Today’s Truth Plus: Herbert’s Final Column, Future Predictions, Dying Industries, Local Manufacturing, CAFTA and Estee’s Story

March 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Losing Our Way (Herbert, NY Times, 3/25/11) Bob Herbert’s final column for the New York Times is a bleak but truthful assessment of the state of the United States. This piece stayed with me a long time after reading it. I think it has resonated with many others due to the fact that Herbert is neither circumspect nor heavy-handed in his honesty. He primarily emphasizes the inescapable schism between the haves and the have-nots, a gap that is growing wider every day. “This inequality,” he says,  “in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.”

High-School Seniors Predict Their Future (Collins, NY Times Magazine, 3/22) (Click on the girl on the bottom row who wants to be a ‘designer’).  Can parents, educators and the media help to  calibrate young people’s artistic ambitions to realistic career opportunities in this difficult economic era?  “Taking fashion photos” and “being wealthy”, as we in fashion know, rarely go hand in hand these days. If fashion entrepreneurship is in her future, it will take skill, education, persistence and experience to succeed.

Top Ten Dying Industries (Izzo, WSJ, 3/28/11). Disheartening, but not surprising, to find mills and apparel manufacturing towards the top of this list.

The Future of Manufacturing Is Local (Arieff, NY Times, 3/27/11) An interesting look at the efforts of SFMade, a non-profit whose mission is “ to build and support a vibrant manufacturing sector in San Francisco,  that sustains companies producing locally-made products, encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and creates employment opportunities for a diverse local workforce.” While the companies SFMade is working with are not huge sources of job creation, they aren’t irrelevant either. If these companies can grow and train or employ unskilled workers, the economy has a greater chance of bouncing back. I’m tuning the article’s dismissive comments out.

Sourcing Horizons: Warming Up to CAFTA (Ellis and Castano, WWD, 3/29/11) New Truth Plus friend Fashion Cloture (a great fashion and law blog you should check out!) alerted me to the CAFTA discussion. The Central America Free Trade Agreement, enacted in 2004 is only now causing mass retailers and apparel brands to re-think their manufacturing options. “Central America’s apparel and textile industry could attract significant apparel investment by 2015 as U.S. and European brands shift activities to offset deepening sourcing woes in Asia, industry experts said.” Why not take this moment to shift some manufacturing back to the U.S.?

What Would Estee Do? (Singer, NY Times,  3/26/11) A look at the history of one of America’s greatest cosmetic companies. The dynamics of power among the family members who run the company are particularly compelling.




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