believe me on this one.  (Paper clips come in a close second.) Don't believe me? I've got a couple of A-list stars whose situations I've saved that you could actually ask.  They'll remember!

A portable steamer.  For events where you have a place to put it.  It would be kinda crazy to lug one around just for yourself.

A lint-roller.  Because you have a cat.  Because you have a dog.  Because you have a fuzzy carpet/sofa or occasional wild trysts in the coat closet... That's none of my business, though.

I must disagree with Man Repeller on the deodorant suggestion, though.  What you need if you're already out, is a way to prevent the sticky situation, or a way to clean up.  A stack of Stridex pads and/or deodorant wipes can cure just about anything, really.  That's all you need.  After all, you took a shower, right?

A sewing kit.  Whatever ripped or split, just disappear into the ladies' lounge or some quiet area and fix it, if you can.  People around you will be impressed that you can do this on the go.  Good conversation starter. (comes with black safety pins!)

Granola/trail mix/and the most delicious, refreshing beverage ever (depends on your particular favorites, but what I've linked to are garment district specific) - or simplified, a great portable snack that carries you through when you're hungry, and something to wash it down with. Use a straw, just to be safe. Do that, and you're good.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

We spoke. We eased.

Yesterday, despite the miserable weather in the morning, I led our intimate scheduled Speakeasy as planned.  As always, we all "ooohed" and "aaaahed" the day away, jumping in and out of several carefully curated garment district stores.  There were just a few of us, but we had an excellent rapport, and it made the experience more curated to individual tastes than is otherwise possible with a larger group.

at B&J Fabrics...

At Mood...

At Mood...

So, what did we do?  We talked fabrics, looked at fabrics, notions, and projects.  I nudged, nodded, and encouraged/discouraged purchases based on other things we had yet to see and experience. We asked questions, absorbed, and had a wonderful, warm meal that left us all peacefully satisfied with our day, and happy to have experienced it.

Doggone it, I'm still swooning over some fabric I wanted so badly to buy... and I think I'm just gonna have to bite the bullet and do it... Darn it.  Fabric shopping is horribly addictive...

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond... An exhibit at the Museum at FIT

Gilbert Adrian (1903-1959) built his career as a costume designer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he worked on more than 250 films, including The Wizard of Oz.

I could say more, but really, do you need to know any more than that before coming to see this one?

The recently opened Adrian exhibit is easy to miss, if you aren't looking for it.  Tucked to the side, in the gallery space to the right of the main space, a narrow hallway gives no hint of the beauty it holds until you enter and gaze at the walls.  And seriously, this exhibit is special.  It offers technical (construction, technique and materials) information, as well as beautiful examples of his well-designed garments. This concise presentation is the epitome of a curated complete thought.  This is the kind of presentation the thinking designer could absolutely devour, and a visual explorer would enjoy.

caught my own reflection in the glass there... spooky...

Details on grain lines and technique hangs beside the jacket...

Printed pamphlets explain techniques and methods used...

The literature accompanying this exhibit are very informative and truly expand on the simple appreciation of the garments.

"While best remembered for his tailored daytime looks, Adrian was also a skillful and inventive draper. He used his technique in both his film and fashion work to create glamorous evening gowns."

Can't get here? The exhibition website allows a virtual visit with additional information and a body of work that is sure to amaze and overwhelm you. 

Truemart - Where'd ya go?

Remember Truemart?  I've talked about them on this blog.  I walked past the store's normal location today, and saw this...

Where'd they go?

Just right around the corner, apparently!  Neatly organized and safely navigable inside, the new space holds less inventory, for sure, but still fun for the bargain shopper.

A pile of DEEPLY discounted rolls stand in bins outside...

Truemart Discount Fabrics
120 West 25th Street

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Garment District Rezoning

Not to go all "Chicken Little" on ya, but the bell is tolling...  As early as April, the real estate/leasing door will be opened much wider to other types of businesses in what will one day be formerly known as The Garment District.

Sharing an article articulating just what is going on right now...