JF & Son's Guild System Designs Heirloom Fashion

New York's JF & Son clothing line is built on a revolutionary "vertical/horizontal" model and features pieces by Asian artisans.

When Jesse Finkelstein describes the concept for his JF & Son clothing line, he doesn’t put it in fashion terms; he uses the language of restaurants. “People want to know where the things they buy come from, whether it's food or clothing,” says the New York–based creative director. “Just like farm to table, we are bringing clothing from our studio to our store.”

How can a shirt be like an heirloom tomato salad?

Finkelstein’s company has structured itself on a model he calls “vertical/horizontal”: vertical because they own the process at all levels, which allows them to control costs; horizontal because they work on a “guild” system that employs skilled artisans—rather than assembly-line workers—in studios in India and China. “Everyone is a creative participant,” Finkelstein says. “Each beader or sower is in charge of their garment.” The result is a piece of clothing that is sourced, designed, made, and sold in one swoop.

Working this way has aesthetic effects, too. Sidestepping the industry’s production schedules—JF & Son doesn’t do seasonal shows—allows for creative agility, and, Finkelstein says, clears room for customer input. “We design a master collection about three to four months before delivery and then we'll keep on adding in designs a week till delivery. Everything is very immediate.”

And for Finkelstein, there may be added reason to run the company as a label that wears its heritage proudly: It’s tied to his own roots. “JF & Son was started by my great-grandfather, importing goods from overseas to be sold on the Lower East Side,” he says. “When I took over it was with a specific idea of how design should be done.”

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less