Saturday, October 17, 2009


I’m all for globalization. I myself have a really nice globe. I think every living room should have one. Globes give perspective. They remind us that we are each a tiny little dot in God’s great big world.

One thing I like about my globe is that it is nearly as old as I am. It still says Peking for Beijing, Rhodesia for Zimbabwe, and shows Germany as two countries. Life is full of changes. Some good, some not.

One kind of globalization I’m not so sold on is the kind in which Congress continually passes laws about safety, wages, and environmental impact while opening our market to countries who don’t do the same. All that safety and so forth becomes a moot point when we’ve priced ourselves right out of good productive jobs.

Back when I started in this industry nearly 30 years ago, every small town around here had one or more garment factories. Many folks who didn’t aim to be doctors or lawyers - or doing jobs that involved saying “Do you want fries with that?” - came out of high school and went to work at the factory. Many ran a sewing machine their whole lives and were happy with that, but others moved up the ranks of designing, patternmaking, mechanic work, or supervision and management. And some, of course, set out to found their own businesses.

Now, not so much. The upshot is that a tremendous amount of technical knowledge and talent has been lost in our culture. Thus it’s awfully hard to find good help in a sewing operation now.

But I have a suggestion for you: Look to your local colleges. It seems that lately a lot of them have established fashion design departments. I know because they’re buying the tools of the trade from us. And the young people in these programs might just be exactly what you need. At the same time, you can pass along some of the tricks of the trade you’ve learned along the way. And help this part of the globe to have a good bit more sewing in it again.

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