Wearing a blanket instead of a jacket

No need for jackets if a blanket will do… (Photo: www.ikea.com)

Olten, 9th of February 2017. The traditional use of blankets is outdated. Ikea has created a blanket that can be worn as a jacket for relaxing occasions.

The blanket coat is designed to serve as the ultimate value for several purposes at home. In situations where you have to stand up in order to grab the remote control because it is out of reach or when your cellphone runs out of battery and you need to plug it in this quilt coat is the solution to freezing when interupted by one of the aforementioned pop in`s. It is special because you just do up the zip when you need to visit the restroom or similar.

It is made of warm, padded  material, which is fabricated in a way that enables one to smoothly nestle down in it. What is more, the blanket coat is available in a turquoise and bright blue shade.

„I decided to create a new kind of throw that you can also wear“, explained Hanna Dalrot on the website of IKEA.

“It is a very interesting product, which I would buy. There is nothing more frustrating when watching movies than leaving the warm blanket to get more snacks,” said  Marina, a student  at the FHNW Olten.

By Kristiana Basic

Rotauf jackets: “No-one should be scared of transparency”

“Furthermore, it is satisfying to see trades that look back on centuries of tradition, personified for example by our seamstresses, survive and thrive in this lively business, ” says Rotauf’s CEO Oliver Gross. Seamstresses at the production facility at Widnau.

by Matthias Neff

Chur, 8 February 2017. – Outdoor clothing made entirely in Switzerland, profitably, from local resources: Rotauf, a startup company in Chur, does sustainability in its own fashion.

The weather can’t decide if it should rain or snow, instead settling on a thick fog over Chur that shrouds the mountains in white fluff. The meteorological conditions are ghastly this February afternoon, making wearing a good, warm jacket mandatory. Lucky then that I’m on my way to the right place for such garments. However, Rotauf’s headquarter could hardly be more unassuming. A squat annex of glass and steel – inside many computers and on the desks  the creative remains of the day. Complementing the picture of a startup in motion is a wooden table, a plant and a red couch. Above it hang rows of design- and other award certificates for Rotauf’s products.

CEO Oliver Gross arrives. Friendly and efficient, with the authoritative presence of someone in control and under constant slight pressure, he begins to answer to the interview questions.

The jackets are produced 100% in Switzerland. Why?

We do product development, meaning that we have a passion for finding solutions and some time ago, we got many inquiries: “How is it possible that a jacket from Vietnam costs 700 Swiss francs and why is it not made here in Switzerland?”– Thus It became our aim to prove that, yes, we can produce such jackets in Switzerland at the highest possible ecological level and at a fair price. It is possible, that’s what we’re going to do and make it work.

What is ecological about your jackets?

There is much you can improve about a jacket concerning ecology, whose cornerstones are threefold: social-, economical-, and environmental sustainability.

Firstly, social sustainability concerns how employees are treated. For example, the strict workers’ rights in Switzerland and their enforcement by the state mean that things are good for our employees. With a production facility – say in Vietnam –, we would need to pay for an expensive label to monitor compliance, without being totally sure of the label’s independence. Production in Switzerland also guarantees the absence of child labor.

Secondly, on the economical sustainability side, we reinvest in Swiss production by paying good wages. In addition, we also reinvest in the advancement of the business itself by developing new products.

Thirdly and finally there are questions about ecology. For example, PFC is known since 30 years to harm health – leading to a reduction of fertility in men, among other things. Yet it is used all the same by 95% of the outdoor industry for waterproofing jackets because it has superb properties,  it is cheap and easy to use. We at Rotauf don’t use this chemical and work together with Greenpeace, which acts as an independent NGO, monitoring our effort to produce without such toxins.

 

"There is much you can improve about a jacket concerning ecology, whose cornerstones are threefold: social-, economical-, and environmental sustainability," claims Gross.

“There is much you can improve about a jacket concerning ecology, whose cornerstones are threefold: social-, economical-, and environmental sustainability,” claims Gross.

 

Other organizations swear by certificates or labels and use those for their global supply chains. What is your opinion on these instruments?

It must be clear that a labelling organization which is financed by the businesses it is supposed to monitor can’t really be independent. But those labels are nevertheless a benefit for the environment.

How is the clothing product line developing ?

Very well indeed, we are growing rapidly and recently bought a new machine and hired several new employees.

What is specific to your outdoor clothing line?

The Swiss made character and the ecology of our products are crucial. We also aim not to be more expensive than the competition from Asia and we can achieve that only if we sell directly to the customers and do without any marketing: No sponsoring or ads in the paper etc.

What are the values and emotions the clothes should convey?

Swissness is the characteristic we aim for, meaning clothes that are unpretentious and timeless, good quality, and thought-through.

Who are your customers?

Generally our customers are people who do outdoor sports, place a high premium on sustainable products or enjoy their Swissness qualities. A jacket costs 400 to 700 Swiss francs, which is still way below Bogner that is asking for several thousands in comparison. Broadly speaking, it is the middle class that can afford our jackets, but we also have people who save money for a long time and students who buy old specimens; however, because of their usually low income students are not our primary target group.

With all the hard work you put in: What is it that satisfies you?

To me it is the idea and being instrumental in producing ecological outdoor clothing. I have long been working in this industry and know first-hand about the high amount of chemicals that is used in production. Until now there haven’t been any convincing and transparent solutions. And to change that was my motivation to get involved at Rotauf. Transparency is important and one should not be scared by it, otherwise there is never certainty and knowledge about what has to be changed. Furthermore, it is satisfying to see trades that look back on centuries of tradition, personified for example by our seamstresses, survive and thrive in this lively business.

 

regional lamb’s wool, used as insulation material for the jackets

staying competitive through direct marketing

staying competitive through direct marketing

in the backroom: sewing machine for prototypes

in the backroom: sewing machine for prototypes

 

No entry for people wearing fur at Hiltl Club Zürich

With this poster, the Hiltl Club warns clubbers that wearing fur means you won’t be let in

By Kristiana Basic

Zürich, 8 February 2017.- Wearing real fur became trendy again. A Zürich night club  and the Swiss animal protection institution are shaking their heads and taking initative.

Real fur is fashionable again: the Swiss population bought in the past few years an increasing amount of animal pelt wrote Blick ch. Besides winter coats, even cuttings and shoes are furred.  Even 20 minutes ch writes that there are more and more young adults and students seen with furred jackets.

“We wanna make a change”, points out the owner of the Hiltl Club in Zurich, Rolf Hiltl (49), who launched the new “fur ban policy” inside his night club. Rolf Hiltl happens to be the first night club owner in Switzerland taking initiative by sending out a message to a younger audience. To better run his revolutionary action, his doormen in front of the Hiltl night club not only are working as security people of the club, but since not long ago even as fur-police. “Every fifth jacket that we spot is a brand jacket furred with real pelt”, adds Annatina Portman, the “fur-policewoman” at Hiltl.

By forbidding fur lover`s entry to the club, he does not fear to anger his guests as he expects the majority of visitors to respond in a positive manner to the new policy.

In collaboration with Mr Hiltl, also the Swiss animal protection institution (STS) wants to raise awareness of the ongoing issue. “We hope that many more night club owners will follow Mr. Hitl and implement the fur ban policy” says Helen Sandmeier (59) from STS.

Animal pelt is again fashionable in Switzerland, it was estimated that over 440 tons of fur were imported in 2016 which is the highest amount since 1992. The problematic with the fur production is that, those animals are breeded with the single purpose of killing them for further processing their fur for adorning coats and other clothing pieces. The animal`s meat, however, is not taken into account further and ends up discarded. “It is a brutal exploitation of the animal lives”, says Hiltl.

“I would never buy furred coats, although I think those coats look very good”, answered a random girl at the FHNW Campus Olten, who wore a fake pelt coat. Watching a documentary about the processing of fur made her realize how brutally the animals are treated. It was the moment when she decided for herself not to purchase real pelt coats in the future.

Men also love shoes

Dario’s daily shoe dilemma. (Photo: Blitzrechner.de)

Brugg,  24 January 2017.- Some have just one pair, others have dozen. Clear is that a cliche says woman have more shoes than man and often more as one can count. A male student from FHNW Brugg Windisch proves that this statement is just a prejudice.

Dario Studer, a Bachelor of Science student, loves shoes. Each day he has he same problem: Which pair of unique sneakers shall I wear to school? Often he misses the bus because he puts on and of each pair twice before he has found the best matching one.

“It is kind of an addiction. I collect sneakers as others colllect postage stamps,” he says during a coffe breake in Brugg-Windisch. “Some people don’t understand why I have so many shoes in my shoe cabinet and that I should spend my  money on more usefull stuff. I then often respond with a cheeky smile and the words <<Money doesn’t matter for me>>.“

His addiction started during his commercial apprenticeship. Before he had just one or two pair of shoes at home but as he got older the amount of footwear has reached huge proportions. “Others wear their shoes as long as they has no damage. I clean each pair after I wear them and put them back in my shoe-closet. Cleaning is  the key to my long-lasting relationship to my footwear“, Dario Studer mentions.

When asking his classmates on how they think about his obsession, they just say that it is cool and interesting. And they bet each other on “Which pair will Dario wear tomorrow“.

Shoe-addiction thus is not only a “girls-thing“. “Everybody should be comfortable with what he or she does or wears. Even if other say your crazy, if you love something, do or rather wear it“, Studer says with confidence.

Luca

Cheap and Convenient Foreign Online Stores attract more Swiss Consumers.

Olten, February 2017. A recent study conducted by the ETH Zurich has identified that on  average Swiss consumers spent 1750 CHF a yedar on online purchases mainly on clothes, transport and books, which remains to be higher than the neighbouring countries such as Germany, Italy and France. More than 90% of the internet users have made an online purchase during the past twelve months. The survey also identified two major reasons why the Swiss consumers are willing to shop online which can be stated in two simple words: Convenience and cheaper price.

This conclusion is based on a recent survey of 1200 participants selected from different walks of life based in Switzerland. Josh Neblett, CEO of Etailz Inc., which accounts for over 60 million in online sales, allots this drastic increase seen in online shopping among Swiss consumers to the stronger Swiss Franc. The stronger Swiss currency is making the products abroad considerably cheaper.

More than 63% of the consumers who purchased products ranging from clothes to various items bought the items from foreign sites followed by 4% who purchase items solely on foreign high end stores. The study also confirms that Amazon and EBay remain to be in the top positions as online retailers which accounts for, in total, 36% of the market value. Moreover, most online purchases remain to originate from Germany followed by France and the US.

Furthermore, according to a number of interviews conducted involving third year FHNW Olten students, it has become more evident that purchasing products online is a matter of convenience and has attracted more consumers who have no time to visit physical stores. Instead, they can go online visit the sites, get all the information they need and purchase a product for a very competitive price. Additionally, the potential loss of jobs, human contact and personalized customer service when purchasing online, remains to be insignificant for the FHNW students in making their purchasing decision.

Emran

Nordstrom dumping Ivanka Trump

Olten, 8th of February 2017. After Nordstrom dropping Ivanka Trump`s clothing and accessories line, U.S. President Trump accused the department store chain of treating his family members unethically.

After Nordstrom publicly announced the dropping of Ms. Trump`s fashion line, numerous Trump followers arranged a Nordstrom store boycott. By going to Nordstrom`s website a few days ago, the only thing that might be found by typing in “Trump”, were a few pairs of Ivanka Trump shoes which were tagged 40 % off.

This act seemed to happen amid the enduring  “Grab Your Wallet campaign” ,which has been calling for boycotts of retailers that sell Trump produce.

Donald clearly revealed his frustration about the drop-out by his recent tweet, where he has called Nordstrom terrible and stated that Ivanka was treated unfairly by them. According to the NY Times, Donald first tweeted on his personal account and a short time after on the official White House account. As of Mr. Sean Spicer, Trump`s press secretary “Trump`s tweet was not about business, but about an attack on his daughter”.

However, despite all accusations the retailer argued that the decision about dropping Ivanka`s fashion line was made based on decreases in sales of her brand.

Author: Kristiana Basic

Edited by: Emran Naim/Luca Lüthi

Pants or the Cat’s Pyjamas

Zürich, 11 February 2016. Attitudes towards fashion run from indifference right to matters of the heart. A handful of students and young professionals lift the veil on fashion and their lives.

Tarik does a MAS (Master of Advanced Studies) in Automation Management. He has just been to the library, where he borrowed some Hidden Picture Books for his children.

He doesn’t consider himself to be knowledgeable in fashion matters and sees himself as more of a practical type, interested in technology. Among the clothes he owns is one long-sleeved shirt he is quite fond of. The last time he wore it was on graduation day from technical school. Tarik has heard a lot about Fair Fashion, a term describing apparel that has been produced under ecologically and socially fair conditions, for example by paying fair wages or abstaining from using toxic agents. However, he hasn’t put theory into practice yet.

When it comes to buying clothes, he certainly pays attention to the price, but quality must be right, too: Apparel should survive several washes without falling apart or losing color. It is important for him not be constrained by what he’s wearing:  Free movement is key.

Patricia will be a primary school teacher and therefore study at teacher training college.

She describes her attitude to fashion as being considerate about her outfit, but not running after new trends. Whatever clothes Patricia likes will constitute her outfit for the day. T-shirts are her favorite clothing category; she could buy them constantly. Although Patricia has thought about the conditions under which some apparel is produced, she would still buy something if it was cheap, but draws the line at fur.

Brands are far less important than how the clothes look on her and if she goes shopping, H&M and C&A are the target locations. Wearing matching colors and not to walk around in monochrome is important for her.

Joël studies physics; up until the interview, he has been learning for his exam in electrodynamics that is going to take place the next day.

He says that he aims at wearing an outfit that shouldn’t look “too bad” and to put on whatever is available from his wardrobe. Bought for about 15 Swiss francs at a thrift shop three years ago, the sweater Joël is wearing is his favorite item because it keeps warm.

In theory, he cares about the conditions clothes are produced under, but in practice what’s most important is a clothing store located along his way.  However, since having been hired as an assistant at ETH Zurich, he has grown more aware of the importance of looking the part.

Eileen was on her way to Turgi, where she is working as a painter. She likes to dress fashionably and has a favorite apparel item: The blue Adidas sweater she received from her grandmother, who was then still alive. Eileen just buys what she likes, comfort being an important factor, and that the colors of her outfit match each other.

 

Author: Matthias  Neff

Edited by: Hannah Strandberg

Uniforms in University

Thai students wearing school uniforms.

Olten, 3 February 2017. Hoodies, T-shirts, jeans, and a backpack. This is the image of university student that is easy to recall. However, there are students who go to school with white shirts, black pants, and skirts; they are university students in Thailand.

Whenever walking along the street in Thailand, you can often see university students wearing school uniforms. School uniform tends to display and show the characteristic of school, and vary from school to school. But it is not the case in Thailand. Only the necktie, badge and the mark engraved to the belt are different.

Southeast Asian nations, including Thailand, were under the Communist Party and now Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam which have remnants of socialism, are implementing a mandatory school uniform policy. North Korea is the only country that has the policy, aside from Southeast Asian nations. Among the nations pursuing democracy, Thai university students are the only students who wear school uniform obligatorily.

Thai people believe that everyone is all equal, when they wear uniform. They can get out of discrimination whenever they go to school, wearing school uniform, even though they wear luxury goods like Channel, Gucci, or drive an exorbitant car. However, at the same time, school uniform is ‘a symbol of fortune’.

In Thailand, ‘uniform’ reveals people’s identity and position. Most people who wear uniform have higher income and education level, and students’ school uniforms are no exception. For them, the uniform assures ‘equality’, as well as embracing the meaning of ‘ostentation’ simultaneously.

Thai culture which highly esteems manners and norms, is another reason that makes Thai university students wear school uniforms. In order to follow a number of norms and standards in the society in their future, they should first abide by a simple rule of wearing uniforms. Also, Thai people think that by wearing uniforms young people learn how to respect and appreciate others.

According to Thai Survey Research Organizations, 94% of students in Bangkok responded that school uniforms are necessary. Furthermore, 71% of them answered that they should wear uniforms on the day in the classes.

“I personally really like the uniform concept, because it makes all the students look equal” says Nuii Patrapan Sangsongsuk, an exchange student of FHNW, and continues “No matter how rich or poor background the student have, they all look somewhat the same in their school uniforms. Also, it’s a good system to prevent unnecessary fashion at schools, which could be a symbolic sign of unrespectfulness e.g. ripped jeans.”

However, not everyone agreed with it. In 2009 and 2013, Jjullarongkon and Tammassat university students stirred up a movement against school uniforms. They revolted against mandatory school uniform policy, saying that it infringed on autonomy and human rights, but eventually, it ended up in failure.

Author : Jooyeon Hong
Edited by: Inka Närhi

No Uniform Solution for Mobbing

New York City, 7 November 2016. Mobbing and bullying because of the students wear need to be addressed with various approaches, according to Dawn Karen, fashion psychologist at Columbia University. Simply introducing school uniforms is not enough.

Not everyone has the same idea of “what is good-looking” clothing and especially in classrooms, girls and boys are more likely to get mobbed if they don’t wear the last fashionable clothes. Around the globe, students dress themselves in the latest fashions for school, according to a Guardian article. People get sidelined because of their clothes and more and more frequently, mobbing doesn’t end in verbal assault but rather gets physical.

“Implementing school uniforms can be a solution for this more and more emerged problem, but activators are often somewhere else. So it is a myth that a simple uniform can solve such a huge problem,” according to Dawn Karen, fashion psychologist at Columbia University.

To prevent bullying in the future, schools in the United States have started several new programs addressing parents and teachers. One of the programs encourages young teens to form groups which then look at more closely what they perceive as the media’s message on fashion and clothing.

Further information under https://www.theguardian.com/education/2008/aug/11/bullying.schools1

Author : Luca Lüthi
Edited by: Matthias Neff

Student suits up to network

Does wearing a suit increase confidence?

Does wearing a suit increase confidence? (Photo: http://kalam.life/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/confidence.jpg)

Olten, 6 October 2016. Many students wore suits to the informal ConnectFHNW networking event, in order to gain better networking results. One student believes wearing a business suit on campus should be mandatory.

“A suit gives me confidence and transports me to the professional world of business and helps me perform better,” said Alex, a 22-year-old student of business administration at the FHNW. Alex decided to wear a suit to the networking event held on 6 October at the FHNW campus.”People tend to take me more seriously.”

Alex wishes to start his career in “the good old world of ties and suits”. For him dressing up is a ritual and wearing a business suit at the campus is a must. When asked about his opinion on a  more casual dress code at a future job, Alex states that it might result in reduced performance, productivity and unclear power balance at the workplace.

The goal of the event was to bring together students from different faculties in order to start building professional networks for future careers.

Wearing formal clothes changes the way people think and perceive the world according to a 2015 study by psychologists Rutchick, Gold, Ferber and Slepian. The research found that wearing formal clothes makes people feel more powerful and broadens the way they think. Dr. Karen Pines, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, shares this opinion: Wearing a suit carries a symbolic meaning of productivity, and it therefore gives the brain a signal to strive higher.

At the end of the event, Alex believed the suit gave him confidence to approach people at the event whom he would not dare to approach in everyday clothes.

Hannah Strandberg

edited by Brigitte