The Clothes You Wear Everyday Have a Global Political Economy
We have all seen movies or read stories set in the days of slavery in the US, where one of the original slave industries was cotton-picking for the mid west farmers. The fact remains to this day that the textile industry is a highly political one, relying heavily on laborers who work tedious and often dangerous handling jobs, while ownership of the raw and technological resources lie with global corporations. Their global context means that production of textiles and their natural resources occur in areas of the world where hard manual labor is cheapest, while their trade by the meter is marketed to the highest bidders in the west, or the urban centers where design and fashion have become an expensive and critical aspect of the local culture.
The Journey Your Clothes Take Before Reaching Your Home.
Fabric has to travel back and forth between these extremes of cheap labor and high-end design and retail, a number of times before you get to take it home to your place to wear as a clothing product. Between resource manufacture and retail there are any number of product development processes, beginning with the sampling of a new garment, which is done at the fashion house or design studios of a clothing brand. Ten lucky meters of cotton might come straight from the textile warehouse to New York, Paris, London, Wellington or Sydney, for example, and be handled by designers themselves.
Once product development is handed off for production, thousands of meters might be scheduled for major detours before reaching those urban centers again. There is marking, cutting, sewing of the product, laundering and labeling, hanging and packaging for shipment. This might all be done in one factory, but depending on a production factory’s specialties and delivery promises, fashion houses might have relationships with a series of factories for different processes, different garments or varying lines of clothing in their range.
The Politics of Processing and Handling.
Textile and garment construction factories are often clustered in special zones of a country with cheap labor, called export processing zones. If all the production within an export processing zone is being made for destinations outside the country of origin, indeed if all exchange and trade between the owners of the plants and owners of the end products is conducted in a stronger currency than the local country’s, the stability of the local workers in these zones is notoriously shaky, and the questions arise: Who do they really work for? Can their local employers evade local taxes, local employment laws? Ultimately, the price of their labor in the local currency is the profit margin for the plant owners, selling hundreds of garments at a time in a stronger western currency by the single unit.
Zones can be so large – and the nature of their production so global – that it becomes cheaper and more efficient to house and service their worker populations there, very much like a country unto itself. There is a chance for them then to pay even less to their workers because deductions can be made for accommodation and food. This situation gives the processing zone owners more political clout when dealing with their workers’ local governments, who may endeavor to fight on the side of their people, but have no real say in the zone up against the business demands of the more wealthy global corporates that the zone transacts with.
But My Country Has No Export Processing Zone, What Does it Have to Do with Me?
It might seem remote to consider this from a ‘western’ nation such as New Zea land, for example, where the vast majority of textile resource, handling and production of the nation’s clothing is catered to from offshore. But New Zea land’s textile and clothing manufacture industries have dwindled and struggle to stay operating thanks to this vast and competitive operation in areas where the labor is so much cheaper, relatively. Western nations around the globe have governments that resign to letting these important industries go, ceasing to support them with business grants or tax breaks, because the investment seems hardly worth it in the global competitive stakes.
When you consider how vital clothing is to every individual on an everyday basis, it is sad to think that many nations cannot even realistically cater to their own populations anymore, thanks to the political economy of the global industry. Every nation that forgoes its own independent textile and garment construction industry is a non-sustainable nation.
Individuals in nations such as New Zea land come to take for granted that virtually all their clothing goes through customs and has a vast carbon footprint thanks to all that travel time around the globe. Sadly, this becomes even more …
Shopping in Chiang Mai: Shopping Malls and Superstores
One of the best things about Chiang Mai is that, despite being steeped in culture and history as well as traditional arts, it is Thailand’s second-biggest city. While not as densely packed as Bangkok (a plus, not a minus!), it has attracted its share of modern shopping malls, superstores and specialist markets. Though you will be here for cultural immersion and a tour through the temples, botanical gardens and tiger farms, sometimes you just want something with a little more glitz and, not least of all, air-conditioning.
Central Airport Plaza is currently the most prominent, shiniest shopping mall in Chiang Mai. It is housed in a complex that includes an exhibition hall and huge parking space, offering a range of restaurants and familiar brand names throughout its halls from Starbucks to Pizza Hut, though it is in no shortage of independent and Thai restaurants, clothing stores, and tech vendors. Notable is its unique feature, the Northern Village, which showcases handcrafted goods from local cottage industries in an attractive, well-decorated area spanning several floors. It also has an entire floor dedicated to computers, gadgets, mobile phones and hardware that’ll catch the eye of any tech-savvy traveler. On its topmost floor is the city’s largest cinema, the Major Cineplex. The Central Airport Plaza sends shuttles to prominent hotels to pick up guests and will also send you back: their shuttle is a yellow-green songtaew with their logo and usually stops by hourly. The mall itself is located at Mahidol Road, conveniently close to the Chiang Mai International Airport, a golf course, and several restaurants.
Central Kad Suenkaew is notable for its brick facade, which distinguishes it from other department stores and buildings in Chiang Mai. Its general layout and setup are similar to that of the Central Airport Plaza, but thanks to its latest renovation being over ten years past, it sports considerably more grunge and less glitz than its larger, more modernized cousin. The Kad Suankaew is located on Huay Kaew Road.
Lotus, also known as Tesco-Lotus, has been a success in Chiang Mai and opened two branches: Hangdong and Kamtiang, along with several smaller “Lotus Express” convenience stores located throughout gas stations in the province. While not overly glamorous, Lotus superstores do offer a great deal of convenience and travel-sized shampoos, facial foams, soaps and toothpaste that are essential to any trip. They function as shopping arcades, and each Tesco-Lotus includes a bookstore, a Black Canyon (a Thai caf?Ã¯Â¿Â½ franchise), and either a Pizza Hut or Pizza Company.
Rimping Supermarket, a Chiang Mai-only specialty supermarket, started off small and humble but has since grown into a multi-branch corporation that aims at the more upscale end of shoppers. It offers fresh, made-in-house bakery that is surprisingly excellent, produces from the Royal Project, and many imported snacks, cooking ingredients, breakfast cereals and more. At the time of writing, there are three large branches of Rimping and a smaller one; the largest three can be found by the Ping River, next to the Central Airport Plaza, and at the Ruamchoak Market. The Central Airport Plaza and Ruamchoak branches have the bonus of being bundled into a shopping arcade so you can do your dining as well as your shopping in one trip.
Central Festival Chiang Mai is one of the new projects that will be open for business in 2012. It is being built on a land that covers 46,500 square meters located on the Chiang Mai – Doi Saket super-highway, aiming for the same market as the Central Airport Plaza, but more: larger, more modern, more everything.
Promenada Chiang Mai, like Central Festival, will be operating in 2012. The difference is that it will include a resort and is a Swiss project, which hopes to attract truly upscale shoppers much like the Siam Paragon in Bangkok, with the prices and selection of stores and merchandise to match. Being further along in development than the Central Festival, it’s possible the Promenada will open by the end of 2011 rather than mid-2012.…
As one of the world’ s most favorite wedding venues, Italy is known for its beautiful scenery, special ambiance, fine wine, tasteful food, the warmth and passion of Italian. In tradition, Italy is a land of passion, love and romance. A wedding in Italy could be really incredible. But even if you can not transport your wedding to the Tuscan Countryside, you can also introduce some exuberant spirit of an Italian wedding home.
Weddings are considered to be a very bid deal in Italy. Thus there will be a great celebration of the union of the bride and the groom as well as the two families and their friends. The Italian wedding custom usually comes with a Nuptial Mass, following feasting, drinking and dancing. That could be really fun and exciting.
Italy is one of the most beautiful and temperate countries in the world, considered to be a perfect place to embark on a new life together. The breathtaking scenery will glut your eyes. As the home of some of the greatest works of art, Italy is also a great place for you to declare your love surrounded by historical churches, town halls or some architecture that contain vaulted ceilings and elegantly painted frescos. Also you can choose the Italian countryside, which is full of villas, gardens, medieval towers, and chateaus, for your stunning wedding venue. The possibilities for great locations of wedding in Italy are endless.
Food is truly of paramount importance of any Italian special occasion. Italian feasting is full of gourmet food that is standard and some most wines in the world. Traditionally the wedding dinner consists of fourteen courses, followed by cake with espresso and coffee. If your wedding is off the Italian, you can also honor your Italian ancestry with serving the special Italian dishes that your family hails. And even if you do not have a single drop of Italian blood, you also can add an Italian touch to your wedding in favor of authentic Italian cuisine.
When it comes to planning an Italian wedding, details do matter a great a deal. The keepsakes for guests, long-sleeved wedding dress, the cuisine and the wedding setting are all the great considerations. However, the great fun that includes some of the joyous spirits of the Italian does deserve all you have done.…
Lots More Shopping Malls You Can Explore in Singapore
Singapore is well known for its shopping and food. There are so many places to shop that you would be spoilt for choices. Most visitors will head towards Orchard Road or Scotts Road as they are the traditional shopping belt in Singapore. However, there are many other options available which you can explore, and possibly get a lot more out of your dollar.
There is many retail or shopping malls which are not within the central of Singapore. They are located in the regional neighborhoods serving mostly locals. That does not mean you will lose out on what is on offer. You can find top brands, both local and international, at such malls as well. Due to its cheaper rental and also the main intention of serving the locals, prices of the same products at these malls can be cheaper than what you can find at the central shopping belt.
Singapore is not a large place and has an excellent public transport system. With the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, you can reach these malls easily as most are just nearby stations. Even if you take a taxi or cab to any of these shopping malls, you should not be spending more than S$20 per way, depending on where you start your journey from and where you are headed to.
One of the most popular regional shopping mall would be Jurong Point Shopping Centre. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest neighborhood shopping mall and it is at the Boon Lay MRT Station (EW27), the west of Singapore. This shopping mall is well patronized by many locals and foreigners alike and you can find many shops offering clothes, shoes, bags, electronic items and many more. There are also a number of eateries offering a wide selection of both local and international food.
At the north part of the island, there is Northpoint, which is at Yishun MRT Station (NS13). This place is touted by many locals to be a gamers’ paradise. It recently added a new wing to its complex bringing more shopping and food space to the mall. If you are in Singapore looking for game consoles or discs, you should consider heading to Northpoint. This is besides the traditional popular electronics and gadgets shopping centers like Sim Lim Square, which is at Rochor, near Bugis MRT (EW12) station and Funan Centre near City Hall MRT (EW13) station.
One very popular shopping mall for the past decades with Singaporeans would probably be Parkway Parade. While it is not near any MRT stations, this popular shopping centre has been upgrading its facade and facilities continuously for the past years. Large consumer electronics retailers can all be found there, speaking well of the customers who throng the place especially during weekends. You can find shops selling personal accessories and more. Remember to visit the basement where you can find restaurants a food court which serves many local delights.
When you head towards the eastern part of Singapore, you will be spoilt for choices when it comes to shopping. From Eastpoint Mall Shopping Centre at Simei MRT (EW3) station, to White Sands Shopping Centre at Pasir Ris MRT (EW1) station you have two shopping malls which will definitely whet your shopping appetite.
At Tampines MRT (EW2) station, you have got three shopping malls all within less than 5 minutes of walking distance from each other. There is Tampines One, Tampines Mall and the Century Square. Century Square has in the recent years evolved to cater more for the ladies and even had a special day to allow only ladies to enter the shopping centre! Tampines One is the newest addition to the area and gives shoppers many brands which are not available elsewhere.
It is suggested you stay at a hotel which is around Bras Basah area where you can head towards Bugis Junction for your initial round of shopping before venturing to the neighborhood shopping malls. Just remember to plan your time and budget wisely to get the most out of your visit to Singapore.…
Shopping for the latest fashion can sometimes be difficult for a full-figured body. A fashion ensemble includes not just parts of clothing, but accessories as well. In every season, there is particular fashion at hand and there are various considerations in choosing women plus sizes for the fall. Since fall is cool, blazers are usually worn. Blazers plus sizes can be worn with a pair of denim jeans, khaki pants, flowing skirt, or pair of slacks. Your appearance is guaranteed to be versatile with a printed style blazer and a nice trouser. Blazers always take the outfit to another level and if paired with a nice pair of earrings and necklace, your outfit will be complete. But just remember not to wear plus sizes blazers that are too loose. Instead, look for one that fits you well. Just be sure to wear long blazers (at least below the buttocks) to deemphasize the size of the upper part. Besides, longer blazers create more vertical lines for a slimmer silhouette. Aside from blazers, the fall is a perfect time for most women wear closed shoes. For a sleeker look, wear women plus sizes shoes that are at least one inch tall. The taller you look, the better. Finally, fall is the perfect season to wear dark colored clothes. Dark colors can cover the imperfections of the full-figured body and will even create flattering looks.…
In a world where fashion brands have become an ultimate way of making a statement and expressing one?s lifestyle, cars and their logos are having a similar impact. Fans are not only driving their favorite cars, but are passionately showing off their logos on t-shirts, caps, bags, mobiles, key-chains, and even umbrellas! For a long time, the concept has been seen as a man?s idea of fashion, a sporty look just for car lovers. Yet recently the trend has caught up with all fashion-conscious people. Ladies are now tempted to wear the logos, perhaps to show their sense of adventure and risk-taking, or simply to show the support they have for a certain car.
Almost every car in the industry has created a unique line of products. It?s also becoming a fashionable look; wearing a fiery red Ferrari cap on the beach looks ?hot? nowadays, while sporting a BMW bag on a casual outing or trip looks polished and trendy.
Most recently, Porsche Design revealed a sleek collection in nothing but pure white- a classic summer color. From a Laptop case, shake pen and cufflinks to a cell phone and sunglasses, the luxury brand, inaugurated by Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche in 1972 has since been creating splendid kitchen items, electronic, eyewear, sportswear, luggage and accessories all marked by what they proudly claim is ?the engineering of performance?.
But Porsche isn?t the only company that realized their fans? eagerness to show off their cars in every way. Ford has their own range of apparel, bags, hats, ?beanies?, clocks and baby wear; a selection that is as sporty and practical as the car itself. Maintaining the car?s iconic colors and style seems to be followed strictly; it is as important as displaying the car logo at least once on every product. Ford?s men and ladies collections have one thing in common: the colors. Neutral, comfy-looking fabrics in grays, white, navy and baby blue make every item suitable for the beach, sports and casual outings.
While the practical, solid, ?everyday? cars create clothing and accessories that feel the same, cars like Rolls Royce and Bentley undoubtedly have their queue of fans. An owner or not, a Bentley fan will want to get his/ her hands on anything made by Bentley, and most importantly, with a flashy Bentley logo sprawled across. Scotts is an independent, UK-based company that specializes in servicing, supplying and servicing two of the world?s top luxury cars, Rolls Royce and Bentley, and one that is also authorized to sell their exclusive collectibles. Eye-catching Bentley driving gloves, fine twill silk Rolls Royce ladies headscarf, Rolls Royce sheepskin over-rugs are some of the exquisite items listed on Scotts website, with some prices mentioned and others available only on request.
Unique dog gear designed by Land Rover-such as a dog tee, a custom dog lead, a pet travel kit and a large fleece dog bone- takes car logos to a funnier level! While the Formula One ?18cm? teddy bears sit neatly, dressed in red F1 t-shirts covered with the Vodafone, Shell and Ferrari logos, waiting to be purchased by the next fan. Each company offers different search options online; BMW allows you to browse between men and women?s clothing while F1 categorizes their items by product, teams and drivers? names. These searching methods just prove the existing hysteria surrounding this car logo obsession. The concept isn?t much different from supporting a football team or any popular fashion brand!
Although this appears to be a new and rising trend, the link between cars and accessories is a historical one. The bond has been there ever since Alfred Dunhill was inspired by cars enough to design sophisticated watches made for car-lovers like himself. In 1903 Alfred Dunhill converted his father?s saddlery business into a major empire catering for almost every requirement of the motorist. He named his accessories ?Motorities? and began his trip of creating inspirational timepieces for the motor-driven customer.
For example, the Swiss-made, limited edition ?Citytamer? is a watch designed spectacularly with a gently curved rectangular body- a shape inspired by the bonnet of a period sports car. The ?Wheel Watch? is for the vintage car lover. If your passion is old cars, you will immediately see what inspired Alfred Dunhill in this model. The watch is shaped just like the metal ?spinners? which often used to attach wire wheels to period sports cars. More modern and high-tech is the ?Carwatch?. It is said to resemble the lines of a futuristic ?concept car?, being made of either steel or an ultra-light combination of titanium and stage-2 ceramic. But the most interesting part is the front of the watch, which is highlighted by an engraved ?number plate?, an interchangeable blank designed to take the number of your choice! The feature would probably appeal to …
The Best Shopping Malls in Bangkok
Bangkok shopping malls are big enough as well as plentiful enough to match virtually any American or European city. Here you’ll find a wide array of high end goods, brands and international dining establishments. Here is a listing of a few of the most popular shopping venues in town, where they are and the best buys at every place.
Siam Paragon Shopping Complex – Rama I Road, Pathumwan
Get ready for the ultimate in high class shopping at the extravagant, luxury Siam Paragon shopping center, the most recognized spot for Bangkok’s well off citizens. Be mindful however, for it comes with high prices to match its reputation. It’s full of designer label boutiques, such as the likes of Versace, Gucci as well as Chanel, with gourmet food restaurants, cinemas, arcades and more, Siam Paragon has it all, if you can afford it!
Where: Rama I Road, Pathumwan
Best Buys: Gold, jewelry, designer label outfits
MBK – Rama I Road, Pathumwan
The favored central shopping mall for lots of price minded tourists as well as Thais, MBK might almost be considered a Bangkok market with air condition. Gleaming and spotless like its neighbor Siam Paragon across the street, that’s where the paralels come to an end because you won’t find designer labels anywhere in here. MBK contains an amazing number of little shops and stalls, with the broadest variety of goods you’ll come across any place in the city. As well as the apparently unlimited variety of clothing, neclaces and souvenirs to choose from, MBK is perhaps most well known for its electrical goods, having one whole floor devoted to the sale of laptops, cell phones, CDs, mp3s and much more.
Where: Rama I Road, Pathumwan
Best Buys: PC accessories, mobiles, tailor made outfits
Platinum Mall – Phetchaburi Road, Ratchathewi
For shopping garments there’s simply no better location than the Platinum Mall inside the Pratunam area. Showcasing six floors of small shops as well as privately operated outlets, this new shopping mall is ideal for good deals on all kinds of clothing, which includes denim jeans, shirts, shorts, hats and caps, footwear, hand bags, jewelry, swimming wear as well as accessories of any kind.
Where: New Phetchaburi Road, Ratchathewi
Best Buys: Garments, fashion accessories, shoes and hand bags,
Pantip Plaza – New Phetchaburi Road, Ratchathewi
This particular indoor IT retail center houses a huge selection of little shops selling, fixing and buying all types of electronic products. Though it is most well-known for offering pirated copies of all types, good deals can be made there on computers, parts and repair.
Where: New Phetchaburi Road, Ratchathewi
Best Deals: PC parts and accessories, second-hand products of all kinds, pirated copies (even though this is illegal and the police have periodic crack downs)
In addition there are a number of other well known department stores such as The Emporium, Naraipan, Gaysorn Plaza and Central Plaza to name a few.
There are also various other popular shopping malls like The Emporium, Naraipan, Gaysorn Plaza and Central World to name a few.