Archive for April, 2015


▶ Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion (HBO) – YouTube

▶ Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion (HBO) – YouTube.

This funny 17 minute Video by John Oliver on “Last Week Tonight” is really a like a culmination of all of my blog entries over the past three years : Fast Fashion, How companies avoid blame, child labor, slave labor, and the Bangladesh clothing factory tragedies.


Buffalo Nickel Cuff Links

Selling out Fast -This Week’s Small Batch From Bills Khakis

Bills Khakis occasionally will offer unique products that are made in the USA. Sometimes it is an article of clothing, sometimes it is an accessory. This time, Bills Khaki’s are offering cufflinks made out of Buffalo Nickels. See Bills Khakis Buffalo Nickel Cuff Links.


The OLIVERS Brief: Think outside the boxer by OLIVERS — Kickstarter

The OLIVERS Brief: Think outside the boxer by OLIVERS — Kickstarter.

Olivers is an American clothing company that got its start a couple of years ago through Kickstarter (a crowdsourcing company) to make some of the finest U.S. made athletic shorts. Now they are expanding by making mens’ briefs. They already have met their goal to make these type of briefs, but you still have 14 days to put in your order. To pledge, click the link at the top and it will take you to the official Olivers Kickstarter page.

About this project

The cotton boxer brief is a relic, badly in need of an update. There’s good news, however – we spent the past year building the perfect replacement.

For starters, we’ve kicked cotton to the curb.

While it’s known in the apparel industry that cotton is a terrible performance fabric, it remains the default for the boxer brief. Here’s why that’s a big problem.

We searched until we found the best performance fabrics on the planet. We then spent months developing, designing, and iterating on our prototypes — no small task, but it paid off.

The process led us to Switzerland, and a special company, Schoeller. Driven by innovation and functionality, Schoeller has built a reputation among experts as the premier technical mill in the world.

With a shared commonality of intent, we were ecstatic to begin working with them.

This fabric was first developed for the military. It has a soft, plush hand feel for maximum comfort.

David founded OLIVERS in 2013. The team has grown to include Dylan, Skye, Gabe, Steve, Justin, and Michael. Together, we’ve worked for and with some of the leading technical apparel brands in the market, including: Rapha, Arc’Teryx, Specialized Bicycles, and Mission Workshop.

We’re lucky to count two of the country’s premier manufacturers as partners. Located in San Francisco, they bring more than 40 years experience working with pre-eminent brands like Nike and Under Armour. Keeping this part of the process close helps us to iterate and arrive at the best solutions – all while keeping a careful eye on quality.

Together, we’re committed to bringing you the finest men’s athletic apparel available.

There’s two main benefits to launching this campaign on Kickstarter.

1. First off, we want to make sure you’re excited about this product! This allows us the opportunity to find that out before production.

2. The top fabric mills and component suppliers have high MOQ’s (minimum order quantities) and long lead times. Any working capital to fund those orders is extremely beneficial for a startup like ours.

Rumpl Blanket – Throw Size

We’re very excited to be working with another San Francisco brand, our friends at Rumpl. They make the world’s best performance blanket out of 20D Ripstop Nylon – it’s a premium and versatile blanket that can be used anywhere you go (or when you don’t go anywhere).

Steele Canvas for OLIVERS Weekender

We’re also thrilled to have joined forces with legendary New England brand Steele Canvas. Founded in 1921, they cut their teeth manufacturing specialty canvas products for the coal and textile trades. This special edition weekender (only available here) is constructed of heavy duty duck canvas and finished with leather reinforcements.



At OLIVERS, we believe that men should never have to compromise between performance and style. We got our start with you, the Kickstarter community, through the launch of the All Over Short in Fall 2013.

Today, we’re moving forward focused on the same set of values with which we started – putting design at the forefront of every decision, using only the highest quality components, continually focused on perfecting fit, and promoting thoughtfulness in both fitness and nutrition.

With your support, we’re looking forward to bringing another innovative, best-in-class product to the market.

Risks and challenges

The team has done its best to mitigate the risks and challenges for this project.

We’ve been developing and testing different versions of the brief for the past year. We have multiple working prototypes and can proudly state that the product is fantastic.

The manufacturer for this product has over 20 years experience producing technical apparel. Our suppliers and vendors are best in class and we trust them to deliver on the schedule as promised.

That said, there are inherent risks of delay in the process. We will communicate with both our backers and our manufacturer throughout the campaign to ensure the fulfillment timeline stays true.


  • Select this reward
    Pledge $1 or more

    1 backer

    Thanks – we’ll be sending good karma your way. You’ll also be kept up to date on the latest at OLIVERS.

    Estimated delivery: Dec 2017
  • Pledge $27 or more

    100 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL – 1 pair of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (29% off retail).

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • Select this reward
    Pledge $30 or more

    53 backers

    1 pair of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (21% off retail)

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • Pledge $52 or more

    75 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL- 2 pairs of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (32% off retail).

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • Select this reward
    Pledge $58 or more

    74 backers

    2 pairs of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (24% off retail)

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • Pledge $76 or more

    50 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL- 3 pairs of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (33% off retail)

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • Select this reward
    Pledge $84 or more

    34 backers

    3 pairs of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (26% off retail).

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • Select this reward
    Pledge $152 or more

    53 backers

    6 pairs of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (33% off retail)

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • Select this reward
    Pledge $329 or more

    29 backers

    The Adventure Pack. A custom Steele Canvas for OLIVERS Weekender, a Rumpl performance blanket, and 6 pairs of the OLIVERS Brief in color of your choice (33% off retail)

    Estimated delivery: Nov 2015
    Ships anywhere in the world

Deal Reached on Fast-Track Authority for Obama on Trade Accord –

Deal Reached on Fast-Track Authority for Obama on Trade Accord –

Deal Reached on Fast Track Authority For Obama on Trade Accord – NY Times

Before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the trade pact Thursday: Senator Robert Menendez, seated at table, and standing from left, Senators Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland and Ron Wyden of Oregon; Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew; and Michael Froman, the United States trade representative. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Key congressional leaders agreed on Thursday on legislation to give President Obama special authority to finish negotiating one of the world’s largest trade accords, opening a rare battle that aligns the president with Republicans against a broad coalition of Democrats.

In what is sure to be one of the toughest fights of Mr. Obama’s last 19 months in office, the “fast track” bill allowing the White House to pursue its planned Pacific trade deal also heralds a divisive fight within the Democratic Party, one that could spill into the 2016 presidential campaign.

With committee votes planned next week, liberal senators such as Sherrod Brown of Ohio are demanding to know Hillary Rodham Clinton’s position on the bill to give the president so-called trade promotion authority, or T.P.A.

Trade unions, environmentalists and Latino organizations — potent Democratic constituencies — quickly lined up in opposition, arguing that past trade pacts failed to deliver on their promise and that the latest effort would harm American workers.

The deal was struck by Senators Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the Finance Committee chairman; Ron Wyden of Oregon, the committee’s ranking Democrat; and Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. It would give Congress the power to vote on the more encompassing 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership once it is completed, but would deny lawmakers the chance to amend what would be the largest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994, which President Bill Clinton pushed through Congress despite opposition from labor and other Democratic constituencies.

While supporters have promised broad gains for American consumers and the economy, the clearest winners of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would be American agriculture, along with technology and pharmaceutical companies, insurers and many large manufacturers that say they could also expand United States’ exports to the other 11 nations in Asia and South America that are involved.

President Obama embraced the legislation immediately, proclaiming “it would level the playing field, give our workers a fair shot, and for the first time, include strong fully enforceable protections for workers’ rights, the environment and a free and open Internet.”

“Today,” he added, “we have the opportunity to open even more new markets to goods and services backed by three proud words: Made in America.”

But Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm was tempered by the rancor the bill elicited from some of his strongest allies. To win over the key Democrat, Mr. Wyden, the Republicans agreed to stringent requirements for the deal, including a human rights negotiating objective that has never existed on trade agreements.

The bill would make any final trade agreement open to public comment for 60 days before the president signs it, and up to four months before Congress votes. If the agreement, negotiated by the United States trade representative, fails to meet the objectives laid out by Congress — on labor, environmental and human rights standards — a 60-vote majority in the Senate could shut off “fast-track” trade rules and open the deal to amendment.

“We got assurances that U.S.T.R. and the president will be negotiating within the parameters defined by Congress,” said Representative Dave Reichert, Republican of Washington and a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee. “And if those parameters are somehow or in some way violated during the negotiations, if we get a product that’s not adhering to the T.P.A. agreement, than we have switches where we can cut it off.”

To further sweeten the deal for Democrats, the package includes expanding trade adjustment assistance — aid to workers whose jobs are displaced by global trade — to service workers, not just manufacturing workers. Mr. Wyden also insisted on a four-year extension of a tax credit to help displaced workers purchase health insurance.

Both the Finance and Ways and Means committees will formally draft the legislation next week in hopes of getting it to final votes before a wave of opposition can sweep it away. “If we don’t act now we will lose our opportunity,” Mr. Hatch said.

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday morning, Jacob J. Lew, the Treasury secretary, and Michael Froman, the United States trade representative, pleaded for the trade promotion authority.

“T.P.A. sends a strong signal to our trading partners that Congress and the administration speak with one voice to the rest of the world on our priorities,” Mr. Lew testified.

Even with the concessions, many Democrats sound determined to oppose the president. Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, condemned the bill as “a major step backward.”

The A.F.L.-C.I.O. and virtually every major union — convinced that trade promotion authority will ease passage of trade deals that will cost jobs and depress already stagnant wages — have vowed a fierce fight. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. announced a “massive” six-figure advertising campaign to pressure 16 selected senators and 36 House members to oppose fast-track authority.

“We can’t afford to pass fast track, which would lead to more lost jobs and lower wages,” said Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “We want Congress to keep its leverage over trade negotiations — not rubber-stamp a deal that delivers profits for global corporations, but not good jobs for working people.”

In all, the bill sets down 150 negotiating objectives, such as tough new rules on intellectual property protection, lowering of barriers to agricultural exports, labor and environmental standards, rule of law and human rights. Reflecting the modern economy, Congress would demand a loosening of restrictions on cross-border data flow, an end to currency manipulation and rules for competition from state-owned enterprises.

Businesses and business lobbying groups lined up behind the bill as fast as liberal groups and unions arrayed in opposition. “With facts and arguments, we’ll win this trade debate and renew T.P.A.,” vowed Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

It all made for a dizzying change of tone in a Washington where partisan lines have hardened. Republican leadership fell firmly behind T.P.A. Business groups battling the president on climate change, taxes and health care urged Congress to expand his trade powers.

But a sizable minority of Republicans — especially in the House — are reluctant to give the president authority to do anything substantive. Whether Republican leaders can get their troops in line, and how Mr. Obama can round up enough Democratic votes, might be the biggest legislative question of the year.

Mr. Reichert, the Republican lawmaker, said 20 or fewer Democrats currently support the measure in the House; last year, House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said he would need 50.

Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third-ranking Democrat, said he will demand the inclusion of legislation to combat the manipulation of currency values, especially by China. “China is the most rapacious of our trading partners, and the stated goal of this deal is to lure these other countries away from China,” Mr. Schumer said. “It’s not at all contradictory to finally do something with China’s awful trade practices.”

Mr. Brown said the negotiating objectives must be turned into solid requirements. “I don’t think negotiating objectives without more enforcement mechanisms get you very far,” he said. “Negotiating objectives are, ‘Hey U.S.T.R., try to get this,’ and they’ll say, ‘We tried.’ We need something better than that.”

Others appeared dead set against the accord.

“Over and over again we’ve been told that trade deals will create jobs and better protect workers and the environment,” said Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania. “Those promises have never come to fruition.

Editor’s Comment

We knew this story was coming down the pipe, but it was hard to follow it because no major news outlet either: doesn’t think this is news worthy (which I doubt) or the corporate heads have been suppressing the story (highly likely).  In short, Congress has approved  “Fast Track”  (official term is Trade Promotion Authority – a special rule passed by Congress just for Trade agreements) meaning you either vote up or down on the bill.  There are no amendments and no filibusters allowed. Another little known fact is that The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a treaty and ordinary treaties require a 2/3 majority vote. However this is a “special” executive treaty and only requires a majority to pass.

The TPP is a Free Trade Deal like NAFTA and the World Trade Organization which has caused massive offshoring of millions of jobs (NAFTA 3.2 million and WTO over 20 million). So why wouldn’t this Free Trade Agreement offshore millions more? It would. In fact, in a hard fought concession, displaced workers could get compensation for four years. What a great strategy, we know the TPP will destroy our economy, so why don’t we have the government pay for the millions of new unemployed workers?

This is a story of unadulterated corporate greed – haven’t we had enough? Spread the word and stop the TPP and put a halt to all of the underhanded corruption in Washington. Stop the TPP.


“Classic” Clothing Company – Made in the USA

Online Clothes Shopping Site | Lovetheclassic.

I found this clothing label “The Classics” as I was going through an apparel shop in Sausalito, California. What I noted was that they were all made in the USA and they were all selling for $10. As I did a little more research I found that “Classic” also makes clothing for men and children. One last interesting tidbit is that this company was acquired by in 2006.

Coca cola T-shirt - made in USA "The Classics"

Coca cola T-shirt – made in USA “The Classics”

Below is an excerpt from their website:

About US (The Classic Brand)

Since its launch in 2000 as a modestly sized online boutique specializing in hard-to-find denim lines, The Classic Brand has grown to become one of the leading fashion retailers in the world. Curated with a chic, modern woman in mind, The Classic Brand offers a comprehensive collection of designer apparel and accessories to suit every style and occasion.

USA Flag Design by The Classics

USA Flag Design by The Classics

Called “the editors of what’s cool” by Daily Candy, and recognized by The Wall Street Journal as having “the best customer service,” The Classic Brand’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve and providing a personalized shopping experience continue to be driving forces behind the company’s success. A champion of new design talent and a pioneer in the magazine-meets-boutique approach to online shopping, The Classic Brand showcases its fashion-forward point of view in editorial lookbook features and receives frequent mention in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle. The Classic Brand’s Exclusives section features limited-edition pieces from top designers available only at The Classic Brand.

Hot Lady Leggings

Hot Lady Leggings

In 2006, The Classic Brand was acquired by, Inc., the world’s largest internet retailer, enabling The Classic Brand to expand its services to enhance the customer experience. A trusted, globally recognized fashion merchant, The Classic Brand sells only quality, authentic designer merchandise. The Classic Brand is part of the Inc. group of companies.

New York Cotton Shorts

New York Cotton Shorts

Editor’s Note

The Classics has apparel for women, girls and men. For women they have T-shirts, blouses, sweaters, shorts and leggings. For men, they offer T-shirts, tanks and sweaters. Please note that not all “Classics” are “Made in the USA”. Before you purchase, make sure it says “Made in USA” and not “Imported”. This may be a great niche for people who want “Made in USA” clothing without spending a lot. Also, it is a way for some retailers to put add inexpensive “Made in USA” clothing to their inventory. Buy American and save your neighbor’s job.

USA Flag Print Shorts

USA Flag Print Shorts


Labor unions ramp up opposition to Obama trade agenda | TheHill

Labor unions ramp up opposition to Obama trade agenda | TheHill.

From The Hill April 13, 2015

The AFL-CIO is ramping up its efforts this week to convince Congress to oppose giving the White House fast-track authority on trade.

The labor group is holding events across the country as part of a “week of action” on trade.

“The week of action will increase the political momentum and grassroots opposition to fast track the same week Congress is expected to begin consideration of a trade promotion authority bill,”  the AFL-CIO said in a statement.Lawmakers, labor union leaders and their members will hold a rally Wednesday on Capitol Hill and follow that up with 50 grassroots events around the country and in more than a dozen countries on Saturday as part of the weeklong effort.

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), as well as United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre and Sierra Club National Campaign Director Debbie Sease, are among those expected to attend the Wednesday event in the Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill.

The efforts include letter-writing campaigns, phone calls, petitions and door-knocks.

“The grassroots movement against fast track is nationwide — and it’s not just labor,” said Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO’s trade policy specialist.

“It’s folks from the environmental, consumer, faith, farm, business and good governance communities as well. And we’re having an impact.”

Editor’s Note

Stop the TPP. No more Free Trade Agreements our import tax is already so incredibly low at 1.5%. No more offshoring of US jobs. The Free Trade treaty the TPP is very close to coming up for discussion – it could be any day. Call your Congressmen today.


Benefits of Sourcing and Manufacturing Your Collection Locally in America | Maker’s Row Blog

Benefits of Sourcing & Manufacturing Your Collection Locally in America | Maker’s Row Blog. The article appeared in the Magazine Apparel and The Maker’s Row Blog on March 20th, 2015. Thanks to The Alliance for American Manufacturing for highlighting this article about the advantages of doing your manufacturing locally. I have also included a second article regarding the same subject.

Benefits of Sourcing & Manufacturing Your Collection Locally in America

We did a lot of searching (sometimes right here on Maker’s Row) and cold-calling/emailing.  Ultimately, the decision to source and to manufacture domestically both suited our needs and fit our mission for two overarching reasons.


1. Manageable minimum orders

Ever cold-called an overseas factory and learned that the minimum order is five thousand garments? High minimum orders means high start up costs. These high start up costs can prevent you from even entering the market, so bypassing this hurdle entirely is definitely a plus.

High minimums can also lead to surplus inventory, which can squeeze your cash flow. The ability to manufacture in small batches allows us to control our inventory, and thus our cash flow, more smoothly. Managing our inventory also means that we are not producing more than we sell, so we get to skip figuring out how to offload excess inventory at the end of a season. In short, we make what we need.


2. Face-to-face relationships

It’s awesome that we have been able to establish face-to-face relationships with Kingsland Printing and Quick Turn Clothing — relationships that would not have been possible if we were to manufacture overseas. These relationships are essential for maintaining accountability within our supply chain. A lot of the breakdown in ethically and sustainably manufacturing garments comes from complicated, hard-to-supervise supply chains. Actively considering people and the environment is integral to what we do, so we love that our manufacturing partners are just a subway ride away and we get see their operations firsthand.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 12.04.01 PM

Also, being close to our manufacturers allows us to truly understand our production process from beginning to end, to ask a lot of questions (our manufacturers are consistently responsive), and to make changes to our order in (almost) real-time.

Finally, manufacturing domestically means that shipping distances are shorter, so less fuel and less environmental impact. Manufacturing domestically was a decision of both necessity and deep-seated desire to make the best choices around how we treat people and the environment.

Editor’s Note

The perfect complement to this piece is also from the Maker’s Row blog which is called:

5 Advantages to Keeping Production Local


Working with a domestic manufacturer makes the communication process easy. Real time phone and in-person conversations result in a better understanding of the specifics of your product. Language barriers, time zone differences and long overseas flights are eliminated.

Low Minimums

Order quantity minimums with U.S. manufacturers start at 100 units or less. The small minimum quantity exposes you to less risk and allows for incremental growth. As an apparel business grows, re-orders can increase from 200 then 500 then up to 1000 or 2000 units. This allows you to scale your business at your own pace and removes the risk of holding a lot of inventory.

Quick Turn-Around Times

With local production, communication is fast, along with shipping and lead times. Each manufacturer is unique, but in general, domestic development and manufacturing timelines are about half to one third that of overseas. Excessive rounds of sampling are eliminated due to clear communication; you don’t have to wait for overseas shipments or hold-ups in customs.

Waste Reduction

Small scale production in the U.S. eliminates the waste of unneeded products otherwise made just to meet overseas minimums. Simplifying and controlling the development and manufacturing process will reduce thousands of waste garments by ensuring each item is wearable, fits properly and remains sellable. There are warehouses upon warehouses full of obsolete inventory and rejected goods. Manufacturing in the U.S. offers a sustainable approach.

Quality Control

During the manufacturing process, many quality issues may arise. Fabric flaws, finishing techniques or packaging among other things may cause hiccups. With the personal connection a domestic manufacturer provides, you will be informed of issues as they occur and solutions can be determined swiftly. This keeps production moving at a swift pace and ensures that the product meets all of your quality standards.

April 2015
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