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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hollister CA

I admit I am at a loss to comprehend the mastermind at Abercrombie & Fitch who conceived of the Hollister CA apparel marketing scheme.

Hollister CA apparel is a long way from Hollister CA the agrarian community 100 miles south of San Francisco. It is most certainly not the trendy beach resort marketing makes it out to be to appeal to young buyers. It's about 30 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean.

My daughters love to shop there, as expensive as it is; it's their money. Hollister CA, for myself, is my high school town, class of 69.

The peculiar, though not surprising, thing about the agrarian Hollister CA phenomenon is with classmates and schoolmates I correspond with online. They are oblivious to the hip apparel reputation associated with the name Hollister CA when I describe it for them from deep in the heart of Texas.

Travel a little south to Los Angeles for a reality update. Where the Texas border region was once the jeans tailor shop of America boasting home to the largest of apparel manufactureres including Levi Strauss, Wrangler and many others, it is no more. El Paso, Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville as well as San Antonio were coveted by New York designers for production of their brand. Although Dallas still sees a good level of apparel merchandising business it does not compare with the 70s, 80s and into the 90s. Now, Los Angeles California, alone, has become the hotbed of apparel design and manufacturing for the nation on par with New York.

That said, I want to go to California. I know Jed Clampett would say if the good Lord had wanted me there he wudda put me there. Truth is I was born in south Texas, but grew up in California.

My reasons and interest in California (as a place to live, it faded in my rearview mirror years ago) lie in its position in the world of apparel manufacturing, to be specific. Up until three years ago Texas vied for position among the top five states with New York being a far distant second to California. Texas is number one in the number of displaced apparel workers. In more recent years, that hierarchy has undergone a makeover with Pennsylvania and Connecticut entering the mix. California remains in a distant first place.

Now, I know we hear a lot about business and government partnering to eradicate sweatshops out of apparel manufacturing. However, I remember when my wife and I lived in Alhambra bordering on the east side of Los Angeles. Almost without fail every central American I met worked in apparel manufacturing as they had back in their countries and every one of them knew many others in similar life and employment situations. The media in the 80s often reported there were more central Americans, particularly Salvadoreans in Los Angeles than in El Salvador.

I believe the Independent Contractor Network model suits American and foreign workers who possess the KSE to create apparel. As entrepreneurs they can create apparel for independent retailers. IC-Networks generate residual income for them and their families. That holds far greater promise and value for them than California's top ranking or the hot apparel brands they crank out on the production floor. But, _ first comes Round Rock, Austin, then Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Abilene, Houston, El Paso, Laredo. . .

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