Posts Tagged ‘NPR

14
Jul
17

Two Blind Brothers: NYC Clothing

Source: Two Blind Brothers: NYC Clothing

For those who are against charity and helping others, this article is not for you. Two Blind Brothers is about raising money for research to cure blindness by selling made in USA clothing. Plus, the founders take no salary (unlike the Fake President).

About Two Blind Brothers

Lady Liberty

The Brothers

At a young age, Bradford and Bryan Manning were both diagnosed with an eye disease that causes blindness over time. This condition has inspired a special vigilance for details, a passion that carries over into the construction of their clothing line. They are both graduates of the University of Virginia and currently live in NYC.

The Apparel

The apparel is sophisticated, noticeable yet understated, expertly tailored, and intricately crafted: all design decisions are informed with a New York influence. The brothers are involved in every step of the creative process, from choosing fabrics to developing the design aesthetic. Their focus is on ensuring the high quality and careful craftsmanship of each article of clothing.

The Gund

 

The Mission

The production is located in the heart of the fashion district in New York City. Despite the first-rate nature of the designs, fabrics, and assembly, the value to the customer is extraordinary compared to other luxury designers because the brothers fund the operation without being paid a salary. All profits are instead donated to life-changing research to cure blindness.

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Fashion With a Perspective
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Over 180 million people worldwide live with vision impairment

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The founders take NO salary. 100% of profits go to supporting research

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The research is directed by a team of experts in biotechnology

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The fabrics, designs, and construction are sourced in the heart of NYC


Editor’s Note – What is Wrong About Charity?

Several years back, 2012, to be specific, I was absolutely floored when I came upon an article from Made in USA Blog entitled “What’s Wrong with Tom’s Shoes”, which decimated a charity program. I had always felt that everybody, and I mean everybody, no matter what religion, no matter what country,  valued doing good for others – charity. But this self-described Libertarian felt that Tom’s Shoes which donates a pair of shoes to extremely poor people with every pair of shoes purchased was a disgrace. I had attempted numerous times to discuss the notion that charity is not bad, but he deleted all of my responses (except this one [linked above] which is sort of frozen in a time capsule). Obviously, Made in USA Blog will think that this company Two Blind Brothers is also a disgrace.

I have found that the more wealthy a nation is, the less charitable, the nation becomes. This is not only true for nations, but, in general, it is also true to individuals as well. Compared to the United States, the wealthiest nation in the world, people of the Old Testament and The New Testament were much more charitable and giving to the downtrodden and poor than our”modern society”. Americans believe charity begins at home, but not at their home and not in their neighborhood. We, Americans have no problem with concept of charity (except for the Libertarians who feel that helping anybody is a sin) but they expect others to do it but not themselves.

We can only theorize why the more wealthy one is, the less charitable one becomes.  Theory #1) Proximity. The closer one is to the poor and downtrodden, the more one can empathize. The poor are actually much more charitable to other poor (than the wealthy), even though they have less they can afford to give away. It is because they know the struggles – the pain, the cold, the hunger, etc. If you never see the poor and the down-trodden, then the poor become more of an abstraction than real, living, breathing humans. They are no longer part of “us”, but they become “them”. And “them” are always the enemy.

2) Politics of the Wealth. The wealthy know they have it good. And, obviously the wealthy want to keep it that way. In order to keep their wealth, they have found creative ways to maintain it. In order to avoid paying “fair wages”, the wealthy have always opposed unions. Then, they opposed Communism and Socialism – movements which  supported fair wages. Their omnipresent message was so persuasive that Americans soon demonized the word Communism, Socialism and Unions. The rich still continue to strive to decrease pay for workers and they do their best to defeat unions. They have been unbelievably successful. In the 1950s and 1960s, about 50% of private companies were union companies. Now, only 7% of private companies have unions. How did they do this? First, the wealthy moved companies out of union entrenched cities and moved them to non union Southern states. Then, they double-crossed these Southern states who had become dependent on these jobs by creating Free Trade treaties and off-shoring American jobs to poor third world countries. The outsourcing of good paying jobs, especially manufacturing jobs has created a downward trend in American salaries. And the salaries are still going nowhere (and The Federal Minimum Wage has not even come close to keeping up with inflation). In 2017, here in the United States, one can work full time at the Federal minimum wage and still not get out of the Poverty line. Ponder that for a moment. Everyone that works at minimum wage is poor. It means millions more each year become poorer and poorer, while the rich get incredibly rich. Today the top 0.1% have as much wealth as the bottom 90%. And the top 5% now own 70% of all the wealth.

So, what do the rich to deal with the poor. Do they develop a conscious? Do they open up their pocketbooks? Do they $20 out of their $100 million portfolio? No, instead, they create a lie. The Libertarian lie. “If you help people they will all become dependent on it.” That is pure balderdash. Sure there are few scammers, whether they are homeless, or drug addicts or CEOs (Martin Shrkeli or Bernie Madoff),  most non-Republicans, they are honest, see The Charity that gives cash to the Poor from NPR. The wealthy believe their own lies (because they live in their own bubble) and that is why they don’t give to the poor.

 

3) Wealth has become a religion. Being wealthy wasn’t enough, making money has become its own reward. Money has become bigger than the “Golden Calf”. In fact, the worship of money has become bigger than Jehovah, Jesus, Allah and Buddha combined. The United States no longer worship the Bible. “Christian” people say they are “religious”, but never attend church, have never read the Bible don’t know the lessons and certainly do not follow the tenants of Jesus. (But still, somehow, they are still Christian). In the United States, its citizens have been brain-washed into worshiping money. Even poor people, no longer hope of getting into Heaven, but, hope to get rich instead. Actually, the poor, even if they sin frequently, have a better chances of getting into Heaven than they are to get rich, especially, now, with how things are so stacked in blocking people from climbing the ladder to success. With the worship of “$$” comes its philosophy – “Capitalism.” The motto of Capitalism is make money however possible, hook or by crook. Having a conscious will impede you ability to get rich. Leave your principles behind. There is no better examples of this than the Trump family and the modern GOP. Even with the confession of Trump Jr. trying to collude with America’s archenemy, the Russians, to cheat and steal and election, the Trumps see nothing wrong with this. In fact, the GOP is also perfectly fine with this. As long as you win, that is what counts. The Ends justify the means. How Machievellian our society has become. The modern GOP worships money. Take today’s example: the GOP is trying to pass TrumpCare 2.0 wil which end healthcare for over 20 million Americans and severe cut Medicaid – which aids the elderly, the disabled and the Poor. All, so the rich can get a bigger tax break. Is there ever a stronger message about the present Republican Party stands for? The GOP should actually read that Bible they say they hold so dear. Maybe they can learn some lessons. Maybe they can learn some principles? Maybe they can learn the teaching of Jesus. (They should not quote out of context sections of the Old Testament. If they are going to quote from Leviticus, then they should read all of Leviticus and follow all of Leviticus, like thou shall not wear clothing made of mixed fibers). Maybe then they can learn once again about the importance of taking care of the poor. Instead, the GOP worships money and capitalism – which means you should have no principles. That is why the wealthy and their syncophants don’t give to poor and that is why there is a modern and deliberate message to stop charity. This is the modern GOP message:Heil the rich! Ignore the Poor! But here is a message from me to this modern GOP party: expect big political losses soon. People still have principles, it will show up sooner or later. It is taking a little longer than expected.

 

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26
Mar
13

Jennifer Lawrence Wears American Apparel

Jennifer Lawrence is obviously the hottest actress today, just winning an Academy Award for Silver Linings Playbook, after becoming a household name by starring as Katniss Everdeen in super-popular movie, “The Hunger Games”. Ms. Lawrence has recently been on my mind because I had just published a blog entry on Prabal Gurung, one of the top American designers, who had just started designing some garments for Target (which sold out overnight). Prabal Gurung has made his name by designing some outstanding dresses for famous people (like Michelle Obama), at famous events like the Golden Globes Awards. And, of course, one of these famous people was Jennifer Lawrence.

Jennifer Lawrence wears Prabal Gurung at Golden Globes Award

Jennifer Lawrence wears Prabal Gurung at Hunger Games Premiere

In doing that article, I ran across a photo of Jennifer Lawrence wearing an exercise outfit. And I found out that this outfit is made by American Apparel.

Jennifer Lawrence wears American Apparel

Jennifer Lawrence wears American Apparel

  • What is American Apparel?

For those of you who don’t know American Apparel. American Apparel is a clothing company based in Los Angeles. What makes American Apparel unique to any other store is two things: 1) it uses vertical integration, which we will talk about later and 2) all of their clothing and their accessories are 100% made in the United States. American Apparel has been around for over 15 years and employs over 6,000 people in the Los Angeles area and another 5,000 people worldwide. American Apparel make all of their own apparel and they have 251 stores throughout 20 countries.  They have an American Apparel outlet in Paris, France. And while I was in Paris at the Finest Department Store in the world, The Galeries Lafayette, I was surprised to find American Apparel in a section on the third (or was it the fourth floor?)  devoted to American made clothes, such as J. Brand, Seven For All Mankind and Hudson. In addition (as a fun fact), if you are a retailer, you can order American Apparel wholesale. So, if you want your T-shirts made in the USA, just give American Apparel a call.

Vertical Integration

Vertical integration is the process where one controls all the variables in producing your product. It has been seen with watchmakers, Jewelry stores and Perfume makers. Vertical integration is a rather new phenomenon starting in the 1990’s and 2000’s. American Apparel is one of those rare commodities that uses vertical integration: American Apparel controls the dyeing, the finishing, the designing and the cutting. Then they distribute it to their own stores with their own sales people or store it in one of their warehouses, by the way, American Apparel has just completed renovation on a new tech-savvy warehouse in La Mirage. American Apparel, also markets and advertises their own clothing, often using employees as models. Like companies such as Carl’s Jr. and Abercrombie, the advertising of American Apparel has caught some flak because it has offended some Victorian sensibilities. The founder and CEO, Dov Charney is unperturbed about the criticism.

The model for using vertical integration is Louis Vutton. Other well-know companies use vertical integration as well, but outsource more than Louis Vutton or American Apparel and they are: Guccia Group (Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Bottega Venetta), Hermes, Christian Dior, Armani and Prada. The reason for using vertical integration is to decrease variables (less unwanted surprises) and to control: production; and/or quality; and/or distribution. Plus, vertical integration can create a savings in cost (by not going through a double mark-up – distributor and department store) or gains in efficiency. While vertical integration may be great, it is however, capital-intensive at the beginning.

Link to more photos of Jennifer Lawrence wearing American Apparel. (Link is to coolspotter.com)

Special Thanks

A special thanks to Amy at American Made Guide to Life for the article: “Fast Fashion’s Challenge: Making Money with ‘Made in the USA’ – NPR, an article about American Apparel and a couple other companies.

Will Jennifer Lawrence and American Apparel Roads Cross Again?

If you had noticed the pictures on the above link, many of the pictures of Jennifer Lawrence wearing American Apparel were when she was younger, except for the outfit she wore while filming “Silver Linings Playbook”. So, now that she is the most popular actresses on the planet, will she be wearing Prabal Gurung or American Apparel in the future? My thoughts are probably not. Jennifer Lawrence has just contracted with Dior, and the dress that she tripped and fell over at the Academy Awards was, also, made by Dior. The size of the contract has not been disclosed but, for comparison, last year, Dior contracted Robert Pattison for $12 Million, so Ms. Lawrence contract should be two or three times that. Because of that, she probably will not be wearing any more American designers for a while. But, let us hope that she comes back, maybe she will wear “Made in USA” clothing in her every-day-life-clothes.

Visit an American Apparel Store by you

There are many stores in the United States, see their store locator to find one near you. American Apparel is geared for the younger set – teens to 30. Some of their shirts, pants and shorts are unisex, which sometimes is not great for men. But, it has tons of the basics. It is great place for underwear, and T-shirts. And there is always something new. Nothing really fancy, but then, not very expensive either. And remember, everything is “Made in the USA.”

10
Dec
12

Not Just Patriotic, U.S. Manufacturing May Be Smart : NPR

Not Just Patriotic, U.S. Manufacturing May Be Smart : NPR. NPR (in this link) demonstrates that manufacturing within the U.S. is not just possible but may actually be much more efficient in both design and manufacturing as the resources are all in one place instead of spread out all over the world. General Electric’s “Appliance Park” in Louisville, Kentucky, which makes dishwashers in the United States is a good example of this efficiency and mentioned in the NPR (and The Atlantic) article.

The NPR article not only includes an audio link, which is 11:29 long, but, it, also, links the material from which the interview was gathered – the December, 2012 issue of The Atlantic entitled “The Insourcing Boom”. The article was written by Charles Fishman, who is also interviewed on NPR, (which can be heard on the audio link). I had made a previous mention of Appliance Park in my blog of February 8, 2012.

The Insourcing Boom

The Insourcing Boom

And at the very end, there is a plug for American Giant – makers of hoodies – made in San Francisco.

07
Aug
12

The Betrayal of the American Dream

‘American Dream,’ Betrayed By Bad Economic Policy : NPR. In a book by Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele, “The Betrayal of the American Dream”, the authors criticize a government obsessed with free trade and indifferent towards companies that outsource jobs. “Everyone loves Apple. Apple makes nothing in this country anymore,” Bartlett tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep as an example. “But then, look over here on the other side and you have Intel, and their plants are massive, and they are good-paying jobs. They continue to invest in this country. And what we need in this country now are more Intels and fewer Apples.”

Germany also has a good economic record. When the global financial meltdown happened, Germany adopted a policy that subsidized companies in order to help them keep employees on the rolls. “It’s one of the reasons the German unemployment rate is much lower than in this country,” he says. And the German jobs have decent wages and benefits.

Bartlett and Steele believe that the American government needs to support American companies to preserve jobs and to combat government subsidized jobs from China (which gives China an unfair advantage). “We need to respond, and we never have done that in any kind of systemic way. Every other country out there knows that, and as a result of that, they continue to thumb their nose at our attempts to open those markets.”

For more information, click on the above link.




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