Monthly Archives: March 2012

SHIRT HAPPENS 2: IN WHICH PROFESSOR BLACKMAN BEGINS MENSWEAR 142 WITH SILENCE

[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer,  took an introductory menswear sewing class. He has been blogging about his experiences on Hue, Too.]

I arrived at the classroom at 6:25, five minutes before class was scheduled to begin. A dozen students were already sitting at machines. Professor Blackman was patiently staring at a man of about 60. After a moment, he nodded and looked solicitously toward the yarmulke-clad kid behind him.

Professor Blackman

The esteemed Professor Mark-Evan Blackman

“Your name, please?” Professor Blackman asked.

The young man said his name: Eitan.* Once he got the pronunciation right, Professor Blackman stared at him for a disconcertingly long time.

“I’m Carol,” said the next student, a bubbly African-American woman in her fifties.

Professor Blackman held up two fingers. He was still on Eitan.

At the point I understood that he was memorizing our names.

“I hate when teachers say, ‘Hey, you,’ from across the room,” he explained later.

When he was finished learning and reciting all our names, he said, “In this class, you will be learning how to sew a men’s dress shirt,” he said. “You’re going to practice like crazy, so that when you wear your shirt, it’s not obvious that you sewed it yourself. I’m assuming that no one here has any sewing skills. If you have skills, that’s great.”

After that, we traced all the patterns for the shirt components and learned how to thread a sewing machine. I grasped that this would be unlike all of my classes in college and grad school. No chance were we going to sit around and theorize about minutiae and marginalia. We were on our feet, peering at Professor Blackman at his machine, then hightailing it back to our workspaces to figure it out for ourselves.

*Names changed to protect the journalist from bodily harm.

FASCINATING HUE VIDEO FEATURES FIT ALUMNI AND STUDENTS WHO WEAR HIJAB. PLUS VALERIE STEELE

Hue is always noticing things, and wondering.  Here’s something we pondered:  what’s it like to wear hijab at a place like FIT?  Do you wear the same type of head covering to the mosque as you do for your workout?  Do you dress the look up for weddings or other formal rituals? 

In the current issue of Hue, one alumna and one student answer the question in their own ways, but Hue got even nosier.  So we made a little video on the subject, featuring FIT students, alumni, a noted Muslim scholar, and Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT.  Watch it here.

Lensed by the always-wonderful Larin Sullivan, filmmaker extraordinaire.

JENNIFER EGAN, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR, TELLS HUE ABOUT HER FAVORITE MUSIC

Hue likes books, and, sometimes, the people who write them. In November, Jennifer Egan, author of the fabulous story collection or novel (we’re still not sure which) A Visit from the Goon Squad, came to FIT to give a reading, an event sponsored by the School of Liberal Arts. Afterwards, she sat down with Hue for a brief chat about fashion, fiction, and the future of literature.

Egan won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, so we were nearly quaking in our boots in awe, but she put us at ease. Since her book is partly about the music industry, we asked her to name some songs on her playlist.

The Sleepers, “Sister Little.” One of the stories in Goon Squad is about a fledgling punk rock band, so Hue asked Egan, a former habitué of the punk scene, to name the best live act she’d seen. Egan mentioned the San Francisco band The Sleepers, saying, “Their shows were so powerful partly because [lead singer] Ricky Williams was so precarious. He was so out of control and kind of fragile that you always thought you wouldn’t see them again.”  Check out footage of a live performance here:

embedded by Embedded Video

 

(Hue is particularly inspired by Ricky Williams’ sweater.)

The Weekend Players, “Jericho.” Egan said this moody track by the disbanded electronic duo Weekend Players (one-half of which would later join Groove Armada) had her attention.

embedded by Embedded Video

Laura Veirs, “Galaxies.” Egan said she likes Canadian singer-songwriter Laura Veirs.  She didn’t mention a particular tune, but Hue has always liked this winsome little number.

 
 
 

 

 

 

THE OWNER OF THE BROOKLYN CIRCUS IS NOT OPPOSED TO ANKLE NUDITY

Hue is noticing a disturbing trend among scalawag youths these days: shoes without socks. Socks have a practical application: absorbing perspiration and inhibiting ungainly odors. An aesthetic one, too, as they cover up embarrassing ankle nudity. Yet some would throw caution to the winds and go sockless for the sake of style.  Bah.

FIT alum Ouigi Theodore, co-owner of the Brooklyn Circus, was recently spotted in Brooklyn without socks.

Shoeless Joe, Sockless Ouigi

Ouigi without socks, in front of the Brooklyn Circus

Ouigi: I’m sockless today.

Hue: Shame on you.

Ouigi: Some shoes are more comfortable without socks. I wear a lot of canvas shoes without socks. Why I didn’t wear them today, there’s no explanation.

Hue: How do you deal with the embarrassing foot odor?

Ouigi: Your feet will stink more in sneakers. These aren’t too bad.

Hue: (Disapproving silence.)

Ouigi: Sometimes I wear quarter socks. You can’t see them but they’re there.

Look ma, no socks!

The feet in question

(Ouigi and his store, the Brooklyn Circus, is featured in the fall issue of Hue. Wearing socks, of course.)

SHIRT HAPPENS 1: IN WHICH I DECIDE TO TRY MY HAND AT SEWING

[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer,  took an introductory menswear sewing class. A diary of his experiences will be posted weekly on Hue, Too.]

When I was a boy, my mother taught me how to sew. We disemboweled old pillows and stitched up the contents into cases made from Victorian-style prints, using an ancient Singer that weighed at least five tons.

In eighth-grade Home Economics, while everyone else was patching together drawstring bags, I sewed an elegant fanny pack. That, combined with my talent for the sauté, netted me the award for excellence in Home Economics—which I accepted in front of legions of snickering students and baffled parents whose daughters I had bested.

My award-winning fanny pack

But in the years since, I forgot everything except how to replace missing buttons. Recently, I lugged out the old sewing machine—which had miraculously reduced in weight to a mere half-ton—and I couldn’t even figure out how to thread it.

Maybe, then, it was nostalgia that drew me to an introductory sewing class here at FIT. Or maybe it was the course description, which promised that I would learn to sew a men’s dress shirt from start to finish. Either way, I signed up. At the very least, I’d get a nice shirt out of this.

Right?