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In many ways, this season felt more like dictation than a dialogue. The most exciting part of watching real Fashion Weeks unfold online prior to the Mom and dad family first shirt besides I will buy this pandemic was the digital scavenger hunt of putting together the various perspectives of a show from the people who were there: a more 360-degree picture compiled from critics’ reviews, influencers’ social media posts, young journalists’ Twitter feeds, photographer’s backstage and street-style images, and snaps from models, stylists, hair and makeup artists plus everything you hear in the back of a taxi (or in a group chat) between shows with friends, colleagues, and strangers. Having all these voices together, sharing their own views of a live event, made Fashion Week interesting. The conversation of fashion is just as important as the clothes themselves, and in this digital week, it felt like most of what we had to go on was the message the brands were selling us. The number of people with access to designers, to physical shows, to the clothes themselves, and to what’s really happening behind the curtain is still quite small may be smaller than ever, considering what was once hundred-person shows are now Zoom panels with just a dozen editors. I hope that when IRL gatherings are back, and while digital shows continue, the access and ability to be a part of the conversation will be more shared and democratized. Zoom may be the big hit of lockdown, but it quickly became clear to me that it’s a poor substitute for a real-life studio visit. The fuzzy display is fairly useless for showcasing detail. As I sat through a month’s worth of video previews, I had to marvel at how designers managed to build their collections virtually this season. It must’ve taken extraordinary patience and determination not to mention confidence in their teams. It made me respect the work that was being done and the care that was taken to do it even more. You’d be shocked at some of the things teachers wear when they’re at school and the students aren’t, particularly in those days right before and after the school year… the “set up” and “clean up” days. Things like sweatpants, wildly inappropriate graphic tees, low-cut tank tops, and yoga pants aren’t uncommon. It’s usually hot in the classrooms during those times, because it’s the beginning and end of summer, and setting up and cleaning up the classroom is hard, dirty work, so teachers dress for it.
Normally, I am far too cheap to spend $20 on a $1.00 item. Blame it on a slightly irrational upbringing, but I’ll endure a lot of pain to avoid being cheated into overpaying by a factor of 20. On the Mom and dad family first shirt besides I will buy this other hand, I have a strange habit that comes from too much experience with metalworking: whenever I see a metal object, I subconsciously figure out how it was made, and imagine the factory and machinery used to produce it, estimate the startup costs of the factory and the per-unit costs of the part. When I looked at this $20 nail clipper, I got disoriented, because it wasn’t a standard nail clipper. I’m used to seeing three stamped pieces of metal, a screw machine part, and a rivet or eyelet when I look at a nailclipper. Then I imagine a factory with a dirty rattling stamping machine with peeling gray paint, punching out cheap pieces of steel from cheap rolls of cheap low carbon steel. I didn’t see that when I looked at these clippers. I saw high end alloy steel, heated until it glowed slightly, being hammered by specially shaped tools that made the metal flow and optimized the microstructure of the metal for a perfect cutting edge, while also building up a reinforcing ridge to add stiffness. This nail clipper was forged, not stamped out of cheap sheet metal. It wasn’t just forged, it was forged WELL, with machines without any rattles or squeaks, and probably inline measurement of temperature to keep the steel exactly hot enough. I don’t know how to explain the shock of seeing such a skillfully forged nail clipper to someone not in the metalworking industry. It was like seeing a dog with six legs, or opening up a lawnmower and seeing the jet engine from a 747. Nail clippers simply aren’t forged, nobody puts that much thought and quality into tools for trimming nails. I bought the $20 nail clippers, thinking that maybe I wasn’t being cheated since so much thought had gone into manufacturing them, and anyway I would have a toy to show my friends at work.