A Deep Dive Into Claire McCardell: Until last month, I didn’t know who Claire McCardell was. I stumbled on an interesting bathing suit on Pinterest, which took me down an hours-long rabbit hole to read everything I could about the designer. Claire McCardell is an American women’s fashion designer that was prominent in the 1930s-1950s. She was notable because she established the “American” look and emphasized function, wearability, and comfort. Her clothes were well made, comfortable, and stylish. Claire studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York and was well versed in couture construction, fashion, and structure. However, her clothing was designed for the everyday American woman using durable, common fabrics. Her clothes were considered “simple” as they didn’t include a lot of fanciful decoration, but the lines and cut of the garments were sophisticated and interesting. One article even credits Claire with designing the precursor to the ubiquitous hoodie and ballet flat shoes. I find Claire’s designs flattering, interesting and relevant. Her story is equally as fascinating. If you want to learn more, check out these articles: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3 (watch video), Article 4 (Claire’s Time Magazine Article), Article 5, Article 6 (nice pictures). I’m also impatiently waiting for a book about her. It’s out of print but seems widely available at libraries (particularly colleges).
The Time Tax: Why is so much American bureaucracy left to average citizens? This article highlight all the hurdles that citizens must clear to get access to government programs and benefits. It states that government makes the process difficult and time-consuming (hence time tax), so fewer people use the services. It’s interesting and worth a read. However, it makes me think of another article I read years ago. It focused on how companies have essentially put a greater burden on the consumer to do more work (another time tax), so the companies can profit more (this article is a good overview of the concept but focuses on employment). Employers argue this change is “giving customers the power.” But, most times, it gives the customer a headache. This is one of those concepts I started seeing everywhere once I was aware of it.
Three Birds Renovations: Facade & Floorplans (episode 2): Three Birds Renovations is an Australian-based interior design company that produces a YouTube series (I list their YouTube channel as one of my favorites). Each season follows the renovation (or construction) of one client’s home. This season is different. They are working with a home builder to design a “Three Birds Home.” Basically, they are collaborating to create a spec home that anyone can build. So far, it’s been an interesting look behind the curtain. It’s a totally different process than how I would have imagined, but that’s another conversation for another day. Today, I want to talk about a company highlighted in this episode, Lifesize Plans. If you watch the episode, you’ll see the designers go to what looks like a warehouse that projects their floor plan to scale on the ground. It allows them to walk through and make sure the details are right (i.e., hallways aren’t too wide or narrow, kitchen spacing feels adequate). It seems like such a cool service! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available in the US (yet).