Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 26th 2015 Contents B1
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Mad Men star Jon Hamm has
recently completed treatment for
alcohol addiction, his publicist has
The actor, who plays hard-drinking
advertising executive Don Draper in the
hit TV show, asked for "privacy and
sensitivity" following the revelation.
It is unclear when he sought
treatment, but he did so with the
support of his long-time partner,
actress and film-maker Jennifer
Hamm has recently been seen
promoting the final season of the US
drama. Celebrity Web site TMZ, which
first reported the story, said the Golden
Globe-winning actor was treated for 30
days at the Silver Hill Hospital in New
Hamm has been asked to compare
himself to his Mad Men character
several times over the series' eight-year
"I don't drink as much as Don Draper,"
he told the Daily Mail in 2012. "I would
be unconscious if I did."
But the actor also admitted he turned
to alcohol after his father died from
complications of diabetes in 1991.
Jon Hamm treated for alcohol addiction
Designers identified many challenges
to a T&T fashion industry, but said
that with enabling support from
Government, the sector can revive and truly
Main challenges they mentioned included:
competition from foreign products, difficulty
in accessing raw materials, a pressing need for
local manufacturing hubs, and a need for better
business management among individual prac-
Sourcing reliable skilled labour is also a prob-
lem, some said, as well as a need for more
shopfronts to sell local fashions.
Small local market
Economics informs design, said Robert
Young, owner and designer for The Cloth fash-
ion business. Young was making the point that
no matter how creative the idea, a fashion prod-
uct must be shaped by what raw materials are
available, the size of the market, how you will
make it, and the skills of available workers.
He spoke of the small size of the local market
for locally made Caribbean-styled clothing:
"A small percentage of the middle class in
T&T buys from local designers. It s a market
size problem. ...And I have to design for different
body types. If I am making clothes, should I
12 and 14 and 18? ....So, I might instead design
a set of looser fitting clothes, to accommodate
different body types."
Many small scale cottage industries find it
difficult to stay afloat, turn a decent profit,
and expand, hampered by the small local market
as well as production, financing and other
issues. So this means that many remain sub-
sistence industries. "Yes, 30 years on, and it s
still a start-up," said Robert Young of his own
business The Cloth.
The challenge, then, is to expand markets.
Dianne Hunt, former co-owner and designer
of the successful local retail chain Radical, said
Radical s business was good in its first ten years;
but by its second decade, when it expanded
perhaps a bit too quickly, it soon faced issues
of an unproductive labour force, competition
from China, and management challenges, which
led to a decision to shrink the business in 2008.
By 2010-11, she d decided to get out entirely.
The might of Chinese and other foreign com-
petition is the biggest challenge today, said
Hunt. But this does not mean we should not
even try to compete: we just have to be more
strategic about how we do this, she said. If
China churns out cheap mass products, perhaps
we should focus on unique, creative, well-made
products: "You could come up with something
innovative that the rest of the world will want."
On the issue of labour, Hunt noted that the
current stock of skilled garment stitchers is an
aged labour force. And of the younger workers,
many are either not receiving the training need-
ed to produce with competence, or are "com-
placent and lazy." Young, while agreeing that
training programmes needed to include pro-
ducers, not just designers, disagreed with the
poor work ethic: he maintained workers were
not lazy, just unmotivated to be exploited as
cheap labour, with no stake or ownership in
Create a fashion district
Hunt suggested the creation of a fashion dis-
trict in T&T, to help with manufacturing, pro-
motions and sales.
"The government has a lot of warehouse
shells all over the country. They could designate
a fashion zone or hub, with a few warehouses,"
she suggested. "One could just be stitching
and machines. Even jeans production is a huge
business---South America produces jeans for
all over the world. So you could have different
types of manufacturing, and finishing. Finishing
is a whole subsector by itself.
"Then you could also have showrooms, where
buyers could look at designers collections;
boutiques could go there to order. And you
could send invitations to boutiques all over the
• CONTINUES ON PAGE B2
THE BUSINESS OF FASHION -- PART 3
Designers speak out on the challenges
and potential of the local fashion sector
The Cloth, led by Robert
Young has been around
for more than 30 years.
Young is committed to
helping young designers
so they can avoid
making mistakes that
were made in the
industry in the past.
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