Archive for Rag Trade

Stronger than Trabants

I admit, I can’t read the model’s expression on this package:

Package of Enda brand pantyhose

It’s a look that definitely predates German reunification in 1990: these are East German tights, mit Gesäßerweiterung, which Google persists in altering just enough to mean “with vasodilation.” So: East German support hose, and why the heck not?

Back then Esda was using some mysterious fiber called “Dederon,” which turns out to be a version of Perlon/Nylon 6 that the DDR chose to name for itself. Esda’s plant in Auerbach, Saxony apparently still exists, though the company is now a part of Ergora Fashion GmbH in nearby Oberlungwitz.

Personal note: Back in the 1990s, I had a dental hygienist who looked almost exactly like this, minus the eyeroll, at least from here up: I never saw her in a dress. Which is probably just as well, since I’d probably have asked her to run away with me¹ to Germany or something.

¹ Yeah, right.

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Orange you interested?

I can almost always find a reason not to watch Fox News, though I suspect I miss out on a whole lot of gratuitous eye candy that way.

Yesterday, Harris Faulkner, one of the four female panelists on the Fox series Outnumbered — there’s one token guy in the middle — sent up this little image:

This is double, and maybe quadruple, the number of orange shoes you’re likely to see on an ostensible news program, reason enough for me to mention it here. The shoes themselves are perhaps overly pointy, though not to Rosa Klebb levels, and somebody complained about Kennedy’s little tricolor. (Incidentally, that’s not Kennedy’s Twitter account: this is.) Imagine if she’d showed us her elephant.

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Form perhaps following function

Nine West is offering a collection titled, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, “Starter Husband Hunting.” (Presumably, more advanced techniques, whatever they might be, call for different shoes.) This is part of something they call Shoe Occasions, and you’ll find this shoe in the page header:

Chillice by Nine West

This style is called “Chillice,” and it appears here in “Natural Black/Multi Pony.” I guess I’d notice that. (It’s ten bucks cheaper — $99 — in black.) The pitch:

A crisscross vamp and an adjustable ankle strap closure give our Chillice pointy toe pumps those inevitable double-takes. Padded footbed provides all-day, into-the-evening comfort. Leather or pony upper; simply mouse over your favorite color for upper information. Man-made lining and sole. Imported. 4″ high heels.

Incidentally, a member of the site staff opened up a chat window while I was snagging the picture. I should have told said staffer that it didn’t come in my size. (It does go up to 12.)

Addendum: Do you think maybe they need more than two Shoe Occasions?

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A memory left behind

Women of a certain age may relate to this:

I remember with the few friends I did have — who were kids from families that were frugal like mine — whispering furtively “lard-ass jeans” about the Jordache jeans (I think that may have been a joke on SNL?). Whispering furtively because “ass” was a bad bad bad word and we could have got in SO MUCH TROUBLE had a teacher overheard. Heh.

Actually, it went far beyond “joke on SNL”:

In 1984, Jordache Enterprises, Inc. was the designer jeans behemoth of its day, grossing about $400 million annually. Jordache had just launched a $30 million ad campaign to keep up the momentum.

That same year, two Albuquerque women, Susan Duran and Marsha Stafford, started a home-based company to market a brand of designer jeans for plus-sized women.

The two ladies were passionate about their new venture. Duran, 35 (5’8″, 190 pounds), and Stafford, 33 (5’7″, 170 pounds), had long wanted to create jeans for the amply-proportioned woman.

They considered a variety of brand names for the new company — Calvin Swine, Vidal Sowsoon, Seambusters, Buffalo Buns, Thunder Thighs. In the end, they chose Lardashe.

Jordache, of course, was not amused:

During the three-day trial, an attorney for Jordache said, “The term Lardashe, which everybody understands to be lard ass, is an offensive, insensitive term to use to apply to overweight women.” He claimed that potential customers might think Lardashe jeans were a Jordache product and could take offense… The District Court in New Mexico held, and an appeals court later affirmed, that no trademark infringement had occurred.

There was, however, one unexpected later development:

Although the ladies won, the legal battle proved to be particularly costly for Stafford. She developed an ulcer and lost 60 pounds, making her too svelte for Lardashe jeans.

She and her partner solved the problem by creating a new line of Lardashe junior sizes.

Eventually, Lardashe was wound down. Jordache survives today, although they’ve diversified into lots of other product lines, and their jeans are no longer considered even slightly iconic.

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You’ll have a ball

And apparently you don’t need to hold it up, either:

1950s advertisement for NoMend hosiery

Mayer-Beaton Corporation of Wayne, New Jersey owned this brand, which was made in a mill in Philadelphia that closed around 1955. The company still owned several brands of unmentionables after that; trademarks owned by them started to show up as Cancelled Section 8 — no declaration of continued use — in the 1980s.

I also got a CD cover out of this.

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In which Mindy projects

There’s actually no projected date for the publication of Mindy Kaling’s second book, Why Not Me? It didn’t stop her, though, from putting up some Instagrams from the photo shoot for the book cover, a couple of which I’ve borrowed, with the help of InStyle.

This first lacy thingumabob comes from Dolce & Gabbana:

Mindy Kaling in D and G

And this, with pockets yet, from 5th & Mercer:

Mindy Kaling in 5th and Mercer

If you’re not familiar with 5th & Mercer, it’s a line designed by La La Anthony, who is married to NBA star Carmelo Anthony. The shoes are all Jimmy Choos.

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There are also wardrobe adjustments

About three years ago, I posted an item about one Andrej Pejić, a rather androgynous fellow who actually looked really good in a print ad for a bra. I said at the time:

[Pejić is] arguably the prettiest six-foot-two blond(e) working the runway today. I’d argue that he sells the product remarkably well, inasmuch as it brings a figure with no actual bewbage at all up to an almost-solid B.

That figure has changed a bit since then: Pejić has added an A to her first name and has undergone sexual-reassignment surgery. Apparently this is what she always wanted:

I figured out who I was very early on — actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet — so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much. Especially to my peers [who] couldn’t understand things like “trans” and gender identity. And then obviously the modeling thing came up, and I became this androgynous male model, and that was a big part of my growing up and my self-discovery. But I always kept in mind that, ultimately, my biggest dream was to be a girl. I wasn’t ready to talk about it before in a public way because I was scared that I would not be understood. I didn’t know if people would like me. But now I’m taking that step because I’m a little older — I’m 22 — and I think my story can help people. My goal is to give a human face to this struggle, and I feel like I have a responsibility.

Certainly this will make matters a bit simpler for the gatekeepers in modeling:

[W]hen I first moved to London. It was like, I’d walk into the boys’ casting, and they were like, “No … you don’t belong here.” And then at the girls’ casting, they were like, “Why are they sending us boys?” So it took time for everyone to get on board. It wasn’t all sweet sailing.

For the non-fashionista, the place you’re most likely to have seen Pejić is David Bowie’s 2013 video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” the existence of which offers up two layers of irony: Bowie’s own long-ago flirtation with androgyny, circa Ziggy Stardust, and the unexpected Woman of a Certain Age appearance of Tilda Swinton, who much of the time aspires to look like Conan O’Brien. As Ray Davies once said: “It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.”

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Like this stuff grows on trees or something

After World War II, DuPont, inventor of nylon, went back to vending it as a silk substitute, but a lot of wholly unrelated requests came in over the transom, and the versatile polymer was pressed (or extruded, or whatever) into service in many different forms. One of the least likely, perhaps, was Remington’s Nylon 66 rifle, with nylon stock and receiver; they sold a million of them, and heaven knows how much .22LR, in thirty years.

But in the 1950s, DuPont’s bread and butter for nylon was still the garment industry, and when they came up with new dyed versions of the fiber, well, this was the result:

DuPont institutional ad for stockings in color

(Note: This embiggens to over 1.2 MB.)

Hosiery manufacturers rushed to take advantage of the new colors, just in time for the Sixties.

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Arch nemeses

Once upon a time, there was a guest on David Letterman’s show — don’t remember if it was on NBC or CBS — who was billed as having the perfect foot, the standard by which shoemakers judge their lasts. I remember very little about her except her size, which was either a 6 or a 6½, decidedly smaller than average, and I speak as someone who (for a short time) dated a woman who wore a size 4.

Shoemakers are having to spend more on materials today, it appears:

U.S. shoe makers including Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan report average sizes are creeping up. And retailers are watching the extended-size market carefully. Nordstrom has seen strong sales of larger sizes, says Anne Egan, national merchandise manager for salon shoes. It has held special in-store events for extended-size customers, including women who wear up to a size 14 and men who wear up to a size 20. Long Tall Sally, a U.K.-based apparel and footwear retailer that gets almost half its sales from North America, sells the most shoes in U.S. sizes 12 and 13, says Chief Executive Andrew Shapin. Size 15, added earlier this year, now makes up 10% of its footwear business.

I’m hoping this means that a men’s size 14 will soon be common enough to stock in places that don’t routinely charge me three figures a pair — and then I think of Shaquille O’Neal, always reported as size 22, who now claims to wear a 23. (And truth be told, I might be a candidate for 15s now, or at least an additional E on my 14s.)

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The advantage of transparency

The Shoe Girl, a favorite around these parts, informed her vast audience that “Clearly, these are sexy shoes.” I, of course, took a look:

Clear Manolos from Saks

Doing due diligence, I asked her about them; said she, they were Manolo Blahniks from Saks.

I didn’t see them among the current Manolos (166 styles!) on the Saks Web site, but she never said they were new; for all I know, they’d been sitting in her closet for ages and were recently unearthed. They appear to be part of his long-running Chaos range, which typically sells for $725.

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Say yes to Z Dress

I might be excessively impressed by this, largely because I have no idea how difficult to live with it might be, but what I can see, I sort of like:

Z Dress Lookbook from Anastasia on Vimeo.

Then again, I used to own a couple of reversible ties. If you must judge me, judge me for that.

(Seen here.)

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Faye accompli

Faye Emerson, born on this date in 1917, sticks in my mind because she did all manner of television in the 1950s: variety shows, game shows, you name it. Of course, she didn’t start out that way: in the 1940s she was on the Warner Bros. studio payroll, and while she never made it up to the A-list, she was pretty much always working, and pretty much always pretty:

Faye Emerson, starlet

Curiously, while I was out looking for additional photos, I encountered this phenomenon:

Faye Emerson wardrobe malfunction

This 1950 clip, once you get past the Pepsi promotion, illustrates how such a thing could be possible in that sanitary age:

Bonus: Steve Allen in his late twenties.

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Like a Bosphorus

I usually don’t bother to show you jeans advertising, especially Turkish jeans advertising, but one thing led to another, and besides, it’s in Istanbul, which remains one of my favorite cities despite the fact that I haven’t been there in nearly forty years.

Anyway, this is the spot:

The chap is named Francisco Lachowski, as un-Turkish a name as you’re likely to find in beautiful downtown Byzantium, but it was, I must admit, the young lady who caught my eye: Serenay Sarıkaya, twenty-three today, first runner-up in the 2010 Miss Turkey pageant, representing Ankara, the capital. (She was born in Antalya.) Before I saw the TV spot, I saw this still, which someone apparently snagged from a Flash piece:

Serenay Sarıkaya for Mavi Jeans

What prompted all this, actually, was happening upon a reference to Mavi Jeans, a Turkish denim brand: “Mavi” being the Turkish word for “blue,” I got a bit giggly for a moment, and maybe more so when I found their American storefront — which is built on a Tumblr blog.

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As if some day their Prince might come

“Wonderful,” sniffed McGehee. “Designer metatarsals.”

Five years later, it’s a thing:

“It didn’t help that my feet were a huge size eight, which meant shoes looked ungainly, and my second and third toes were longer than my big toes. I would squeeze my feet into shoes two sizes smaller, so my toes were always sore and covered in corns. I knew I was making my feet look even worse, but I couldn’t bear to wear big, ugly shoes. Because I work in the beauty industry, I spend all day looking at people’s feet, which made me even more unhappy with my own.”

So Paulina, 30, hit upon a drastic solution: so-called “Cinderella surgery”, a range of controversial new cosmetic procedures that alter the shape and size of a woman’s feet to improve their appearance.

Paulina being British, she’d wear a size 10 over here, which doesn’t strike me as huge. (Then again, my daughter wears a 10, so perhaps I’ve had time to adjust, and besides, most quotidian footwear is offered in at least 5 through 10 inclusive.)

The British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society would like you to know that they don’t endorse this sort of thing for “purely cosmetic reasons.” And I can’t imagine any shoes so utterly wonderful that you’d pay a price far exceeding any reasonable shoe price — Paulina said she forked over £4500 — to be able to wear them.

Which, come to think of it, makes the “Cinderella” name kind of silly; she was the one who actually could wear the slipper proffered by the Prince. Then again, if it really fit, why did it slip off her foot when she was making her midnight escape?

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Now pay attention, dirndl

Amazingly, Say Yes to the Dress has run for ten seasons on TLC. I haven’t watched much of it, but I suspect there were moments when someone might have said No, though they may not have made it into the final edit.

There are, of course, other things one might say to a dress:

3. “Why don’t you have any pockets?”

10. “That is an unreasonable place to put a zipper.”

13. “It’s freezing. Please stop exposing so much of my skin. I feel like you’re doing this on purpose. It’s at least a little passive-aggressive. Your fabric is so sheer! What are you even made of, whispers?”

“No,” it turns out, is number 15.

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Proper post-Soviet flats

A Russian lawmaker is pushing a measure which would ban high heels anywhere in the Russian Federation:

Oleg Mikheyev, a lawmaker with the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party, says high heels, as well as trainers, ballet flats and men’s loafers, are bad for people’s health, and it’s time to take action, the Agence France-Presse reported.

“Footwear should have heels that are two to four centimeters high, five centimeters high at the most,” Mr. Mikheyev said in a proposal to the Customs Union, which also includes ex-Soviet states Belarus and Kazakhstan, AFP reported.

“The harmful effects of wearing extremely high heels and flat shoes have now been recognized by experts of the entire world,” it read. “It’s necessary to change this trend.”

Ninotchka, pick up on line two, please.

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Seams to me

Socks are not exactly mysterious — I put on a pair at least six days a week — but every now and then I notice that they’re not perfectly lined up. It doesn’t really matter, except for that little area between trouser hemline and shoe top, and probably not there either, but I do get exercised over such things.

Which makes me wonder how in the world women were able to put up with seamed stockings. One answer, circa 1953:

Larkwood hosiery ad from 1953

But seams were on the way out, what with the arrival of circular knitting machines, which had existed since the 1930s but were not perfected until after World War II.

Chadbourn, the Charlotte-based manufacturer of Larkwood, wound up also owning the Hudson brand.

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Not your mom’s shoes

Something called the 2014 Wildlife Conservation Society Gala took place at New York’s Central Park Zoo, and Chelsea Clinton, somewhere around 16 weeks pregnant, put in a vaguely Kardashianesque appearance:

Chelsea Clinton at 2014 Wildlife Conservation Society Gala, New York

This prompted some Smitty snark:

We’ll let Dustbury review the footwear, but how about the trou? As Obama’s fundamental transformation of our country continues to move us off that pesky Constitution and pave the way for Rule By Overlords, it’s important that the peasantry be afforded at least the hope of distraction by fashion.

As Her Majesty uncoils from her torpor and prepares for residence in the Oval Throneroom, the peasants can be pleased at the style on display by the underpaid, pauper princess.

I should be so underpaid. Maybe then I, like Chelsea, could afford shoes with a four-figure price tag. (I do well to be able to buy — occasionally — something in the low three figures.)

Still, this is a pretty standard, as distinguished from custom couture, Christian Louboutin peep-toe pump:

Close-up of Chelsea Clinton's shoes

And, unlike some of her ostensible Hollywood peers, she seems to have gotten close to the right size. I’ll give her a B-plus, knocking off a couple of points for that weird blue stuff on her toes. As for the trou: like I said, Kardashianesque, although Kimmie always creates the illusion that she’s had something — collagen, helium, Oreo Double Stuf — injected into her seat, something one simply does not look for behind a Clinton. Besides, there’s the question of whether leggings actually qualify as pants.

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I think I wear a 666

Neil Kramer sees a sign, and it changes his life:

List of Levi's jeans

What if I tried every single style Levi’s jean, making note of which jeans made my ass look the best, and then wrote about it in my first “fashion and lifestyle” post for middle-aged men, inspiring a whole generation to look to me as their sartorial guru? Who knows — by next year, I could be in a YouTube advertisement on the E-train, next to the fifteen year old YouTube stars?

And so he did, and at the link you can see him in every single one.

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Some spring in your step

Are these “the most comfortable heels ever”?

Kinetic Traces by Silvia Fado Moreno

Here’s the pitch:

[T]here’s a new heel in the works that looks pretty spectacular, and promises to break many of the negative shoe stereotypes that I hold dear. They’re equipped with hydraulic springs and shock absorbing rubber balls, so that you literally feel like you’re walking on air.

The Kinetic Traces collection by London College of Fashion alum Silvia Fado Moreno offers intriguing looking shoes with all of the support that we need to walk healthier. Every step is cushioned by springy heel technology, designed to ease foot pain, and minimize the feeling of walking in heels. And did I mention how cool they look? Seriously. These are totally the shoes of the future. Judy Jetson would probably wear them daily.

Far be it from me to frown at Judy Jetson. (The style you see is not, I assure you, the only one under development.)

And this statement from the designer caught my eye: “The mechanism can be bespoke according to bodyweight.” Variable, um, load-carrying capacity? I’m impressed.

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Huge hugeness

This is startling for a couple of reasons:

Inga Eiriksdottir began modeling in her native Iceland when she was just 14 years old. But as her body changed, the modeling industry didn’t change along with her. Although she had appeared in campaigns for brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Max Mara and had worked with esteemed fashion photographers including Patrick Demarchelier and Steven Meisel, her agency, Ford Models, switched her over to its plus-size division when she was 21 years old. The 5’10″ Eiriksdottir was a size 6 at the time, having started her career as a size 2. Though she saw other models taking extreme measures to stay thin, Eiriksdottir, who is also a trained yoga teacher, refused to put her body through unhealthy regimens in order to be superskinny.

From the Department of Syntactic Quibbles: Icelanders don’t have surnames. This is Inga, who is the daughter of Eirik.

But I have to wonder: what color is the sky in a world where size 6 — size six, fercrissake — is deemed “plus”?

(Via this Dan McLaughlin tweet.)

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Vans are waiting

Oh, I’m sorry. Unless you’re British, it’s “Vans is waiting”:

The Hello Kitty x Vans summer 2014 collection has arrived! Vans.com says that this collection is:

“Inspired by Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary and graphics from the 70′s, the Vans x Hello Kitty Authentic is a simple low top, lace up with a durable printed canvas upper, metal eyelets, Vans flag label and Vans original Waffle Outsole.”

Of course, if you want something slightly less low and slightly less Authentic, we recommend the SK8-Hi Slim:

Vans SK8-Hi Slim Hello Kitty Edition

These will run you $70; the non-high-tops are about $15 less and are distinctly less subtle in appearance.

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Plum delight

How did I miss this? Angie Harmon, at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April, in a delightfully tiny Roberto Cavalli:

Angie Harmon at 49th ACM Awards

The usual question — Rizzoli or red carpet? — remains tantalizingly unanswered.

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Just slightly cut away

Announcements like this do get my attention:

This is similar to the existing Louboutin “Impera” shoe, although Impera was done up in gold-colored leather. I think I like this better. The heel height seems to be the same: 100 mm. And I give thanks that no one on my gift list has expressed a desire for these. (Impera, before it sold out, went for a cool $1295.)

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Keeps the creepers away

Or at a distance, anyway:

Subway creepers may have met their match in artist Kathleen McDermott’s new frock, a techno-laden dress that’s all about personal space. The DIY dress, designed to slowly expand when it detects someone getting too close, is actually part of a clothing series or, better yet, clothing devices, developed by artists and designers for Urban Armor, a project focused on what it calls, “… playful electronic wearables for women which investigate the ways women experience public space.”

These are truly DIY, if you’re handy with certain not-especially-specialized tools: the Personal Space dress requires some familiarity with the Arduino programmable circuit board, and the ability to wield a soldering iron.

This is not, incidentally, the first I’ve heard of an Arduino-operated dress; seven years ago I found out about a club dress with lights that synchronize to the music.

(Via Fark.)

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@yukitupalready

Last year, comedian Sarah Millican was nominated for a British Academy Television Award, and thereby hangs a tale:

Last year, I was nominated for a Bafta. Me. The quiet girl at school. The awkward girl at college. The funny woman at work. A Bafta. And in a genderless category too. Alongside the entertainment greats: Graham Norton, Alan Carr and Ant and Dec. It felt ridiculous but I was thrilled. I’ve been nominated for awards before (even won a couple) and it really is the best. If winning is chips and gravy then being nominated is still chips. Lovely, lovely chips.

It’s an honor, as the Americans say, just to be nominated.

My friend and I danced into John Lewis knowing that a) they have lots of mini shops in there, and b) I can fit it into most of them. Fancy expensive designer shops are out for me as I’m a size 18, sometimes 20, and I therefore do not count as a woman to them.

We knew which one was the right one as soon as I swished back the curtain and both my friend and I oohed.

Always a good sign. This is the actual outfit:

Sarah Millican at the 2013 BAFTA Television Awards

Then the bottom — no, not that bottom — fell out:

Loads of friends and family had texted the expected “You were robbed”, which I wasn’t but they’re my friends and family so they’re supposed to think that. Then I went onto Twitter and it was like a pin to my excitable red balloon. Literally thousands of messages from people criticising my appearance. I was fat and ugly as per usual. My dress (the one that caused ooohs in a department store fitting room?) was destroyed by the masses. I looked like a nana, my dress was disgusting, was it made out of curtains, why was I wearing black shoes with it. I cried. I cried in the car.

I’m sorry. I thought I had been invited to such an illustrious event because I am good at my job. Putting clothes on is such a small part of my day. They may as well have been criticising me for brushing my teeth differently to them.

This may be, as some of you may have already discerned, the single worst aspect of social media: you hear from a lot of individuals you have no desire to hear from, and they will happily tweet things to you they would never, ever say to your face.

The 2014 television awards are tonight. Once again, Millican is a nominee. But she’s not going:

[S]o I was invited back to the Baftas. Nominated again, indeed. But sadly I am working that night. But if you have tickets to see my show in Buxton on 18 May, you may see me making my point anyway.

(Via this Caitlin Moran tweet.)

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Three to get ready

And it shouldn’t take you three with these spiffy sandals:

Loeffler Randall Lillit Kitten Heel Sandal

Officially, this is Loeffler Randall’s “Lillit” kitten-heel sandal, though 2.75 inches strikes me as an awfully tall kitten. The upper is blue nubuck suede. (Yes, folks, it’s another blue suede shoe. Don’t step on it.) List price is $295.

The whimsical display is courtesy of Heirloom Shoe on Oklahoma City’s Western Avenue, which will, I assume, happily sell you this shoe.

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Varying degrees of niceness

I suppose I should have expected to see this banner ad this spring, though I have to admit I didn’t expect to see it at Equestria Daily:

Stuart Weitzman banner ad

Then again, some of those mares have, um, really nice legs. Four at a time, even.

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Almost wasp-y

Rihanna generally looks pretty darn good in Chanel, or indeed in almost anything, but I kept looking at this and going “Girl, what is the matter with your waistline?”

Rihanna in Chanel 2014

The answer, of course, is nothing. This is something Karl Lagerfeld pulled out of his magic hat for the Fall/Winter 2014-15 collection, and it’s all optical illusion: crop top and skirt fit rather loosely, and there’s a mild control panel around the midriff, to create the illusion of wasp-waistedness without having to hit the Industrial aisle at Corsets R Us.

Not everyone finds this appealing, however: neo-neocon says it looks like a lampshade.

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In semi-living color

I’m pretty sure this ad came out around 1954; while I wasn’t in a position to notice, really, I don’t remember anyone around this time period wearing this shade of blue — indeed, any shade of blue — on her toes. (Heck, it’s not that common today.) Still, it’s sort of compelling:

Advertisement for Phoenix hosiery

Phoenix, despite its name, was based in Milwaukee, incorporated in 1897 as the Phoenix Knitting Works; their 1917 factory in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, long since converted to office space, changed hands last year for about $4.5 million.

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