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Discussions about the fashion industry thread

London

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Nice to see GQ write about clothes again. Rachel Tashjian is a great writer; I always learn something when I read her work. Some good brands on the list. Was surprised to not see Rowing Blazers on there. Not a brand I shop with, but they have made an impact in the sportswear market for sure. If we are talking about brands of a certain size or exposure level, then Buck Mason and Faherty brand are notable exceptions as well.

https://www.gq.com/story/the-new-american-sportswear

The only thing I didn't understand was Noah being a sub 1M brand. that just doesn't seem possible. Maybe a misquote?
Thought the same thing about Noah. No way they’re only making a few hundred grand.
 

cb200

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Wouldn't a piece rate only allow you to scale down from the minimum wage? You can still pay people according to their skills -- nearly the entire labor market is organized like that. But with a minimum wage, the minimum is the baseline and you can scale up according to a person's skill.
Yeah not the best way for me to have put it. Piece work can act as a mechanism to compensate based on different operations (task completed) at different rates vs pay different operators (people's time) differently. Like paying an author by the word vs by the hour.

Bottom line is there's predatory shit facilities that are exploiting people and competing against honest facilities... if they even exist anymore. Labor laws exist that aren't being enforced. Piece work based payment doesn't exclude facilities from labor laws in the US. They just havn't been enforced.

I've seen research showing that piece worker's earned more than equivalent hourly workers.

Drive out the shit facilities and explosive operators. There should be laws already for that.
 

cb200

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@dieworkwear Did some googling to try to refresh the brain cells. This has some info on apparel piece work... wasn't the one in my mind but it's looks pretty fair and has some interesting info on supervisors and harassment.


A surprising bit from the linked to piece. Not what I would have expected.

" One of the main result of this research is that the workers under partial piece rate system appear to be worse off than those working either 100% hourly wages or 100% by the piece. A straight piece rate pay, where there is a direct correspondence between units and pay is simpler, more transparent and more motivating for employees compared to partial piece rate system. Full piece rate pay is also easier to calculate for employers compared to partial piece rate pay."
 

dieworkwear

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@dieworkwear Did some googling to try to refresh the brain cells. This has some info on apparel piece work... wasn't the one in my mind but it's looks pretty fair and has some interesting info on supervisors and harassment.


A surprising bit from the linked to piece. Not what I would have expected.

" One of the main result of this research is that the workers under partial piece rate system appear to be worse off than those working either 100% hourly wages or 100% by the piece. A straight piece rate pay, where there is a direct correspondence between units and pay is simpler, more transparent and more motivating for employees compared to partial piece rate system. Full piece rate pay is also easier to calculate for employers compared to partial piece rate pay."
Thanks. It looks like from their own study, they say that BW factories are not representative of factories in their respective countries or factories abroad. Workers in lower-tiers face worse conditions and even first-tier supply chain workers on the piece-rate system lack social protections and other work-related benefits because of their pay system.
 

cb200

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@dieworkwear I've been a believer that a piece work system can exist that doesn't lead to poor outcomes for workers and can allow a way for operators to be compensated for their efficiency. Compensation based on objective outcomes without politics or discrimination (a number of tickets completed at the end of the shift shouldn't care who you are) and earn past what an hourly minimum rate might limit.

But that would mean rates need to be set fairly in the first place, with governmental oversight, legal protections, and facilities that care for workers wellbeing. That might be too idealistic to be obtainable in practice for the majority of apparel workers.

The aspect of differing incentives for supervisors and operators in the paper as well as the negative outcomes for partial piece rates do make me think how complex incentives and compensation can be in the whole system. Subjectively, I've seen the same group of operators when working hourly vs piece work change the number of breaks they would take by their own volition. I've no doubt that the same kind of adaptive strategy to making use of every moment could lead to skipping safety issues that would arise or injuries.

The LA situation has some extra layers of issues. Undocumented workers are always already a group that's vulnerable to exploitive situations. The same facility that makes piece work so that daily wage is under local minimum wage would likely exploit any system or way of organizing work with that group. For example, I don't think the lack of proper Covid safety measures is tied to the way the work is organized but to the bad actors in the sector and lack of oversight.

The bad actors do need to be eliminated as much as possible. They drive out the good.
 
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dieworkwear

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@dieworkwear The LA situation has some extra layers of issues. Undocumented workers are always already a group that's vulnerable to exploitive situations. The same facility that piece work so that daily wage is under local minimum wage would likely exploit any system or way of organizing work with that group. For example, I don't think the lack of proper Covid safety measures is tied to the way the work is organized but to the bad actors in the sector and lack of oversight.
I interviewed one of the co-sponsors of the bill yesterday and brought up this issue. If SB62 passes and they get rid of the piece-rate system, then they will switch to minimum wage. However, they will also require a lot more paperwork -- the factory has to provide paperwork to show they are abiding by SB62 and brands have to request that paperwork to make sure they're not liable.

I'm curious how this switch might affect undocumented workers. I know undocumented workers can still work under the table but for minimum wage. However, I'm not sure if the necessary paperwork means factories are then less likely to hire undocumented immigrants.

I brought this up to the cosponsor, who plans to put me in touch with someone else regarding this specific issue.

Would be nice if I can interview an owner of a factory in LA. Ideally, someone who currently works on a piece rate system. If someone knows of a good contact, LMK.
 

jah786

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Is this in the garment industry? If so, do you have links or titles to those articles?
adding anecdotal evidence to this, after visiting the factory last week in Phila, this factory owner had two different style of factory under one roof. He had one floor that did all piece work, and I assume they were 100% piece pay. That group seemed very motivated by the ability to earn more based on speed and efficiency. Then there was another floor that worked by the hour. The interesting thing to me was that the kinds of clothing made on each floor were different and the factory owner had to decide where to allocate his own orders - should it go to the piece work folks or the hourly folks. More complicated garments went to hourly folks and faster stuff went to piece folks although that is an over simplification.

also, at my outerwear factory in NJ, the factory owner switched to piece pay several years ago and said the quality of work improved and the happiness of employees improved as they were paid for the quality/speed of their work. Both of these situations highlight piece work being value add. In LA, where there are vulnerable populations that can be exploited by this system, it seems to have gone the other way. Bottom line, shitty operators (owners) will do shitty things any way they can. Whatever the system is, they will figure out a way to be shitty. This is unfortunately an issue with human beings.
 

cb200

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@dieworkwear Not intimately familiar with LA but I'd expect that there's likely some chains of subcontractors that would be working with undocumented workers organized around piece work and done in tiny facilities or at home. That's a common shadow pool of labor that would be hard to document if it needed to be proven.

That said, I can already imagine that without full documentation from cutting to finishing facilities could do partial make ups with a shadow pool of labor, then do the some of the work / final assembly "in house" for documentation.

In similar ways that country of origin rules have been worked around and bent.
 
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Zamb

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So it was announced this past friday that respected Avant garde menswear store Gallery Aesthete is closing permanently.
While the news is not surpising, it does not bode well for the artisanal menswear community, especially here in the United States. Somehow it seems almost impossible to build and maintain a consistent avant garde menswear store in the united states.

Now Covid has made it worse in some ways, but with Hotoveli having to move to brooklyn (dont know the new setup but the said they were gonna be online only).
the Archive having to close its physical store, and several others not doing so well, what exactly is the future of Avant garde menswear in the United States?
 

Bryce C

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Not in my experience they'd shrink though probably
So it was announced this past friday that respected Avant garde menswear store Gallery Aesthete is closing permanently.
While the news is not surpising, it does not bode well for the artisanal menswear community, especially here in the United States. Somehow it seems almost impossible to build and maintain a consistent avant garde menswear store in the united states.

Now Covid has made it worse in some ways, but with Hotoveli having to move to brooklyn (dont know the new setup but the said they were gonna be online only).
the Archive having to close its physical store, and several others not doing so well, what exactly is the future of Avant garde menswear in the United States?
Hotoveli likely won't be far behind. The owners have been riding on a string for the past couple of years.
 

kiya

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So it was announced this past friday that respected Avant garde menswear store Gallery Aesthete is closing permanently.
While the news is not surpising, it does not bode well for the artisanal menswear community, especially here in the United States. Somehow it seems almost impossible to build and maintain a consistent avant garde menswear store in the united states.

Now Covid has made it worse in some ways, but with Hotoveli having to move to brooklyn (dont know the new setup but the said they were gonna be online only).
the Archive having to close its physical store, and several others not doing so well, what exactly is the future of Avant garde menswear in the United States?
There is actually a new avant grade store opening this fall, a very very insane one..one involving two well known industry heads coming together to open a store carrying most of the top avant garde designers including a few which haven't really been represented well in the US in years.
I think the location will surprise some people, but the owner has poured a small fortune into the build-out and initial buy so hopefully things take off for them once it opens in a few months.

(I cannot say who is involved or where this store is as they're trying to keep it under wraps)
 

peachfuzzmcgee

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So it was announced this past friday that respected Avant garde menswear store Gallery Aesthete is closing permanently.
While the news is not surpising, it does not bode well for the artisanal menswear community, especially here in the United States. Somehow it seems almost impossible to build and maintain a consistent avant garde menswear store in the united states.

Now Covid has made it worse in some ways, but with Hotoveli having to move to brooklyn (dont know the new setup but the said they were gonna be online only).
the Archive having to close its physical store, and several others not doing so well, what exactly is the future of Avant garde menswear in the United States?
Aww that sucks, that store was cool, the staff was chill, but sadly I never made enough money to buy stuff there often. Only place I could try on any avante garde in Chicago really.
 

keykoo

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I think the location will surprise some people, but the owner has poured a small fortune into the build-out and initial buy so hopefully things take off for them once it opens in a few months.
It's about time an avantgarde store opened in Seward, AK
 

Zamb

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Aww that sucks, that store was cool, the staff was chill, but sadly I never made enough money to buy stuff there often. Only place I could try on any avante garde in Chicago really.
this is a big part of the problem. and its not just for avant garde in general but a lot of high fashion is simply too expensive.
the reality is that the higher the prices of goods, the less people are able to affort it on any consistent basis.
the slow pace of development of avan garde artisanal brands, coup-led with the rise of resellers like grailed has made it incredibly difficult for a lot of stores in ways it wasnt in the past
 

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