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Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by quill, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. oscarthewild

    oscarthewild Senior member

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    (newyorker @ April 13 2005,08:39) I am so sorry, but I don't think any scholar should take anything that Thomas Friedman writes seriously. He is superficially writing on subjects neither commesurate with his intelligence nor educational qualification. His book, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" was a joke. I read it in college, most of my friends agreed that we were disgusted with how he was trying to pass himself as an expert on globalization, only later to find out that the book was assigned for reading as an example of a poorly written book. Â If you want to understand globalization, there are far better books written by far more intelligent people.
    Good to hear another opinion. Thanks, newyorker. I'm not familiar with Friedman, but doesn't winning three Pulitzers speak to some semblance of acumen? Not trying to start a debate here, nor go off topic, I'm just trying to determine if Friedman is worth pursuing. Reviews of his work, and his accomplishments, would seem to indicate he's at least worth listening to. Am I wrong?
    I have been reading Friedman for years. He is good at times, very good sometimes and off the mark sometimes. He is at his weakest when he is "overreaching". He is what fox news may call part of the liberal elite media. I find him centerist with slight liberal/left leanings. He is better at writing than when he is on TV doing interviews. The conversation does not get as fluid as say with Charlie Rose. After seeing him on TV on one of the post 9/11 mideast focus shows, I wondered if he is able to relax his interviewee more without the camera present. After all, that is a critical skill in conducting interviews. -
     
  2. newyorker

    newyorker Senior member

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    He is a globe-trotting journalist, and has access to many important people globally. He is good at getting maximum publicity. He is not an expert in globalization, he does not do enough research, and he is not scholarly. If one wants to understand globalization for serious purposes (business, education), I would avoid this book. But it is "ok" for a casual read. He writes pompously. He exaggerates his arguments. He cons silly terms like "DOScapital 6.0", "Globalution", "The Golden Straightjacket" for concepts that already exist and have proper names for God knows what reason (trying to be original? to impress?). He namedrops the famous people he has met, the famous hotels he has stayed in, and the way he travels (he travels first/business class). This is more than I can bear. The first chapter of Lexus and the Olive Tree talks about his experience trying to get oranges delivered to his room at Okura Hotel, Tokyo. My honest opinion is that I can't imagine someone reasonably intelligent who wouldn't be deeply disgusted after reading The Lexus and The Olive Tree. You can just read this article that he wrote and ask yourself if you really want to read the writing of what appears to be a 12 year old rather than a Pulitzer prize winner: http://www.google-watch.org/friedman.html You can read an excerpt of The Lexus and The Olive Tree at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp....er-page I respect others who feel otherwise about his writing.
     
  3. newyorker

    newyorker Senior member

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    He overreaches all the time, trying -- but failing -- to simplify complex issues and trying to sound smart at the same time. It doesn't matter whether he is right or left, because I don't mind reading books with different perspectives as long as the arguments put forth are intelligent.
     
  4. quill

    quill Senior member

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    Thanks for your perspective, newyorker. I appreciate it. But alas, I've betrayed my own thread. So, to get back on topic: Have any of you actually bought any suits/sportcoats/shirts/shoes/belts/accessories/etc. from designers/sources you knew to be Chinese? (and I'm not including here the obviously long-standing reputation of Hong Kong tailoring; I'm speaking specifically of mainland China) If so, has the quality held up?
     
  5. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    I don't know if its really much of an issue that China owns that many dollars.

    Friedman specialzes in the MiddleEast, so I have no idea why he's talking about globolization. I haven't read any of his books, but I don't find anything wrong with his columns for NY Times stylistically. It's not particulairly elegant, but he has to deal with the constraints of a newspaper column.

    As for China's quality, I think it all depends on the company itself and if they've placed the proper quality controls in place. Let's say you're making shirts. There's going to be an obvious quality difference between paying workers 5 cents for each shirt as long as its finished and paying 7 cents for each shirt that passes a quality control inspection.

    Honestly, even if Chinese quality improves, I think there will still be a stigma there for another generation- only when you have consumers who don't remember the poor quality of Chinese goods.
     
  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I'd argue against this. I think that a good PR campaign could change things around *very* quickly. One place (in apparel) where the Chinese are making headway is in the "streetwear" category. A "Made in China" label may attach stigma to a brand that is already assumed to be mass produced - DKNY and Calvin Klein, for example. However, this stigma does not attach itself to lines that are perceived to be made in small quanitities are exclusive primarily for that reason. For example, a good amount of the goods from the Wrangler 47 line and from Unis are "Made in China" and are nevertheless seen as desirable by a certain demographic because the good are difficult to find.
     
  7. gorgekko

    gorgekko Senior member

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    In reality, more jobs flowed into the U.S. over the past five years then flowed out thanks to globalization. I know it's hard to believe, but the U.S. has actually imported more jobs then it has exported.
     
  8. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Senior member

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    Yes, but what kind of jobs? That's the important part.
     
  9. Demeter

    Demeter Senior member

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    (quill @ April 12 2005,09:13) Are we outsourcing ourselves to death? Seems like nobody in America actually makes anything anymore.
    In reality, more jobs flowed into the U.S. over the past five years then flowed out thanks to globalization. I know it's hard to believe, but the U.S. has actually imported more jobs then it has exported.
    That may be, but it won't last very long. The new trend is the outsourcing of white-collar jobs. We're not talking about seamstresses, tech support anymore, we're talking about accountants. This is what's scary.
     
  10. countdemoney

    countdemoney Senior member

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    "Have any of you actually bought any suits/sportcoats/shirts/shoes/belts/accessories/etc. from designers/sources you knew to be Chinese? (and I'm not including here the obviously long-standing reputation of Hong Kong tailoring; I'm speaking specifically of mainland China)"


    Yes, we've sourced, and I've been to, factories in the mainland, primarily in accessories. Quality depends on the material you help pick. Most of the factories we use are QS-9000 certified and work on a variety of other name brands (legitimately). Most of the work that you really want done in China from a cost perspective is the sewing.

    Anyone going to be in HK at the end of April/early May?
     
  11. Lydia

    Lydia Senior member

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    Very interesting.

    Also, for countdemoney,

    what is QS-1000?

    and, have you done any smaller orders for goods that require more skill?

    Like suits etc.?

    How do you find the fabrics (particularly wool) that are available in China?
     
  12. countdemoney

    countdemoney Senior member

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    It's a variant of ISO-9001. Essentially, documented quality control procedures in mass production. Usually this involves things like inspections of raw materials (fabric isn't torn), inspection at stages of the production process and then inspecting a percentage of made goods. You can get simple or complex depending on the part or process. Each inspection is documented to prove it took place and to audit later if there are problems.

    I have an MTM suit from the mainland, but the tailor is originally out of hong kong, so I didn't include them in my original post. I'm very happy with the suit.

    Most of the more skilled work I need is in the initial samples, which are all handmade. Quality varies here as we will sometimes sacrifice quality for speed when presenting ideas. If you show them what you want, you can get anything made with comparable quality.

    You won't get someone who's got 20+ years experience, but if they can see the stitch, they can sew it.


    The limited amount of wool I saw was average to my eye, but I'm not an expert on that. I deal mostly with cottons/blends, nylons, PVC and leather. It's all for promotional, and so, more about perceived value (and the clients budget) then other virtues.

    On the raw materials side they are set up for big runs of commodity items (sombeody's gotta stock target and walmart).

    I would work very closely with the factory if the raw materials (like silk or wool) were vital to a project. It would be well worth your time and money to investigate manufacturers thoroughly if you were going to do a production run of premium goods. Importing materials would be a real option at the top levels. Remember, Americans love crap. Most of the Chinese manufacturers are used to Westerners asking for cheap.

    My last trip I went into the Dunhill store in HK. I fell in love with a dunhill brief of amazing beauty, suppleness and lustre. The split cowhide swatch I received for a project this a.m. was well made, but no comparison to the dunhill.
     
  13. quill

    quill Senior member

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    NOW we're getting to the heart of the matter. Thank you, countedemoney, for your professional insights. I guess this topic really can't avoid discussions of politics and economics, as these issues will certainly figure into China's future vis-a-vis apparel and other goods. But my original intent was to ascertain how prominent China is becoming in offering high-quality apparel that is sought after worldwide. Maybe China doesn't have the generations of bespoke experience that other countries have, but it can certainly be argued that their level of artistic expertise in many areas has never been equalled (i.e., porcelains, jade carvings, wood and cork sculptures, silk production, etc.). So...give them a few generations of hands-on textile/apparel experience, and who's to say they can't produce top-tier products? As LAGuy pointed out earlier, they have a work ethic that puts most of the US at large to shame. Anyway, I for one am very fascinated to watch what's becoming a neck-and-neck race in globalization and demand.
     
  14. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Pretty much any engineer will tell you that ISO-9001 is sort of a credibility test for a facility with a reputation problem. It's analogous to those late night t.v. infomercials who claim that they are "accredited" universities. You don't seen a Harvard or a Yale making that claim...

    Nevertheless, a useful tool for assessing unknown facilities. And it gives the paper pushers something to do.
     
  15. Carlo

    Carlo Senior member

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    Further proof for those who don't believe I am a mean spirited prick from time to time: I got my 17th offer to switch continents on my tie production, here's the note and my response... Can you go to Hell for having a dry and sarcastic sense of humor? Alanc - care to address that, Padre? -----Original Message----- From: Names removed to protect the innocent Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2005 8:35 AM To: info@carlofranco.com Subject: WE WANT TO BUILT BUSINESS RELATION WITH YOU. WE ARE NECKTIE MANUFACTURER IN CHINA. I WANT TO BUILT BUSINESS RELATION WITH YOU.IF YOU HAVE ANY DEMAND ,PLEASE CONTACT WITH ME. CONTACT PERSON :ALEX Sure Alex, We only do seven fold ties so I'd be interested in seeing your sample seven fold hand sewn construction. With regard to silks I would need some fabric samples to send to our lab to have them certify that no harmful chemicals are used in the finishing process. Thanks for your kind offer, let me know. Chuck
     
  16. j

    j Senior member Admin

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    That's gotta be the nicest mean response ever. What would you do if he sent both and they measured up? Could you consider sourcing from China assuming the exact same quality? (Not that that is probably possible, but hypothetically.)
     
  17. Carlo

    Carlo Senior member

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    J - In all honesty No, wouldn't do it. Personal objection to the government there, none toward the people.

    When they crack down hard on counterfeiters instead of protesting students then I'll reconsider my position.

    Let's see if I get a response....
     
  18. quill

    quill Senior member

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    ...this is all getting more interesting by the minute. [​IMG]
     
  19. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    Actually, I question how true that statement is. There must have been generations of tailors who worked on this craft, and had to make clothes for the emperors and his court.

    If anything, it was probbably Mao that wiped that generation off. But, that would seem to be true for other former communist countries, which have restarted their artistic traditions such as Vass. (wasn't aharris supposed to write up something in that vass thread already?)

    If you think about it, silk is originally from China. And, so the Chinese probably have had more experience working with this material than other nations.

    At some point, most silk ties will eventually be made in China. All the good silk still comes from China, so you would be able to cut down on import duties and taxes, shipping costs, and time by bundling all of that together in one location. That's been one of China's strenghts in that they've bundled different industries together so that in one city you'll find all the sock manufacturers and all the other industries needed to support the sock manufacturers. Same logic works with another industry in a different city.

    It doesn't seem very efficient in terms of supply chain management to get silk from china, then ship that over to italy with its higher labor costs to have it manufactured, and then finally ship it over to america to have it sold.

    Does anyone still associate Taiwan with poor quality anymore? I don't anymore because all the cheap and poor quality manufacturers moved to China as Taiwan's labor costs rose. I don't know if that will prove hapen with China, since it has a huge labor force that will dampen any increases.
     
  20. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    (StagRaven @ April 12 2005,20:10) Thomas Friedman writes almost exclusively on this subject, and just released his latest,
    I am so sorry, but I don't think any scholar should take anything that Thomas Friedman writes seriously. He is superficially writing on subjects neither commesurate with his intelligence nor educational qualification. His book, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" was a joke. I read it in college, most of my friends agreed that we were disgusted with how he was trying to pass himself as an expert on globalization, only later to find out that the book was assigned for reading as an example of a poorly written book. Â If you want to understand globalization, there are far better books written by far more intelligent people.
    new yorker, I'm curious as to why your college assigned that book as an example of poor writing? I just looked it up, and it won several awards. Are you against globalism, or just Friedman's arguments?
     

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