Monday, 28 September 2009

Suits you sir

Savile row is a name synonymous with fashion and suits. It's world famous, renowned amongst those who see the suit as 'making the man' as the final word in sartorial elegance. But...there's always a but...all is not well on the row.

For, the old guard, who have been there for many years, are not happy with 'interlopers' who they accuse of selling suits under the 'Savile Row' brand, without offering the same level of service or quality. On the back of this they are going as far as setting up an Association which will bestow a 'kitemark' upon those who are regarded as genuine Savile Row tailors, to let discerning suit shoppers tell who will offer them, the genuine experience.

This is the trouble though isn't it - a world where costs are high, margins are tight, and pennies need to be watched will undoubtedly lead to people wanting high-quality products for the cheapest possible price, and if there are companies willing to offer this, there will always be customers to buy. Still, if the new association does its job, at least everyone can be clear who is offering what and after that it's down to the consumer as to where there heads, hearts and wallets lead them.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Uniforms on stamps

The Royal Navy is to have its history of uniforms documented on a new set of six stamps that will feature all manner of uniforms, beginning with the gold-crested frock coat of an Admiral from 1795, through to the high visibility uniform of a 2009 Flight Deck Officer, reports the Daily Telegraph.

They also feature an 1805 Royal Marine, an Able Seaman from 1880, a 1918 Women's Royal Navy Service Officer and a Second World War Captain.

Julietta Edgar, head of special stamps at Royal Mail, said: 'Some of our most significant commemorative issues have highlighted the bravery and sacrifice of the UK's servicemen and women, and they continue to play a key role in the stamps that we issue.'

Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey added: ''These stamps reflect the great history of the senior service and uniquely represent changes in the Royal Navy, from the development of the fleet air arm to the introduction of women at sea. The importance of mail to the morale of our personnel deployed around the world cannot be overstated, and Royal Mail continues to provide us with a terrific service.'

Monday, 21 September 2009

A decision on swimsuits

We've covered swim suits before here, here, here, and even here and now a decision has finally been made by the sports' governing body in the States. Watch a video about it on the BBC site here.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Um Bro, should we stop fighting?

In a little piece of clothing history you may not be aware of Puma and Adidas, two of the biggest sports brands in the world, were formed in spite by two brothers in Germany after a feud between them meant they refused to work together. They set up factories on either side of a river and refused to make up ever since.

The reason for the feud has its origins in the World War II and the moment that triggered the split was an offhand remark that was interpreted badly by the other. It's all faintly comical actually.

Thankfully though sixty years on and the two companies have at last made peace and will be celebrating this event with a football match. Only trouble is though, what if one of the teams win and starts to claim it's because of its superior clothing and football boots, what then? Another rift could be on the cards.

Pictured: Adi Dasler (Adi Das = adidas) in his factory.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Tall tales

The BBC's top story today, ironically enough, is about the world's tallest man visiting London. A massive 2m 47 he is, or 8ft 1". Tall. Top shelf items, not a problem. Lightbulbs? Changed. Stars on Christmas trees? Placed.

Of course, for the chap himself, many things we all take for granted are suddenly made a lot harder. Clothing for instance. He has to have a lot of things specially made, such as his suit and even his bed is designed for him, and comes in at a massive three meters long. Talk about bespoke tailoring!

With his new found world record status though, perhaps the offers of specialist clothing will come flooding in, leaving him with a full wardrobe of clothing to choose from.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Return to the past

A fascinating article on the BBC Website today concerns a fashion designer in India who is calling on Indians to return to clothing made from traditional home spun khadi, rather than indulging in western style clothing.

His reasons, listed in the article, are that, aside from the beauty of the fabric, whose history in India goes back well over 5,000 years, he says he finds it odd that Indian designers tend to steer clear of local hand-woven fabrics and that khadi is refined, sophisticated, eco-friendly and comfortable, and has too long been regarded as the poor man's fabric.

The cyclical nature of fashion means many fashions from the past are being reappreciated so it will be interesting to see what further ideas, from abroad and here in the UK, become part of both the high-street and corporate industry.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Scotland the brave

You can't have failed to notice the recent furor over events in Scotland concerning the Lockerbie bombing and the subsequent fallout. Part of this including people calling on others to boycott Scotland and products associated with them.

Harris Tweed, the famous clothing brand, was reportedly going to tone down its Scottishness, in order to avoid any adverse business arising from this boycott. However, Betty Davies, the Edinburgh-based designer and fashion consultant, said that any strategy downplaying the origins of the fabric would be a “serious mistake” and maintained that the claims could instead be motivated by an attempt to harm the Scottish government, said an article by The Times.

It's an interesting point. Any company or brand that uses its country of origin as a selling point does risk the (admittedly rare) chance the brand could become devalued in the eyes of the population. The Boycott Scotland movement doesn't seem like it will go far, and it would be harsh to subject hard-working people to a boycott over a decision they had no involvement in, but it's been enough of an issue that the company has become involved in the news in this way.

Monday, 14 September 2009

200 not out

Hello! We're very excited here today, *hic*, for you see - oh, slice of cake, don't mind if I do - this is our 200th blog post! Hooray!

A year after we first started and we've covered all manner of topics, gone through a global recession, hosted a star-studded awards, and had a website relaunch. Busy busy!

And blog 201 will be along later today...

Friday, 11 September 2009

Stone Age Clothing

Since human's made clothes, they liked fashion. Who doesn't like looking good? From the ice age to the dole age (thanks Morrissey) we humans have been fickle folks when it comes to colours, shades and lines, and now we have the proof to prove it. Sort of.

Archaeologists have uncovered a haul of pink, turquoise and black fibres that were used to make thread more than 34,000 years ago in caves the hills of the Republic of Georgia. Pink and turquoise? Hmm, suspect cavemen fashion. Then again, I guess if they saw some of the things we wear, they'd be a little shocked.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Let me introduce to you...

The Beatles! Marvellous band. So says, well, everyone. In fact, in honour of the launch of these remastered albums and The Beatles: Rockband, we thought it would be fun to look at some of the fantastic outfits worn by the fab four.

There were the suits from the pop period - a look that has been copied many times over by earnest boybands.

The awesome military style suits from the Sgt Peppers period.

The dark and brooding look - arty.

The Abbey Road ensemble; complete with undertaker's suit.

What do you think? Any Beatles memories or clothing thoughts? Share the love...

Monday, 7 September 2009

If the shoe fits...

Buying shoes is a love it or hate it event. Mostly, cliches in use, women love it and men hate it. But of course, life is far more multi-layered than that. However, an interesting survey of some 2,000 people has shown that around four out of 10 women often buy shoes in the wrong size, and 17 percent of men do as well.

Quoted in the article Lorraine Jones, from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, said: "Many of us find it hard to resist a bargain and the latest fashion must-have, but it's important to remember that by buying ill-fitting shoes, you're not only going to end up in discomfort, but you are also putting your health at risk."

Sample comments, justifying wearing ill-fitting shoes, include this piece of honesty: "Yes, I have worn shoes that hurt, just because they were beautiful. Gorgeous shoes make you feel better, complete an outfit and give you a special "buzz". It is only afterwards that your feet hurt - badly."
Wildmint, Liverpool

Shoes for a night out are one thing though, but at work good fitting shoes are surely a necessity to help people do their jobs correctly and stay comfortable throughout the day. Particularly important if you work in a shoe shop as well.

Friday, 4 September 2009

It's a tie (or is it)

A fascinating article on the BBC Magazine website today about the ways in which school pupils undermine the wearing of a tie by coming up with weird and wonderful ways to make them look rebellious and, er, cool.

But, as you'd expect, teachers are not happy. Quoted in the article a principal called Ruth Harker at Shenley Court Academy in the West Midlands says that they they have made the decision to switch to clip-on ties. She said, "It is basically to ensure consistency in the way the ties were tied. It is also to try and avoid this half tied look."

Kids eh! What do you think? Willful defiance or just kids being kids?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

A hot suit

Government ministers in Bangladesh have been told, nay, ordered to stop wearing suits to work in an effort to save energy. Due to the heat of the country many offices run air-conditioners all day long, causing mass energy use and often power outages too.

To combat this dress codes have been re-written so government workers may wear just shirts and trousers, and the shirts can be worn untucked. Businesses across the country will be asked to consider implementing similar dress codes to help save energy too.

An interesting development no? Someone Company Clothing knows was most perturbed to be told by his employee that wearing shorts in to work - even on the hottest day(s) of summer - was not acceptable, despite not being a customer facing worker. Perhaps he should move to Bangladesh?

What do you think? A wise move? Would you be happy for staff to wear shorts or untucked shirts if it helped save energy, or does it remove a layer of professionalism that the suit brings? Let us know below!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Suit Rock

News today has revealed the leader singer of popular youth band Maximo Park has his own tailor to make sure the designs of his suits are able to withstand his energetic leaping around on stage.

Paul Smith (the singer - not the designer), said, "He's really good at adapting to my needs because I jump around quite a lot - there's certain places on my outfit where there's some stretchier little knots and fabric."

Paul said he uses the outfits to stand out at heavier festival so crowds remember the band:"We've played at heavy metal festivals in Slovakia where nobody knew who we were, and I am wearing a white suit and a white hat trying to deliberately stand out."

He should just be thankful he's not Patrick Wolf whose cape (yes, cape) has gone missing, and he wants it back. These rock stars eh?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Underground thoughts

A lovely little piece of art and journalism we stumbled across on the weekend was this series of interviews with London Underground staff, to 'put a face to the people behind the stations'. A clever concept and nicely carried out too, and one interesting thing to note was the fact that each member of staff interviewed was asked about their uniform.

The responses seem to focus on the negative aspects 'Don't like the trousers - unflattering', or 'least favourite uniform item is the shoes', which is interesting to hear, but perhaps it would be nice to hear about their favourite items too and what they like about wearing the uniform.

Either way though it's useful feedback for the supplier of the uniform and if the shoes really are the least favourite item then at least that means the garments are liked.