Wednesday, February 22, 2006

USA WORKS Update and Product Reviews

A few months ago, I wrote about the dilemma facing customers and retailers who liked USA WORKS jeans but were concerned that they were being temporarily imported due to a fire at a Sapko sewing plant. Many readers participated in a blog poll on this topic, and a majority of you said you would feel better about continuing to support Sapko if the company would talk about their plans on their website.

Yesterday I noticed that the company has done just that—the Sapko website even has photographs of the burned facility. Since we got what we wanted, I think we should tell them thanks. I like this company and I like their jeans. I’m looking forward to the day when I can once again get USA WORKS with the pocket tag that says “Made by Hard Working Americans for Hard Working Americans.”

Product Reviews
In the interest of product research, I’ve been shopping again. (You wouldn’t expect me to recommend something without trying it out myself, would you?!)

  • I’m loving my Truck Jeans because of the stretch denim, though I confess I am having to get used to low-rise jeans. Needed a longer belt, so Natural Reflections to the rescue! Conard made me 2 belts, and a special-order child’s length too. Very nice leather and quick service.
  • C&C California: I was very happy with the clingy fit of the extra long sleeved tee, though the sheer tee really needs to be layered, which effectively doubles the price—ouch! The best selling point is the wide range of colors and the very quick shipment. I am layering with A.S.Tees.
  • American Apparel: The Classic Girl Sustainable Edition tank is totally soft and made from 100% certified organic cotton. It makes a great layer under tees. Thanks to my niece for that one! (Buy Classic Girl T-Shirts from American Apparel.)
  • Perfect pj’s: I teamed up Boxercraft tartan flannel lounge pants (available from with Wickers mid-weight tees to create cozy pj’s that didn’t make me look like my grandmother. I love my Wickers!! They’re almost sinful.
More later on new additions to

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Do Buy: Danish Havarti

Danish FlagWith all due respect to my friends in the Wisconsin dairy industry, I recommend that all of us go out and buy something Danish in support of the good people of Denmark.

I regret the offense taken by Moslems to cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed. I support the right of any people to march in protest and to use the economic power of the boycott. That said, the publication of ANY cartoon is no justification for violent public displays and the torching of embassies.

I am weary of hearing “Death to (fill in the blank)” in the name of religion and/or national pride. We humans share the globe. We hold a variety of religious and life views. Mutual respect and tolerance are needed if we are ever to understand one another. Dividing the world into “us” and “them” in the name of religion, governing philosophy, physical appearance, or whatever is surely taking us down the wrong road.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Farewell to Dan River Mills

Almost unnoticed, the Dan River Inc. textile mill slipped quietly under the waters of the global economy. Dan River was best known for its bed-in-a-bag comforter, bed skirt, and sheet sets. It’s hardly news when a U.S. textile mill ceases production, but this time it feels personal. Virginia-based Dan River filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2004, and emerged from bankruptcy a year ago, only to be purchased by an Indian firm this year. The small paragraph in The Washington Post (Metro Section, January 15) read like an obituary: “Plant Closing to Cost 500 Jobs.”

Gujarat Heavy Chemicals, which bought Dan River last month, plans to idle the Virginia mill and move the remainder of production overseas where it is cheaper. Maybe U.S. labor and environmental standards will be applied, but how will we know?

As with Timex, Pfaltzgraff, Levi and others before it, the brand will survive but the American jobs will not. There will still be Dan River comforters and sheets, but they will be made in China, India, and Pakistan. I wonder if consumers will even notice? In March, nearly 500 former Dan River employees will line up at the unemployment office and I will keep reading labels and looking for products still made in USA.