Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday happenings

Saturday, December 5th from 4- 9 PM and Sunday, December 6th from 12- 6 PM

Holiday sale and party! Not to be missed! A wide variety of clothing, objects, and accessories. Gifts for your loved ones and yourself! Several of your favorite, talented, local designers will converge for the weekend to offer their collections at deeply discounted prices:
Abigail Glaum-Lathbury
Janet Ecklebarger of Glean Design
Noon Solar
Peggy Skemp of Heron Adornment
Lisa Spagnolo
Tania Bowers of Pears of Danger

Tasty treats by Nightwood, mixed seasonal drinks, and a raffle to boot! Hope to see you at workshop for this exciting event!

One of the pieces that Rob Jeffries had installed in the window display at workshop during the month of November. Light box made from select pine, plexi-glass, and paint.

During the month of December, students from the class "Supply and Surplus" at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago will present an installation of their re-purposed coat project. Sure to be pretty cool- pictures to come in December!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

future space goats

love that Mcqueen- these prints are truly out of this world....

I wonder what kind of prints I would create for my collection if I had a budget much grander than mine. I have been actually looking for a company that can produce digital prints on organic or sustainable fabric, made responsibly, with non-toxic ink. It is something that is yet to exist. Once I find it- I am sure it will be pretty expensive.
I love this collection, the styling, the colors, the shapes. Once again you have blown my mind Mr. Mcqueen.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More for Le$$...

I was listening to NPR this morning and the subject was the economy. The question of whether or not the economy was getting better or stronger, despite the fact that unemployment is still high. The discussion reiterated the plight of the small business owner, and the reality of the consumer power that is not being used. Simply, people are not buying things- even if they do have a job, and if they are buying things, they are certainly buying less. My goodness- I could go on and on about this subject but I will try to stick to some major points.

1. I AM that small business owner- not only do I manufacture goods, but now I have a little shop to sell directly to my customers- so I am both in the retail and wholesale end of things.

2. From my point of view, it is true that people in general, are not buying things retail. Even though Spring 2010 has wholesale orders (and for that I am extremely grateful) there could definitely be more. Just being honest, really. I cannot blame the buyers of these stores across the country for not buying more of my product- it is the fact that people are not buying things from their stores that makes their budgets so small for the season. It is a vicious cycle really and it is the little guy who suffers the most.

3. The thing that gets my goat a bit is the way some people are trying to take advantage of the situation that we are all finding ourselves in. As small business owners try to maneuver through the recession and still stay afloat- some people find it a great time to try to haggle or get goods for reduced prices and discounts.

I am sure that most of the time it's hard to understand that we have already reduced prices, taken losses, and cut corners. It is down right sad to see how people try to leverage a difficult time and a desperate moment into a gain for themselves. I think it is called carpetbagging. I know- we all love a discount- but if a few extra dollars go into the small business you are supporting- than it might just survive!

4. Which brings me to More for Le$$.....
Everyone wants something special, unique, one-of-a-kind, made locally, and sustainably.
Paying a living wage for garment construction is not inexpensive, sourcing fabrics from fair-trade co-ops is not the cheaper option, growing and harvesting raw materials that use extensive crop rotation and biological pesticides instead of cheap, harmful, chemical sprays- costs more money than the alternative.

All of these careful considerations of the planet and the people that inhabit it cost more money- as does creating a clothing line ethically. I try my best to educate my clients, and consumers at large about these issues- many of which the average consumer is unaware of. It is an uphill battle- and I understand that the price of organic fruit and vegetables is more than non-organic- and the same with clothing. Walmart, Target, H&M are far less expensive than my collection- but we have to ask ourselves "at what cost?" The problem is that we all want something special, unique, one-of-a-kind, made locally, and sustainably - BUT WE DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT.

We all want stellar customer service, personal attention, a genuine interaction with our local small business owners- but we don't always support them. In order to do that, we have to frequent their businesses and spend our money- or pretty soon- our only option will be big box corporations that are huge enough to withstand the crumbling economy. They have the ability to slash prices, lay off American workers, and source labor over seas where there are low human rights standards. Is that what we should be supporting?

Please excuse my rant- it is not often that I go ahead and put it out there, I just feel like I talk about this subject often, and I would love to hear others' point of view regarding the more for le$$ mentality of our society-

Sunday, November 8, 2009

sun sets

an image of the sun setting on 18th street from the little porch of workshop

Fall time... it's a time of reflection and the time of year I prepare for spring production as well. Classes are over in 5 weeks, and then it is winter break for my students. No break for me, I am looking forward to uninterrupted studio time. So much to do, and as it seems that I will be bogged down with work, I am also grateful to have orders to produce.

But my head is not in spring mode, but really I am filled with thoughts of fall 2010. Sun setting, romantic fabrications, shades of raisin- brownish- red, hand-dyed colors. As the days get shorter and the evening darkens more quickly- all I can think about is the hibernation. Chicago is a cold place in the winter. People in other parts of the country think that Chicagoans are masochists for enduring the long winter.... and I understand their reasoning, but I disagree. You see, this is the time of year where us cold- dwellers put our heads down and get it done.

Summer is for playing- we break out of the darkness and relish the sun.... but our vibe in winter is getting from door to door quickly and with purpose. And once inside- we put our task masks on and endure. We are a bi-polar city with lawn mowers and snow-blowers co-existing in the same garage. We can sit in the park in the summer and make snow-angels in the winter. In fact, we have it all- warm woolen coats and short little dresses. It is just a fact that we all feel collectively in tune with mother nature.
As the days turn cooler we instinctively pull out the winter clothes box, folding neatly the filmy light cottons of summer. And we reflect, we turn inward, we grow quieter.

Here's to winter, for without the darkness the light would never seem so bright.