Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Neuroses of a T-Shirt Maker


Poking around the archives of I came across an April 2000 article on Dov Charney, creator of American Apparel. Aside from the fact his models are-well, they're AA models, and everyone knows about AA models-Dov is manic about tees. His goal is to produce the perfect t-shirt, American-bred by a Canadian-Korean consortium. You can't get any more melting pot than that. It's okay though, because these shirts are "creamy" (his words, not mine, but that'd be the word I would've used had Gladwell asked me first). I swear by these shirts...they feel that good, and the cut is right. Of course they're more expensive, but you get what you pay for.

It's always interesting to see inside the mind of social entrepreneurs, trendsetters, paradigm-shifters and the like. The fact Mr. Charney uses strippers to test fit shirts is but a footnote to his dedication to the craft of garment-making. I can get with that. It also underscores the brilliance of his business model, which is attracting attention across the globe. I'm partial to the sustainable edition, made of organic cotton. These are the ones they use over at stylized graphics of wind turbines and soy sauce bottles and stuff like that.

Pay attention to your garments; the beauty is in the details.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ipods, Jay-Z, and Ecological Carrying Capacity

I've got a confession; my life's neverending quest is to be the black James Burke. In that same vein, Fast Company magazine is nicely filling a role as content provider for this dream o'mine, much like a corner-boy to his crackhead. The August issue caught my attention not simply because it appears in my mailbox (all for 83% off the newstand price), but moreso because of the appletree on page 21. Now FC is a business magazine, but I swear these folks are much smarter than your typical corporate worker bees. The essay "In Praise of Ecosystems" (access code: FCAUGUSTHR) by John J. Sviokla is a brilliantly executed piece on "economic ecosystems," most notably the one established by Apple with the introduction of their now-ubiquitous Ipod mp3 players. To summarise-though they had a good run, the Ipod will soon be overtaken by another player from another company. "But remember it was the [internet] ecosystem-- not the market leaders--that radically expanded the [internet] market" writes Sviolka. So there is indeed a chance for the other guys.

How exciting. Here's a management consultant speaking in ecological terms on human consumption and buying characteristics. The model presented applies to lots of markets: cell phones, computers, automobiles, television, the energy sector, hip-hop. Which brings us to Jay-Z, Hovah, Shawn Carter, Jigga, The King of New York. Sir Carter has radically changed the dynamics of the hip-hop market ecosystem, though he wasn't the originator of that universe, the "god" if you will (despite the moniker). That distinction probably belongs to none other than Sean "Puffy" Combs. Some might argue Russell Simmons but...whatever. Jay is about to open a new branch of his supersmoove but fantastically overpriced sports bar The 40/40 Club, just below Caesar's Palace in Atlantic City. On a corner lot, on the main strip. Talk about making moves. The man has a multitude of certifiable hip-hop classics to his name, along with a burgeoning business empire. He was driven to be the best and for all intents and purposes, has accomplished that goal.

Yes, I can concede that Diddy et. al. have made plenty of waves, like beating out Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren as the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Men's Designer of the Year (I even bought a Sean John suit from Macy's; it's slick I tellya). Honestly though, Jay-Z and the Roc-A-Fella fam' have surpassed all expectations. They even spawned a new generation of prep-rap-wannabees looking to Kanye West for inspiration. (Remember, blood diamonds are forever). I think Jay even inspired TI to don a suit, albeit with the perennial Air Force 1's and Adebisi'd Falcons cap. Regardless, he's already changing the ecosystem, and if he heeds a certain writer's advice to partner with Dick Cheney and Halliburton to invest in electricity transmission lines...well the convergence will be completed.

That said, check out excerpts of my favorite book of alltime (which I've yet to read in its entirety, but yeah)...William Catton Jr.'s "Overshoot." I've never seen the relation of the stock market crash of 1929, the role of resources in Germany's loss in WWII, our current real estate bubble, and the necessity of fertilizer to Midwestern sugar beets and homeland security explained so well. Easy to follow it's not, but what great literary masterwork do you really get on the first try? Additionally, I'd like you to take a look at the shady backroom deals happening with our wonderful Energy Bill...this is so insane all I can do is laugh and shake my head.

And can someone in the know forward this message to Mr. Z? Thanks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Late Pass on Mark Morford

Please forgive me, but I spit soymilk (actually, Odwalla Super Protein Vanilla Al'mondo Soymilk Drink...yes, that's really what it's called) when I read a piece by San Francisco Gate columnist Mark Morford. Interestingly enough, the piece entitled "I Cannot Yet Skin A Deer: Are you prepared for the Big Collapse? Peak Oil? Rural Life? Can you pickle meat and eat bark?"
was soon foreshadowed by the comedic wit of "Beer & Porn & Guns & Manicures." I was told I need a manicure. That's not going to happen...and not because I think it's "ghey", but because it's unneccessary. I'm just going to mess them up again, and what woman doesn't love old motor oil under her man's nails? I mean, really. Oh yea, I do think only women should get manicures. The irony.

More links you say? Hows about flyable Star Wars models, or maybe beer with nicotine? Not your speed? Well take a peek at this Rosendahl Ice Scraper and F.A. Porsche Hexagonal Butane Lighter, both from Yanko Design.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Target has Bamboo Socks

Wow, more than a month? I got a new job and have been busy acclimating to working for the government. It's wonderful and not-so, all at the same time. Don't you love a dichotomous existence?

Regardless, I went to Tar-jhay to re-up on some basic workplace accessories like, you dress socks. Well guess what...they have bamboo fiber socks. I was geeked, sised even. Why would anyone want bamboo socks? For about 1,000 reasons, that's why. Read for yourself at bambrotex.

They're the house brand too, the Cherokees or whatever they're called. The damage? $3.99 for 2 pair. I think they're 80% bamboo and 20% rayon, so nice and stretchy and breathable. Not to mention bamboo is a natural anti-bacterial, and it's more eco-friendly than cotton by far. A while back on my bambooplantations mailing list, when the whole idea came about of using these fibers to weave clothing, some guy wore his for like a week straight doing all kinds of strenous things. Reported that they didn't stink nearly as bad as cotton ones, and a lot more ventilated as well.

At first I was gonna order some socks and undershirts from, but they still haven't gotten any yet. Then I happen upon this last pair at my local Target (PG PlazaYall...the one with the GOOD Gap that always has sales on slacks, because everybody in PG rocks the white tees, constant.) I looked for more, with no success. Someone else is on to my secret. I'm going to scour all the Targets til I find some more, in black, blue, and gray.

Even though China is going to take over the world in a few years (cars, electronics, green technology, you name it), I really appreciate their innovation and great work ethic; Go China! Oh yea, and let's hear it for Target and their good business sense (I mean, look at the furniture on the homepage. wal-mart can't fade it).

Found another nice item at Mad Mod...nice white bamboo towels. Haven't tried them, and at $58 for a set of 3 they might seem pricey to you cheapskates. Not sure of the durability either, but I intend on ordering within the week.