August 20, 2006

Bulk view

A mannequin would be useful

When I have more space, I think a mannequin and some white cloth for a
backdrop would make these totally small-time clothing shoots a lot
more manageable. Shooting myself with a point-and-shoot’s self-timer
is way more work than it should be.

Maybe I should take all of my malongs home this Christmas, borrow a
mannequin from somewhere, and borrow the studio cyclorama so that I’d
have a seamless floor. Would be totally excellent for learning how to
shoot. <laugh> Who knows—I might even get into lights!

I foresee constantly tweaking clothes, and it would be nice to be able
to document that. Totally small-budget. No models, no model releases,
etc. ;) It’s not going to be high fashion or anything like that, but
it will be fun!

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Looking for a malong supplier

I get complimented almost every time I walk out the door wearing one
of the beautifully patterned malongs from the Philippines. The malong
is also worn in several other Asian countries. I love the intricacy of
the pattern, particularly when it’s embroidered and not just printed.
It’s a terrific what’s-it at parties, sparking plenty of interesting
conversations. And yeah, it’s hip enough to go casual and ethnic
enough to go more formal: all I need are a few safety pins and a nice
brooch.

When some friends and I were at the Taste of the Danforth (a Greek
food festival), a shop owner asked me if she could buy the malong off
me. She wasn’t the first to ask me where to get these malongs. I
wonder if I can start a little side business that’ll also make it
easier for me to get the malongs I like… <laugh>

Sourcing the cloth would probably be the hardest thing. Quality is so
variable. One of my favorite malongs had a brilliantly coloured red,
purple and gold pattern in the beginning. The dye runs each time I
wash it, which is a pain. I have to wash it separately and make sure
there’s enough space between it and the other items on my
clothes-drying rack.

I wonder where to find malong cloth: embroidered, printed, etc. I want
quality malongs and accessories with the same patterns. Imagine
wearing a matching scarf, or a cute bag, or even shoes…

Hmm. It would be a good excuse to learn how to build an e-commerce
site, too. Also, I’ve been doing lots of strange things with wearing a
malong that I haven’t seen other people do yet, so that might be fun
to pick up.

Something to look into. First thing I’d need to do is to find a source
for ready-made high-quality malong cloth and make a few samples.

Hmm. I’d love to pass this idea to someone else. It’s not part of my
core competency (sewing bags? making shoes? I’d have to learn so much
first!), but it’s something I wouldn’t mind taking a risk on to help
make it happen…

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Comments:

From Simon Ditner:

<rant> It kind of throws me for a loop that your blog doesn’t
have a display of user submitted feedback. It’s very unsatisfying
putting comments in this little box, and not seeing them go anywhere,
like I’m pitching bits to the wind. It seems like the complete
antithesis of your research.</rant>

On Queen St., between Spadina and Bathurst, you’ll find yourself in
the fashion design district with some of the best deals on fabric in
town. I sent an email off to my friend Lyn, a local vietnamese fashion
designer, to see if she knows of a local source of malongs.

From Charo Nuguid:

I have a friend who lives in Iligan City. He’s a photojournalist, and being that your dad was formerly one, you’d know how small the pay is for this job. What he does to raise money for lenses and bodies is to buy and sell beautifully crafted native swords. He’d auction them off on eBay and have people send money to his brother’s account in the States.

Selling Philippine-made malongs would be a great idea. It’s just a matter of sourcing them out here in the Philippines. :)

From Kelly Drahzal:

I love the ideas of an e-commerce site making(?) and selling ethnic
clothes of good quality. I’d be their best customer as well, I think.

I’m also into sewing and quilting. Have an old Bernina sewing machine
that is my pride and joy, and have been dropping hints for months that
I’d like a mannequin/dress form for birthday/christmas.

If you decide to seriously pursue something like this, let me know.
I’d be interested in a joint venture. :-)

From Jay Goldman:

Some thoughts on your malong project:

  • Go for it! It may not be part of your core competency, but you might just surprise yourself. I just read Leila’s post about Bob Parson’s rules right before yours (http://www.hyperbio.net/fric_frac/2006/08/bob_parsons_rul.html) and was struck by the overlap. His rule #1? Get and stay out of your comfort zone. He’s right you know.
  • There are some excellent fabric shops along Queen St. W., in the few blocks west of Spadina. I’m not sure if malongs require special fabric, but there’s a good chance you’ll find what you need in there (and, if not, some good leads on where to track it down). Take a malong with you when you go and you’ll have much better luck explaining what you want.
  • Craislist is a great resource for finding things. A quick search for mannequin turns up a few that might work for you (like http://toronto.craigslist.org/clo/193412155.html, though lacking legs). There’s also a “wanted” section, so you could post a request for a proper one in there. You would likely also find people who could make malongs for you (i.e.: a “Production Team”) if you wanted to focus on the design and order taking aspects.
  • The Shopify folks out in Ottawa (who are awesome and part of the barcamp crew out there), have a great solution for setting up a simple ecommerce store, which we’re about to use it to sell torcamp t-shirts. Although it may offend your open source sensibilities, check it out as a possibility.
  • Last thought: this is a low risk opportunity with a potentially high reward. All you really have to do is set up a website, print some business cards, and see what happens. Your worst case is that no one is interested and you spent some time building a site, and your best case is that it takes off wildly and you end up enthroned on a global fashion empire :)

Good luck!

Sew what?

When I noticed the rip in Shane D’Costa’s
shirt, I insisted that he change into a bathrobe robes so that I could
mend the tear. It’s nice having a sewing kit handy. I find few clothes
that I particularly enjoy, so I like taking care of them. It’s also
nice to be able to do little things for other people.

I know a number of people who know how to sew.
Leigh Honeywell made her own prom dress.
Totally impressive. =)

I don’t have the space for a sewing machine just yet. I’m tempted to
learn how to sew well enough to make things that I’d consider
well-made. I suppose I wouldn’t do too badly with some sewing and
embroidery skills, though, because I can then embellish basic forms.

I enjoy wearing clothes that say something about me, whether it’s my
appreciation of traditional culture or my quirkiness when it comes to
computer T-shirts. I like being able to maintain such clothes and
maybe even modify or create new things. Besides, sending something as
simple as that out for alteration or tailoring is expensive,
especially considering how little time it takes to fix something. =)

So yeah, sewing. S’fun. I like knitting, too, and look forward to
picking it up again this winter.

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Snakes on a Plane!

Watched Snakes on a Plane with Leigh Honeywell, Quinn Fung, Jedediah Smith, and Seth Hardy last night. Tons of fun, particularly with the audience participation bits. The movie itself was as cheesy as expected, but hey, it wasn’t about the film: it was about the meta-humor…

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