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The suiting thread

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7 hours ago, takashi said:

You should teach one subject in the univ.

 

I can't. I can barely treat customers as customers, I find it impossible to treat students as customers. Also, looking at the entry requirements (at least 3 C's in SPM, other subjects can be F's), it would be like teaching at a school for special needs children.

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It has been a whole day, from morning till now. There is no end to the work the business generates. I caught sight of this view of the Pfaff and the streetlights outside, and photographed it. The design of this Pfaff was heavily influenced by Olivetti. Back in those days, Olivetti was like Appel today---its take on industrial design was revolutionary. I would have thought the Germans would have stuck with the Braun-inspired Bauhaus design; this is one of those exceptions. 

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Just now, I found a good way to handle the cloth labels. Stick them to the paper patterns. I felt like a genius for coming up with this system, until it dawned on me it took me six years to figure it out.

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They included a booklet to extoll the virtues of Escorial. If you strip away all the marketing, Escorial remains a very remarkable cloth, totally unlike merino.

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I found someone who makes blouson jackets. This is a garment type I'm really interested in.

I discussed with him how one cuts a blouson, and it's not that different from a suit jacket, except for the fly front, and a certain special treatment near the top of center front.

I think Escorial is a great fabric for a blouson jacket.

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A tailored blouson solves a problem many people have. When a shirt is too bare skin, and a tailored jacket too formal, a tailored blouson is perfect.

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I've been rejecting requests for appointments almost totally lately. Which is to say, if we've never met and you'd like to come to commission a suit, I can't do it.

Mostly because I took on a big order for a group of groomsmen. But also due to quality of life reasons (don't want to work that hard).

The original plan I had was to abandon suits, and start sewing jeans, myself, from home. One jeans a day. Why? Because that way, I get to spend time here where it is nice and pleasant, instead of having to go down to KL which is unfit for humans to live in. Also, I no longer have to deal with retarded sewing tailors anymore.

But suits keep growing. Efforts to scale up capacity have not been sufficient, partly because I keep firing those I hire. There are so many opportunities left unexploited for years: new foreign markets, new products (tailored casual wear), product innovations, new marketing opportunities (engagement with celebrities, etc.), etc.

Instead, all that happens at JT is suits and more suits for the KL market.

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I'm currently making nine jackets in this Piacenza navy puppytooth seersucker. In fact, I like the cloth so much that I'm ordering 10 jacket lengths---one is for me. It's for a group of groomsmen, almost all of whom are cousins. They are pairing the jacket with cream trousers in VBC and a pale blue shirt in Soktas.

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Two part timers working simultaneously. Both are from UM. I have a third one, also from UM, who starts this Thursday as my dispatch rider.

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Throughout this series by the BBC, the presenter wears one suit only. It has an unusual and distinctive silhouette. When I saw it, I instantly recognised it: Chittleborough & Morgan. The opening scene in the first episode shows off the appearance and behavior of the suit really well.

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My efforts at reducing the number of suits we have to make have not been too successful. The groom of the groomsmen I mentioned above went for two suits himself. When I ignored an email enquiry by a stranger, he called me asking to set an appointment. I said I'm driving and will answer his email later. Later that evening, he wrote to me saying he's still waiting for my reply. No way out of that one for me.

I also ignored an email by a British professor who wants a morning suit and a lounge suit. Two days later, his office called me, and will not relent until I give them an appointment. I literally could not put the phone down without confirming an appointment. I didn't know people used such guerilla tactics.

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They still look like this. Very non-generic. There is a financial cost to not being more mainstream/generic, so these people have courage.

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The guys from Icon Magazine. This is a Chinese language fashion magazine. In the last issue, they interviewed Bernard Chandran. I felt so grumpy and sleep-deprived when I drove to the shop to do this interview. Actually I still feel this way.

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You know, I'm thinking JT shouldn't become like Rolex. JT should be like Seiko. Anyone can afford a Seiko. You have the Seiko 5 for casual sports watches and budget watches. At every price tier, Seiko has a very credible product. All the way to the Grand Seiko, passing through the Spirit, Presage and Prospex.

That way, it becomes a benevolent brand, one which does its duty of providing solutions to everyone. It's also the best value brand, due to its scale which enables automation and lower per-unit development cost.

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Spent five hours today pillion riding behind my part time dispatch rider as I showed him all the relevant locations. Also had a 40 liter box installed behind his motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle, it occured to me, is an exercise in avoiding being crushed to death.

The guy starts his 6-month internship at EY in July, during which he can do evenings and weekends only.

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Yesterday and today have been two of the most unbelievable days of my tailoring career. Yesterday, I had Part Timer A in the shop. I saw about six customers. I actually napped in between appointments. The entire backroom operation was handled by the part timer, who has been with me for almost half a year now. As the day ended, I felt curiously fresh. Like I hadn't really worked that day.

Today was even more unusual. Part Timer B was in the shop, and performed solidly at a variety of tasks. After a vegetarian lunch (he's vegetarian too), I sent him out to 1U to post an urgent parcel to a customer in Penang, and to buy a packet of coffee beans. While he was in 1U, Dispatch A (3rd year accounting student at UM) came by the shop to pick up some work packages which Part Timer A had prepared yesterday for delivery to the sewing tailors across KL.

While all this work was being done, I was drinking green tea on the balcony (as I was out of coffee).

I also have a Dispatch B, who is another UM student, who will share the logistics work with Dispatch A.

I did not know operating a company can be so effortless.

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Both Part Timer A and B told me that they have friends who were wondering if there are more vacancies at JT. I said I'm fine for now, unless they are leaving, in which case I'd need their replacement.

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I replaced the LED bulb with an incandescent bulb in this table lamp. It's a 75W halogen bulb, about 100 lumen. This is not retro for its own sake. I've found LED and also fluorescent lamps to be be quite fake. Obviously, there is nothing like sunlight. But for indoor task lighting, you don't always get enough sunlight. Incandescent operates on the principle of heating a metal so much that it glows. As such, it is closely related to log fire or candlelight and feels quite natural. LED and flourescent just feel a little unnatural to me. I've tolerated, but never liked them.

The other sort of light I greatly admire and which comes close to sunlight is the light given off by camera flashes which operate on the Xenon arc discharge principle. It's a full daylight spectrum light. I wonder if it is possible to use Xenon lamps to light living spaces.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'll never actually have the time to start Sava. I don't even have the time to market Sava. So, I'm thinking, for once in my life, pretty much everything that happens in Sava will be done by hired people. I'll hire people to market it, and hire people to make the product. My job is to find the right people and work out a suitable compensation. For marketing and product development, I think I'll approach people who have had a multi-year fascination with jeans and are highly engaged with online communities of enthusiasts and ask if they'd market Sava for me. I sort of identified one just now, until I saw his post asking if U. of Nottingham in Malaysia, which has a 6B's in SPM entrance minimum, would accept him with his 5B's. If all you managed in SPM is 5B's, then you're too dumb to market anything. In a more mature economy like Germany's, only a third of school leavers go to one of three kinds of universities. 70% go to trade school where they learn a trade like automotive repair, production machine maintenance, business administration and etc. Here, everybody gets an academic degree. I wonder if people realise how absurd this is. With 6B's in SPM, you do not go to university. You go to a trade school.

To make the jeans, I'm thinking of hiring the two jeans seamstresses I've mentioned before.

For venue, I'm thinking a unit at Halo Sunday, which has two advantages: it's only RM1K/month, and it's a short walk from the Colonial Loft tower, where JT is based.

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The diagram above pretty much sums up the difference between high quality light (the light which comes closest to sunlight) and low quality light. Both flourescent and LED lamps emit low quality light because they do not have the same wavelength profile as sunlight. To create a white light, they emit spikes of light at a few wavelengths. When these wavelengths mix together, you get something which resembles white light. But it is not a continuous spectrum. It feels fake. It might look like a white light, but over time, as you live in rooms illuminated in such a way, you keep asking yourself just WTF is wrong with this damned light. At least I do.

Incandescent and xenon arc discharge both emit a continuous spectrum of light, with tungsten being biased towards the IR end of the spectrum while xenon has a remarkably flat profile. I've since done some reading about xenon short arc discharge lamps. Wikipedia says that "it produces a bright white light that closely mimics natural sunlight, which extends its applications into the film, and daylight simulation industries." It's used in cinema movie projectors. Which makes complete sense. The reason it's not used in homes?

"In order to achieve maximum efficiency, the xenon gas inside short-arc lamps is maintained at an extremely high pressure — up to 30 atmospheres (440 psi / 3040 kPa) — which poses safety concerns. If a lamp is dropped, or ruptures while in service, pieces of the lamp envelope can be thrown at high speed."

"Because of the safety concerns, lamp manufacturers recommend the use of eye protection when handling xenon short-arc lamps. Because of the danger, some lamps, especially those used in IMAX projectors, require the use of full-body protective clothing."

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I looked around to see if I'm the only one who dislikes flourescent and LED lights, and found the work of Dr Alexander Wunsch, a medical doctor with a private practice in Heidelberg. The human organism interacts with light in complex ways. He explains just a few of these interactions in this interview, eg.

1. How our bodies respond to different wavelengths of light

2. Why LEDs are very poor approximations of sunlight

3. How LEDs cause macular degeneration through oxidative stress

4. How LEDs mess up our endocrine system

5. How flickering lights like flourescent and LEDs cause nervous system fatigue

 

Btw, Dr Wunsch is also a good example of the sort of "ideal student" of real universities. If you don't see yourself thinking and talking like him, university is not the ideal place for you.

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