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July 1, 2008
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Uniform & Product News - July 2008


Company News

Cintas Corporation Announces Global Expansion

CintasCincinnati, June 12, 2008 – Cintas Corporation today announced its plan to launch service in international markets. This multi-phase expansion will be led by Cintas' new Global Accounts and Strategic Markets Division. The growth is designed to better meet the increasing demand of its customers to create a consistent global brand image.

"The international expansion of Cintas' operations enhances our commitment to our current customer base while enabling us to meet the needs of new customers in these regions," said Lance Bates, President, Cintas Global Accounts and Strategic Markets Division. "Whether it is a business in Hong Kong, Zurich, Buenos Aires or Chicago, global businesses want their guests to have the same impression of the brand at each location. As our customers break into new markets, they can look forward to enjoying the same level of high quality service and dependability throughout the world that they have
enjoyed from Cintas in the U.S."

New sales and service offices in Hong Kong and Macau opened in April. Cintas has plans to expand in additional markets throughout the world including Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Each region will have a sales, service and design center staffed by local employees focused on extending Cintas' direct sales of image and fashion uniforms. A global design team will work closely with regional designers to ensure local cultural style considerations are incorporated into programs while maintaining a consistent global fashion brand.

In addition to design resources, local sales and service offices will also provide sourcing, distribution and administration of accounts. This ensures that each customer receives the same high quality Cintas products and reliable service they are accustomed to receiving in the U.S.

For more information about Cintas, visit www.cintas.com

 

Perfection Named to Apparel Magazine's "Top 50 Innovators" List

Perfection UniformsBrentwood, TN, June 18, 2008 (Business Wire EON/PRWEB ) - Perfection Uniforms was chosen to Apparel Magazine's inaugural list of the industry's ”Top 50 Innovators,” for its continuing introductions of “high-tech performance characteristics into the unique market that it serves.”

Offering uniforms for police officers, emergency responders and others, Perfection, for instance, has designed clothing to perform ergonomically – its 'EGC System' is intended to offer comfort, mobility, and extended wear life. Perfection also is utilizing nanotechnology with many of its product designs Apparel Magazine's “Top 50 Innovators” issue salutes key, forward thinking firms shaping the industry, and profiles their leadership, resourcefulness, cutting edge technologies, and the unique market strategies that have contributed to their success.

“We see so many examples of innovation and creative thinking across our entire industry,” said Jordan Speer, editor in chief, Apparel. “Whether you're talking about a new twist on a fiber application, a smartly executed technology implementation or a savvy way to incorporate sustainability, there is a huge variety of ideas that can be inspirational. That's why we chose to devote an entire issue to the subject of innovation; there are simply so many outstanding examples throughout our industry.”

“Offering uniforms for police officers, emergency responders and others, Perfection, for instance, has designed clothing to perform ergonomically – its ‘EGC System' is intended to offer comfort, mobility, and extended wear life. Perfection also is utilizing nanotechnology with many of its product designs,” the Apparel Magazine article stated. The company's MatrixSeries polyester / cotton blends, new StratusSeries poly/rayon blends, and upcoming SuperNaturalSeries poly/wool blends all incorporate the new construction and fabric technology upgrades, and are offered for complimentary wear testing to interested agencies.

Among the companies joining Perfection on the list were Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Dick's Sporting Goods, Perry Ellis International, Quiksilver, and Rocawear.

“We are quite honored to be named to Apparel Magazine's list of the Top 50 Innovators, particularly since we were the only uniform company selected,” said Steve Gilkeson, Vice President of Marketing & Merchandising. “And, the fact that it coincides with our 5th Birthday makes it very special.”

For more information, visit www.perfectionuniforms.com,
e-mail customerservice@perfectionuniforms.com, or call 800-476-4964.

 

VF Corp's McDonald to Retire

VF CorporationNorth Carolina, June 12, 2008 (Winston Salem Journal) - Mackey McDonald, the motivational force behind VF Corp.'s remarkable rise among the world's top apparel marketers, said today that he plans to retire as chairman on Aug. 1.

The timing of the retirement decision was surprising, although McDonald, 61, and a 25-year veteran with the Greensboro company, had been preparing VF for a management succession for more than two years.

Eric Wiseman, who replaced McDonald as president in March 2006 and chief executive in January 2008, will take over for McDonald as chairman.

"The time is right to complete the final step of our leadership succession," McDonald said.

"Eric's transition to chief executive has gone extremely well, and he continues to demonstrate outstanding leadership. I feel extremely gratified in knowing that VF has a very bright future."

Wiseman, 52, has worked in the apparel industry for nearly 30 years, joining VF in 1995 as executive vice president of JanSport. He was elected to the board of directors in October 2006.

"Mackey McDonald is a tremendous leader and a very special person whose impact on VF will last well beyond his presence," Wiseman said.

"He led the successful transformation of VF into a dynamic lifestyle-brand company well positioned for future growth. Perhaps most importantly, he helped build a unique performance-driven culture based on the highest levels of integrity and respect for individuals."

 

Hartmarx Deals with Change

HartmarxJune 4, 2008 (RetailWire) - Hartmarx Corp., the owner of Hickey-Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, has continually reinvented itself during difficult times over its 129-year history. But Homi Patel, the company's long-time CEO, says the most productive changes only came through gradual steps.

"When we recognized the times were changing, that an economic model was broken, and we made drastic changes, we failed," Mr. Patel said recently at the "Keeping/Gaining Market Share in Difficult Times" seminar in New York City sponsored by Emanuel Weintraub Associates. "But when we recognized the problems and made some changes, tweaked here and there, but didn't ignore or make revolutionary changes, we succeeded."

As an example, Mr. Patel noted that Hartmarx currently has no retail stores but once owned about 500 in 1990. At the time, management noticed the advent of the Italian influence in men's clothing but did nothing.

"We had a lot of people in our company who used phrases like, 'Stick to your knitting,' 'Stand for who you are' and we made no changes," said Mr. Patel. "And there are a lot of reasons why our retail business failed. But I think one of the main reasons was we recognized in that men's clothing was changing and that the Italian influence was becoming dominant and chose to do nothing."

On the other hand, management noticed about a decade ago that men's clothing was being impacted by business casual and dress down trends. As a result, Hartmarx gradually moved away from being nearly 100 percent reliant on tailored clothing by shedding businesses and building others through acquisitions and organic means. Now, about 54 percent of Hartmarx's business is in women's wear, sportswear, golf wear and other non-tailored categories.

Although Hartmarx continues to tweak its approach in marketing and product development, Mr. Patel said it's essential during difficult times to reinvest in core brands.

"We have two brands that are over 100 years old, but they didn't stick around by serendipity," noted Mr. Patel. "Somebody was constantly investing and reinvesting in those brands over decades, even in tough times. So while we're all for new products and new ideas; if you don't invest in your core brands, none of the rest will work."

At the same time, Mr. Patel said it's equally important to watch the competition, especially as they develop new capabilities.

"Find ways to change the terms of the competition, change them in your favor by creating asymmetry of strategy and remember the timeframe to hurt the competitor is finite," he said. "If you think you can wait around and analyze and paralyze yourself, it's not going to happen. Someone's going to run away with that opportunity."

Product News

Fechheimer Introduces Justice Jacket

Justice JacketCincinnati, June 16, 2008 - Fechheimer is pleased to announce the delivery of a brand new soft shell jacket that will revolutionize what public safety officers wear on duty.

Arc'teryx, an extreme outdoor gear manufacturer, initially designed a soft shell jacket for the premium outdoor retail consumer that was later adopted by the military and Special Forces. Now it will be distributed exclusively by Flying Cross, the longtime leading brand name in public safety uniform apparel.

Together, the two implemented high-performance features the public safety officer looks for and wants in outerwear. Not only does the Justice Jacket, as it is called, look and feel great, but its quality construction, fit, and design are what active duty officers need when they're in and out of their vehicles frequently and working both indoors and outdoors during an 8-hour shift.

The outer shell is made with a four-way stretch woven fabric that insulates and wicks moisture on the inside while repelling water on the outside. The inside lining is a soft polyester fleece fabric that keeps you warm and comfortable. The result is a 3-season jacket in colder climates and a year-round jacket in more temperate climates.

Simply go to www.fechheimer.com to learn more about the features this jacket offers.

 

Penn Emblem Adds Cleanroom Labels to Line

Penn EmblemPhiladelphia, PA, June 20, 2008 - The Penn Emblem Company is excited to announce the addition of Cleanroom ID Labels to their ExpressPrint™ Label Tape product line. If you're looking for labels that will stand the extreme tests of a Cleanroom, Penn Emblem's Cleanroom Labels will pass with honors.

These labels are capable of going through Cleanroom gamma radiation and UV rays without degrading or detaching from the garments. Ultra thin, composed of one layer only, up to 6 of the labels can be applied on top of the other. You no longer have to spend time removing the previous label. And the bond time is quicker too, with 11 second for the first label and just 2 seconds for each subsequent label.

Concerned about layered labels coming apart over time? There's nothing to worry about with Cleanroom ID Labels; the mechanical bond created during the heat seal process cause the label to become part of the garment and each subsequent label to become part of the previous application.

For more information, please contact Peter Corr at 800-793-7366 or peterc@pennemblem.com

 

End Users in the News

Airport Screeners Dress for Respect

TSAJune 17, 2008 (Time) - Polls find that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is one of the least popular agencies in government, ranking down in the depths of hell with the IRS. Passengers complain about rude treatment, inflexible rules, long lines and seemingly illogical and inconsistent policies. One thing they don't tend to take issue with, however, is the uniforms. They don't say things like, "Please make the screeners look more like real police."

But that is exactly what the TSA is doing, outfitting frontline employees with new gold badges and royal-blue shirts as part of a broader effort to improve their image and make people, to put it bluntly, hate them less. The idea for the new badge and uniform came from an advisory council of TSA workers in the field. "We definitely wanted to change from the white shirts [which had an embroidered badge sewn onto the fabric]," says Stephanie Naar, a TSA employee who has worked at Reagan National Airport for over three years. "We wanted to have, I don't want to say more authority, but a more professional look to upgrade our image."

The move has some scientific evidence to back it. Psychologists who have researched the effects of official-looking uniforms and badges find that they do indeed tend to make people more compliant. "Our research shows that people respect individuals who wear uniforms, and do what they say," says Brad J. Bushman, a professor who studies aggression at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. In two studies conducted in the 1980s, Bushman found that people were much more likely to follow the orders of a person with a uniform and a badge than the direction of someone in regular clothing.

The uniform can also change the person wearing it. Bushman predicts that the new TSA uniforms may make screeners behave in a more dignified and authoritative manner. They may demand more of people, he says. And people can be expected to submit at least a little more readily.

Screeners at Reagan National Airport began wearing their new badges and shirts to work this week, and I can report that they do look a lot more like police officers — in Pleasantville. The shirts are a shade more vivid than actual police-officer uniforms, the badges a bit more sparkly. So far, both passengers and screeners seemed pleased with the new Homeland Security style. "It looks more professional," said Michele Bledsoe, who had just flown to Washington from Kansas City, Mo. "I didn't like those white shirts," said her friend Anita Brown. "They looked dirty."

By the end of the year, all 43,000 screeners should have the new uniforms, which cost a total of $12 million. But first they will have to complete two days of mandatory additional training, focused on how to "calm" the environment. They will be encouraged to use new wireless communication devices, so they won't have to shout at one another to come check some poor sap's bag. They will also participate in mock scenarios to learn how to defuse conflict.

The intent of these efforts is not just to make the experience more pleasant, however, but also to make it more obvious who is nervous, twitchy and angry — to make it easier to spot a terrorist, in other words. Until now, the TSA had managed to make a lot of us act like terrorists at checkpoints, which made behavioral profiling a bit tricky.

But some TSA employees feel that screeners do not get the respect they deserve. The new uniform and flashy badge will foster more respect, they hope, and thus improve morale within the ranks. "How people perceive us has a lot to do with how we perceive ourselves," says TSA employee Naar. "[Now] everyone feels that they look sharp, and they are very proud."

So far, the biggest complaint about the new uniforms has come from real police officers, who fear that giving TSA screeners badges might confuse the public into thinking the airport personnel are police officers. A former Kansas City International Airport police officer remembers pulling over a TSA screener for speeding on airport property. The screener tried to talk his way out of the ticket by showing the officer a cloth TSA badge, which he kept in his wallet. "They'd start the whole brotherhood thing, thin blue line, and all of that. I'm like, 'You got two weeks of training. I went to 22 weeks of the police academy. Sign here.' "

If the goal is to calm the public and give the screeners more respect, however, a more straightforward way might be to train TSA employees better and pay them more. New screeners are currently required to complete less than two weeks of classroom training, followed by 112-128 hours of on-the-job training. Entry-level screeners earn between $24,000 and $37,000. "If you want to make them cops, fine. I don't have a problem with that," says the former airport police officer. "If they did better background checks, trained them to law-enforcement standards and paid them more, they would get a higher caliber."

 

Empire State Building Uniform Redux

Empire State BuildingNew York, June 6, 2008 (The Gothamist) - As part of a $500 million renovation to restore the Empire State Building's 1930's glory, new Art Deco-inspired uniforms are rolling out for staff this summer to kick off the season in style.

The dapper uniforms are made to measure and have unique 1930's details that fit the period and character of the ESB, like chevrons on the sleeves, custom silk ties with mini buildings, an Art Deco-style font created for patches, and a custom dyed fabric color called ESB Burgundy.

With Art Deco details integrated into many Fall '08 runway shows, this puts the ESB right up there with Versace -- who, incidentally, also had a shade similar to the building's burgundy at his recent shows. The company who designed the latest look, I. Buss Uniform Co., also handles the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, Dakota, Waldorf-Astoria, and UN. Designers searched the company's photo archive for inspiration, pulling Art Deco elements from real 1930s uniforms. You'll see them on observatory and security staff throughout the building.

The NY Times went inside the workroom last month, where 70-year-old Stuart Busch did all of the fittings for the ESB staff. His daughter noted, “I love that they're doing this more formal look. They were in polo shirts. That's not a uniform.” An ESB spokesperson told us that the last redesign was in the Fall of 2002, when staff received new polo shirts and cardigans.

 

New York's Strongest May be Showing a lot More Leg this summer

NYC Dept. of SanitationNew York, June 25, 2008 (Daily News) - For the first time, city sanitation workers will be allowed to wear shorts during the steamy summer months.

Don't expect any crazy striped Bermudas or short shorts, though. City sanitmen and sanitwomen will be wearing modest green uniform shorts that hit right at the knee.

"Everybody thought it was a myth, that shorts will never happen," said sanitation worker Liston (Benny) Judge, who gamely modeled the new shorts for the Daily News.

"This makes a big difference on those humid, 96-degree days."

Most sanitation vehicles, including trucks that pick up residential trash, aren't air-conditioned.

Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, who started his career as a sanitation worker in 1960, said he thinks the shorts are a great option.

"On those really hot, humid days in the summer I often wondered why I couldn't wear shorts," Doherty said.

Sanitation worker David Falzon, Judge's partner, said he thinks the shorts will be popular when they become available in a week or two.

"One of the mechanical brooms had no air conditioning the other day," said Falzon, a 20-year veteran of the department. "It was 117 degrees in the cab."

The shorts may be ideal for sanitation workers who sweep the street, or drive vehicles long distances, said Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitation Men's Association.

They may not be as useful for workers who lug plastic bags - a favorite target of neighborhood dogs and cats - or metal baskets that can scrape against their legs.

Nespoli doubts he would have worn them when he was lifting metal cans in Brooklyn as a sanitman in the early 1980s, when hypodermic needles scattered everywhere.

The former football player also admits he's a little modest.

"I have too many scars on my legs," he said with a laugh.”

 

Military News

Ten Cate Buoyed as U.S. Military Purchases Body Armor

Ten CateJune 6, 2008 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Ten Cate NV, the biggest supplier of fabric for flame-resistant uniforms worn by U.S. Army soldiers and by Marines, may win more than $100 million in orders this year as the Bush administration increases defense spending.

The contracts may include a "substantial'' deal this month from an Army tender, Chief Executive Officer Loek de Vries, 56, said in an interview. U.S. orders added 8 percent to revenue last year, compared with 1.5 percent in 2006, when the 172-year-old company, based in Almelo, Netherlands, first sold synthetic fabric to the military.

"What is really going to drive earnings in the short term is demand from the U.S. military,'' said Andrew Lynch, who manages the 328 million-euro ($506 million) European Smaller Companies Fund at Schroders Investment Management Ltd. in London. The firm is the second-largest investor, with about a 10 percent holding, after Kempen Capital Management NV. Lynch said his fund added shares in the past four months.

Ten Cate is benefiting from increased orders for self- extinguishing Defender M fabric as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq enters the sixth year and the American death count reached 4,088 as of June 3.

Composix Co., a maker of protective plates for vehicles that Ten Cate bought in January, will also help boost profit this year, De Vries said, as customers, including closely held AM General Corp., add blast-resistant armor to Humvee transports used in Iraq.

Reducing Burns
Defender M, which contains fibers made by Lenzing AG of Austria, reduces second- and third-degree burns by 45 percent compared with fabric made of cotton and nylon, Textile World Magazine Associate Editor Janet Bealer Rodie said. The U.S. government this year allowed Ten Cate to use foreign-made raw materials in uniforms for five years, following an amendment to a law that bans overseas procurement of fire-resistant fiber.

"Soldiers have about 20 seconds to get out of a vehicle when it catches fire,'' De Vries said. "They used to wear uniforms made of a blend of cotton and nylon. Can you imagine what happens when the armored vehicle they're in catches fire?''

De Vries is betting Ten Cate's fabric will set the standard for about 3 million Army uniforms, the amount needed to provide three outfits for each soldier. With 2008 orders forecast to exceed the 150,000 uniforms contracted for last year, Ten Cate's factory in Union City, Georgia, acquired through the 2004 takeover of Southern Mills Inc., has farmed out production to other companies to meet demand, the CEO said.

The fabric unit may see revenue expand more than a third this year from 25 percent in 2007, according to Petercam Bank NV analyst Eric de Graaf. Textiles accounted for 40 percent of Ten Cate's 2007 sales and are growing more than twice as fast as the projected rate for the company's artificial-turf division, which is equipping the field hockey stadium at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Ten Cate gained 34 cents, or 1.5 percent, to 23.11 euros on the Amsterdam exchange, the biggest winner in the 24-stock Amsterdam Small Cap Index, which dropped 1.2 percent. The company has a market value of 544 million euros. Lenzing added 5.97 euros, or 1.6 percent, to 383.97 euros in Vienna.

Ten Cate's shares, up 7.1 percent this year before today, are valued at 11 times earnings for the last 12 months, about half that of Point Blank Solutions Inc., a Pompano Beach, Florida-based competitor, and 67 percent cheaper than the valuation of General Dynamics Corp., the U.S. Army's largest equipment supplier. The stock "looks very cheap,'' and may become a takeover target for private equity firms, Lynch said.

Point Blank fell 10 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $3.10 as of 4 p.m. New York time in over-the-counter trading. General Dynamics lost $2.99, or 3.3 percent, to $86.65 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Petercam's De Graaf, who recommends investors hold the shares, predicts Ten Cate may rise 25 percent to 28.50 euros in 12 months. Of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, four say to buy, two recommend holding, and none advises selling.

While De Vries predicted earnings per share will rise 10 percent this year, the dollar's 14 percent decline against the euro since the beginning of 2007 has eroded the value of U.S. orders because about half of Ten Cate's revenue comes from North America. First-quarter profit trailed analysts' estimates as growth slowed at the turf unit, the biggest by sales.

Ten Cate, founded in 1836 as a weaving company in the Dutch town of Nijverdal, has more than doubled in Amsterdam trading since De Vries became CEO in 2000 after running the fabric unit for 15 years. He sold assets, including units making plastic spray caps, building materials and food packaging, and bought six companies in the past 2 1/2 years, including Taunton, Massachusetts-based Phoenixx TPC, a maker of thermoplastic composites and adhesives used in exteriors of Airbus SAS and Boeing Co. jets.

U.S. defense spending, not counting war costs, has increased about 30 percent when adjusted for inflation since President George W. Bush took office in 2001. The $611.1 billion base budget for fiscal 2009, the 11th straight year of increase, includes $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

Earnings per share will jump 30 percent this year, triple De Vries's target, Muller said. "The Army has no choice but to spend.''

 

House Cuts ART Uniform Requirement from Bill

Air Force ReserveWashington, June 9, 2008 (Air Force Times) - A word to Air Reserve technicians: Don't box up those civvies just yet.

The Air Force Reserve Command's effort to require the dual-status technicians to wear military uniforms while on civilian status has taken a blow.

The House of Representatives has stricken language that would have codified the change from its version of the 2009 defense authorization bill, and it appears the Senate will do the same.

The proposed change in uniform policy was included in both versions of the bill under Section 514. It would have amended Title 10 of the United States Code to allow the Air Force secretary to enforce the new uniform policy.

In the version of the bill passed out of the House, Section 514 doesn't mention uniforms at all. Section 514 has been dropped entirely in the Senate Armed Services Committee's report of the defense bill, meaning the uniform policy would have to be added by amendment to be included.

A spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee would not identify which legislator or legislators had sought to remove the language.

However, nothing is certain until the House and Senate agree on a joint version of the bill. Legislators could re-enter the Air Force's recommended language in conference meetings.

“The legislative process ... is a long, extended one, and things get added later and deleted later, so it's really too early to comment,” said Jim Miller, an AFRC spokesman.

The requirement to wear uniforms has been part of the Air Force Instruction governing dress and appearance since 2006.

Reserve Commander Gen. John Bradley told Air Force Times in 2007 that while he did not think congressional approval was necessary to make these airmen wear their uniforms, he wanted the new policy codified.

But seeking congressional approval at all is a sign that the Air Force does not have the power to create the new policy on its own, according to Eugene Fidell, a lawyer and expert in military law.

Fidell is currently representing the American Federation of Government Employees in a civil suit against Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne. The suit, filed on behalf of the roughly 6,600 unionized ARTs, alleges that the new uniform policy violates several laws.

“We're gratified at the approach Congress has taken so far on this,” Fidell told Air Force Times.

Multiple ARTs posting in military-interest online forums reported that a decision on the lawsuit's status was expected by July 8.

ARTs nationwide have been lobbying their congressional representatives to deny the Air Force's request to codify the new policy.

Wearing the uniform as civilians requires the ARTs to comport themselves as airmen — including shaving, keeping a short haircut and limiting cell phone use — but does not entitle them to military benefits, such as eating in dining facilities.

 

Next Generation of Navy Uniform Arrives

U.S. NavyWashington, June 21, 2008 (Navy News) - Five years after canvassing the fleet for suggestions on new and more practical uniforms for the 21st century, the Navy has started rolling out a year-round service uniform for Sailors E-6 and below and a Battle Dress Uniform, or BDU-style, working uniform for all ranks.

In addition, the Navy's first physical fitness (PT) uniform – a gold short-sleeved shirt and blue shorts, with "NAVY" in reflective lettering on both – is now available. Reserve enlisted Sailors will be issued the PT uniforms by their operational support centers.

In 2003, then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark established Task Force Uniform (TFU), charging it with developing and giving Sailors a modern, cost-effective set of uniforms that have a professional appearance, recognize naval heritage, and offer easier storage, maintenance and comfort. TFU conducted two Navy-wide surveys and hundreds of interviews with Sailors, as well as command site visits and seven-month wear tests. More than 60,000 Sailors offered feedback, and their message came through loud and clear: 'we have too many uniforms, and they're too difficult to maintain.'

The Navy responded, and commands are preparing to adopt the new uniforms in waves according to region. Reserve Sailors can expect to wear them later this year or early next year. The new Navy working uniform (NWU) replaces the utilities, wash khaki, coveralls, woodland green, aviation green, winter working blues and summer whites.

With a digital print pattern incorporating Navy blue, deck gray, haze gray and black, the NWU is a wash-and-wear 50/50 nylon and cotton blend. The majority of Sailors surveyed preferred a BDU-style uniform, one that doesn't show spots, stains or heavy wear like a solid color uniform and allows mending of small tears in fabric, saving money in replacement costs.

Worn with a blue cotton T-shirt, the new Navy working uniform comes with an eight-point cover, a black web belt with closed buckle and black smooth leather boots, with black suede no-shine boots for optional wear while assigned to non-shipboard commands. Cold-weather options include a unisex pullover sweater, a fleece jacket, and a Gore-Tex parka.

"Besides reducing the seabag and providing ease of maintenance, a camouflage-style uniform puts us more in line with our sister services in terms of our appearance," said Master Chief Arthur Rivers, assistant head for the Navy's Uniform Matters Office.

In the future, Sailors operating in tactical environments, including expeditionary Sailors and SEALs, will wear either woodland or desert digital patterns.

The year-round service uniform for E-6 and below includes a short-sleeve khaki shirt for males and an over-blouse for females, made from a wash-and-wear 75/25 polyester and wool blend, with permanent military creases, black trousers for males with beltless slacks for females and optional beltless skirt, and a black unisex garrison cap. Silver anodized-metal rank insignia will be worn on shirt and blouse collars and cap, replacing the rating badge with a collar device that can be taken on and off a uniform and easily updated upon promotion. The service uniform's non-vertical match – tops and bottoms are different colors – is in line with equivalent uniforms of the other service branches.

"Sailors are pretty satisfied," Rivers said. "In conversations I've had with those who have seen and worn the new service uniform, a good number of them have said they're quite pleased."

The service uniform also includes, for optional wear, a black relaxed-fit Eisenhower-style jacket with a knit stand-up collar and epaulets, on which petty officers will wear large, silver anodized-metal rank insignia. Those entitled to wear gold chevrons will continue to wear their rank insignia on the jacket.

The new PT uniform is designed for command PT activities and the semi-annual physical fitness tests. The gold shirt is moisture wicking and odor-resistant polyester with reflective lettering on back and front. The Navy blue shorts are also nylon moisture wicking and odor resistant, and come in six- and eight-inch lengths. They also have reflective Navy lettering, with side pockets and a hidden identification card pocket inside the waistband.

"The PT uniform is a huge success, in my opinion," Rivers said. "Looking out across the field and seeing the blue and gold, you'll know those people are Sailors."

The total projected cost of Task Force Uniform is $433 million over a two-year outfitting period, spread over fiscal years 2008 and 2009. An increase in clothing replacement allowance rates coincides with the introduction of the new uniforms, so Sailors will be able to purchase them when they are introduced to the fleet.

Due to contracting, production and manufacturing challenges, introduction and distribution of the new uniforms will happen by region over a designated period of time rather than by simultaneous multiple-site deliveries. The service and working uniforms will be available through Navy Exchange Uniform Centers and temporary off-site locations until all regions are fully outfitted. The outfitting of accession commands will happen separately and independent of the regional rollouts.

Phased fleet availability of the service uniform starts this summer and at Recruit Training Command (RTC) this fall. Phased fleet availability of the new Navy working uniform starts this winter and at RTC in early 2009.

Even as the Navy introduces these changes, others are still on the drawing board. Last fall, selected officers and Sailors began limited wear testing of new service dress khaki for chiefs and officers and the new service dress blue and white jumpers for E-6 and below.

The service dress khaki uniform is in a traditional style, last worn during the Vietnam War era, while the E-6 and below service uniforms have hidden zippers and new piping for service dress white. The service dress blue will be for men only.

A Navy wind suit also is being considered to complement the new PT uniforms.

"The Navy will continue to look at and evaluate uniform components," Rivers said. "I've been in this office two months and realized we never really stop, because we're constantly getting feedback and recommendations from Sailors in the fleet who have some great ideas to improve uniforms, uniform components or uniform regulations. It's something that's always going on."

International

New Uniforms for Emirates Cabin Crew

EmiratesThailand, June 18, 2008 (Asia Travel Tips.com) - Emirates Airline's 16,000-plus uniformed staff are to be given a sharper, more business-like look with the introduction of a brand new uniform.

Carrying forward the strongest components of the existing iconic outfit, the new, stylish and contemporary look will be unveiled when the airline receives its first Airbus A380s over the next months. The cabin crew assigned to Emirates' flagship aircraft will be the first to wear the new uniform.

The current beige and red female uniform is easily recognized by travelers around the world each day, as Emirates' cabin crew members travel throughout the airline's international network of 99 destinations in over 60 countries. But now, as a result of a two year project, the crew look is being modernized, in line with the massive investment taking place across the rest of the carrier's onboard and on-the-ground product.

Terry Daly, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Service Delivery, said, “The Emirates uniform has been the same since 1997, with a few tweaks here and there. In this new design we have addressed style, comfort, the suitability for different climates – for cabin crew and ground staff – and managed to retain the iconic and instantly recognizable hallmark of our uniform worldwide.”

“I'm immensely proud of the in-house team from Emirates who worked with UK based uniform supplier Simon Jersey plc. Using a catalogue approach with mix and match items, they have produced a superb uniform that can be adapted to suit different environments and climates. This is vital when the conditions on the ground for staff can vary from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Newcastle in England to Hong Kong in Asia,” Mr Daly added.

The most noticeable elements of the new uniform, on the women's side, include beige piping detail on the new red hat, subtle red pin stripes throughout, more fitted, chic blouses and eye catching, red kick-pleats in the skirts.

Male cabin crew members will wear a chocolate brown suit, also featuring pinstripes, with a cream shirt and a caramel, honey and red tie.

The new uniform will have its first public outing on July 28th, when Emirates receives its first A380 aircraft during a grand delivery ceremony at an Airbus facility in Hamburg.

Emirates' A380 cabin crew will be the first to wear the uniforms onboard, with a full roll out across all 16,000 cabin crew and uniformed ground staff expected to be completed by May 2009.

 

Fashionizer Unveils Innovative Spa Uniform Collection

FashionizerIndia, June 20, 2008 (Fibre 2 Fashion) - Fashionizer - couture uniform designers to the hospitality industry - introduced the UK's 1st natural fiber and organic spa uniform collection at the Professional Beauty Show at ExCel, to overwhelming interest in its natural fiber spa uniform approach - as well as several orders.

When hospitality clients began requesting cotton spa uniforms, Fashionizer decided to act as research revealed that there was neither a cotton rich spa fabric collection on the market that could stand up to spa use - nor any organic spa uniforms. Consequently, Fashionizer spent 18 months developing exclusive fabrics for its spa uniforms with its European mills.

Fashionizer Spa has committed to weaving as much cotton and organic cotton as possible into its spa uniforms, combined with the minimum amount of other fibers including Lycra - to enable all day freshness and comfort. Cotton has long been cultivated for its breathability, which makes it the perfect choice for spa therapists working closely with clients in busy spas and salons.

Director of Fashionizer, Debbie Leon adds, "We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response to our spa uniforms! It's clear that natural fiber spa uniforms have been long awaited by many in the beauty and spa industry. Our contemporary spa uniforms in earthy colors and cool, natural, and organic fibers are a genuine breath of fresh air."

Fashionizer's organic cotton spa uniforms are a simple way of making a real difference, whilst enhancing a Spa's environmental credentials. Fashionizer Spa's organic cotton has been approved by the Futura Association and has been produced with the environment in mind.

Fashionizer Spa's natural fiber and organic spa and salon uniforms are the newest offering from Fashionizer, couture uniform designers to the hospitality industry. Fashionizer Spa's use of natural fibers and organic fabrics characterizes our commitment to combining ethics with innovation.

Of Interest

Job Losses Leave Uniform Providers with Few to Clothe

Bangalore, June 4, 2008 (Reuters) - U.S. workers are not the only ones feeling the pinch of the economic downturn. As more and more of them are forced to hand in their uniforms, companies that supply workplace-clothing are grappling with anemic business.

As a potent cocktail of the U.S. housing market slump, credit crunch and rising costs pulls down the U.S. economy and forces companies to shed jobs, worker-uniform suppliers have seen their market value shrink.

The U.S. economy lost jobs for the fourth month in a row in April. Since 2008 began, some 321,000 jobs have been lost from payrolls.

Most of the pain for the uniform providers stems from job losses in sectors like manufacturing and construction, where a large number of workers don uniforms.

The Labor Department said a net 20,000 jobs were shed in April. The manufacturing sector lost 46,000 jobs, while the construction sector lost 61,000.

"What the data definitely tells us is that the material job losses... are not a good thing for companies like Cintas, G&K Services or UniFirst," Ashwin Shirvaikar, an analyst at Citigroup Global Markets, said.

In March, Cintas, which provides workplace uniforms, cut its full-year earnings forecast, citing tough economic conditions, and promised aggressive cost controls. It is the largest U.S. uniform supplier. G&K Services, UniFirst and privately held Aramark complete the roster of major players that control 60 percent of the estimated $16 billion uniform-rental and related-services market.

In April, Minnetonka, Minnesota-based G&K Services, whose sales depend heavily on uniform rentals, posted a 12 percent drop in quarterly profit and forecast fourth-quarter results below market estimates. Its stock has lost 10 percent over the past year.

"G&K Services will continue to have a lower revenue growth rate due to the current economic environment, which will be reflected in the quarters to come," Needham & Co analyst Theodor Kundtz said.

Rival UniFirst's focus on providing higher-margin laundry services helped it skirt the blow from sluggish uniform rental trends and post a more than two-fold jump in second-quarter profit.

UniFirst, which also decontaminates and cleans garments that have been exposed to radioactive materials, saw its market value jump 9 percent over the past 52 weeks.

But UniFirst's director of marketing, Robert Isaacson, was cautious about the future. "With so many industries feeling the pinch of today's economy, some of our customers are downsizing and some may even be closing their doors."

In order to tide over the crisis, Cintas spokeswoman Heather Trainer said the company was looking at reducing costs by consolidating operations, limiting expenses and exploring opportunities with more cost-efficient suppliers.

The company has also introduced more retail-inspired garments such as cargo pants, a high-end polo shirt and executive wear.

Cintas also provides first-aid and safety products and services, including first-aid cabinets, safety glasses and gas detectors to companies like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and McDonald's Corp.

Barrington Research analyst Alexander Peter Paris said G&K Services has introduced a line of uniform for the food industry designed to prevent food contamination.

Apart from providing branded apparel, G&K Services also provides the food industry with aprons, towels, butcher wraps, hats and wait staff apparel.

Analysts do not believe the pain of job losses will last long.

"It is our economic forecast that the current economic conditions will not be long lasting. We expect some recovery from the second half of this fiscal year," Barrington's Paris said.

Until then, the healthcare sector, though not a traditional focus for Cintas, UniFirst and G&K, could provide a breather to the firms.

In April, when the manufacturing and construction sector saw a sharp decline, the healthcare sector saw an increase in jobs by about 37,000.

UniFirst, whose customers include oil major BP, supermarket operator Safeway and cable TV firm Comcast, said it had recently expanded its line of healthcare and also introduced specific apparel for patients. Cintas confirmed the healthcare sector was an area for future growth.

"In fact, some even argue that the healthcare sector has the most demanding need for uniforms from among all industries," UniFirst's Isaacson said.

 

Heros In Style provides latest fashions in uniforms

Heros In StyleCollinsville, IL, June 11, 2008 ( St. Clair County Journal) - In the past, it was tough to make a fashion statement if you were in an industry where a uniform was required. In recent years, however, that has changed, as uniform manufactures strive to provide uniforms for all occasions and seasons.

For the people at Heros In Style, offering high quality uniforms with an appropriate flair is a way of life. Catering to doctors, nurses, medical technicians, veterinarians, veterinarian assistants, firemen, policemen, EMS workers and other professions that require uniforms, Heros In Style has thousands of uniforms and shoes from which to choose. The store also has specialized equipment, accessories and duty gear including stethoscopes, holsters, batons, gloves, handcuffs and cuff cases.

Heros In Style also sews on patches, does alternations and offers monogramming and other personalized or specialized touches. According to Char Wild, the owner and operator of Heros In Style, the business began as part of the medical and respiratory business next door, but the uniform portion of the business appeared to be so promising that Wild branched off on her own, establishing her shop almost 11 years ago.

"It was a big step for me," said Wild. "It about a year of research just to find out what the needs were. I had to find out about the different departments and what they wear, so we knew what to stock."

Wild said she has certainly seen some changes in the uniform industry.

"Uniforms have definitely come fashion forward with a lot of different prints and styles of nursing uniforms," she said. "There's some that you can leave work and go to the grocery store, and it isn't so obvious that you're in scrubs. There are also seasonal items; we have different prints for summer, fall, winter and spring, along with uniforms for all sorts of holidays. Of course, not everyone has the same taste in the nursing end. Some people like prints and some people like solids. We have basic white and we have dresses.

"We deal with a good 25 or 30 different vendors, if our manufactures have it we can probably get it for them. We also have various cuts of uniforms, because a young nurse coming out of school doesn't take or want the same thing that a 45-year-old woman would wear. We can meet everyone's needs. It's part of my job to keep up with the latest trends."

Wild also said that uniforms with team logos are also popular, especially Cardinal and Cub scrubs.

While customers are encouraged to come into the shop and browse, Wild said that at certain times, the shop does go to its customers.

"We go around to different hospitals and do uniform sales," said Wild. "We set up a store in the hospital and the proceeds go to the auxiliary programs. We also go to different police departments for uniform days. If they're within a 50-mile radius of us, we can go to them. A lot of times, it's not so easy for them to get to us, so we'll sell to them on site as well.

Wild said Heros In Style does seven or eight shows in hospitals a year in addition to several stops at police or fire departments each year.

"I think people are actually shocked to find out that we will do that; load up our car and bring our products to them," said Wild.



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