Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Frock Exchange and Saville Row's Foreign Affairs

Post number 13:

More pointers towards the need for dry cleaning after care:

References: British Style Genius, ‘Twiggy's Frock Exchange’, BBC2 TV, 20 hours GMT on Tuesday 21 October 2008.

‘Saville Row, Foreign Affairs’, BBC2 TV, 0:25 hours GMT, Wednesday 22 October 2008.

Linguistic, cultural, religious and other barriers must not be allowed to jaundice view points, and cause hindrance to grasping core issues. English is our second language.

First, a little summary of the state of dry cleaning: It is good news that ‘Laundry & Cleaning News’, one of the two trade journals is now available on line free to readers who may approach the magazine to get access to monthly issues. This is progress and we welcome it.

We have placed the whole of this blog including post number 1 - the Which? magazine investigations of April (letters@which.co.uk) and our detailed reply on Facebook for the world to read and comment on. In our view, this blog is the only one on the net that has attracted no comment or dialogue in its first week of publication. Could it be that our major shake up of the industry is genuine, factual and shocking enough to catch every one unaware where they are constantly reading new knowledge to which there are no replies? In which case, knowledge is IP, is power, is money, and CCCC offers enormous potential for investors and future partners from the world of fashion and business development. Time will tell.

Dry cleaning (predominantly Perchloroethelene based) received bad press from environmentalist lobbies in the 80s and 90. The industry responded by marketing Hydrocarbon technology developed by Professor Joseph De Simone of North Carolina Sate University in the early 90s. The technology was promoted by DEMOS (Think Tank) of the then DTI in the UK in 1993 and 94. The world of fashion and garment industry watched with anxiety as the technology did not succeed to impress.

With Perc painted as the black sheep of dry cleaning, and Hydrocarbon not succeeding, severe bottle necks were placed in the way of fashion, textiles, and related industries. Panic sat in and efforts were concentrated on washable designs, and the explosion of the accessories world to make up for short falls in main lines now that choice to design in any fabric was taken away from designers and fashion forecasters.

Then, came Liquid Carbon Dioxide (Fred Butler) that is struggling to make it out of Germany and Holland where the technology is developed. It is hardly known In the UK. Confidences in the UK eroded further to an extent that nowadays you can buy a wool blend suit from Burtons that is machine washable!

In 1994, in came GreenEarth technology by Messrs Proctor & Gamble and GEC in terms of 300 shops with Johnson Cleaners. Expectations rose until independent dry cleaners, still using Perc turned their backs on GreenEarth stating that it does not clean as well as Perc. Perc survived. It still does, and 90% of UK and world cleaners still use it. The government (DEFRA) and local authorities gave it renewed lease of life for another 2 decades while search continues for replacement(s).

This is where CCCC Limited fits in. At the very least, it offers perfect solutions, fit for purpose in the interim period. We will do more. We will set out to prove that environmental campaigns against Perc have been mere jokes and without scientific and medical back up and evidence. If true, then todays Perc dry cleaners working for a decade or two and exposed to Perc for a decade or two, exposed to Perc for 8 to 10 hours shifts, 6 days a week, should be all dead. You are reading one, and he is perfectly as healthy as you are.

Until we come to the phase of explaining Perc, the world of objectors have this blog, Which? magazine and Facebook to register their evidences of health risks afresh for all to read, and we will reply. We read the envionment and public health at Imperial College in the 70s. Knowledge gained and updates kept should serve us well. Fair enough?

A comment on the name CCCC that was not our first choice. CleanestClean Clothes Care Limited just happened because we do what it says ‘on the can/tin’. We clean clothes (not dust mats and overalls), and do it better than any one else (4 nano filtration instead of 20,000 nanos conventional practice right across the board).

There are rumours that we used sentiment to choose CCCC because of our affiliation and endearment to Tucson Arizona (the State of Cattle, Copper, Climate and Cotton and that of Senator John McCane), where our adopted American parents the Briggs lived and died. Not true. Just another coincidence. We did post grad studies in Tucson and Laramie in 1968, pretending to learn English and hydraulic structures.

We are open to a change of name dictated by our future partners from the world of fashion and Saville Row. Something ethical, sustainable, and befitting to building a long lasting brand will be considered. CCCC is naff and gimmicky.

We are determined to attach fashion and dry cleaning firmly as integral parts of one another. One cannot imagine Mercedes, Lexus or Skoda leaving servicing to others and loose on potential lucrative earnings through servicing their own products. We can visualise a day when CCCC Limited will display posters on shop windows of Selfridges, Top Shop, River Island (good labelling philosophy), M & S, noted fashion outlets and others offering dry cleaning to customers. Saville Row would have the upper hand over the Italians in Florence and the French in Paris, once they learn to rely on CCCC again (as Norton & Sons did once in the early 90s when Mr Nick Granger Junior ousted Lillman & Cox and installed Harvi-Nash of Wandsworth on grounds of our superior quality of work).

We were grateful in June of last year when we visited every Saville Row tailor and introduced CCCC as the future hope. We were well received considering we are dry cleaners, and received business cards of Poppy Charles of Huntsman, Simon H. Cundey of Henry Poole & CO, Clive Gilkes of Richard Anderson, and John Blanco of Gieves and Hawkes. We regret having been unable to give them our talk in the Institue of Directors as promised last year. Obstables were experienced in the way. Until a later date we hope proceedings in this blog have served as a worthy substitute. We know that we are read by Saville Row.

Now, to ‘British Style Genius’ and Twiggies Frock Exchange: The programme really threw the gauntlet to the dry cleaning industry by hinting covertly to the desperate need for dry cleaning after care on the one hand, and its limited availability on the other. The series reportedly to cover each year of the 80s may comprise 10 episodes, and we will do our best to take time off from core work and deliver a sort of running commentaries with after care in mind.

Shoulder pads(items comprising of these are probably dry cleanable only) will be prominent and the creation Frock Exchange will provide each women with a one off skirt suit by John Galliano (cannot be washed), long lined culottes (divided skirts), dry cleanable only, Indian silk and cotton designs washable in time rich India but dry cleanable only in time poor Western World, high wasted velvet dresses, items with plenty ribbons and lacings (misshapen in washing), Sophie Ellis Bextors discarded vintages thrown aways by others, suits dated for women in their 60s but not so for younger women with rose tatoos on bare feet and groovy sandals, ‘Little Goddess One Shoulder’ black satin dress, ward robe essentials, 50s prom frocks, 80s sequin dresses and more – all dry cleanable only.

Again, whether in this programme, Oxfam boutiques in cooperation with M & S (voucher scheme), www.fashionunited.co.uk, or Edinburgh College of fashion of Art Fashion Show 2008 (http://www.lochcarron.com/news), after care issues are covertly wall papered; but the message is clear:

In the case of Frock Exchange, and if one was to be a fly on the wall, one would hear away from cameras where to get the exchanged items dry cleaned. Take them to the owner’s dry cleaners where they have always cleaned the item satisfactorily. Yes, but what if the shop is under new management and the service offered cannot be trusted? What if the shop has closed and is now vacant and ready to let for doing other trades? This is the good news in that there will always remain a few reliable dry cleaners dotted around towns to stop dry cleaning after care from disappearing altogether. The recession (officailly announced by Mervyn King yesterday) will take its toll and lots of substandard shops will close down.

The ones that will survive remain the hope for consumers, fashion and garment industries to get some sort of service however unfit for purpose they may be in comparison with services that CCCC will offer soon.

The bad news is for the dry cleaning industry. Programmes such as Frock Exchange, and Saville Row stepping out of the Row to proactively promote themselves, put unimaginable pressure on the captains of the industry to come up with reliable after care and sort out the nightmare situation that prevail among UK dry cleaning outlets.

It has been for these reasons that we at CCCC announced our major shake up of the industry in order to draw attention that this time round the change is for real. The change is based on proof of concept (Jaeger's Karen Gray 1993 to 1995) in the past when dry cleaning using Perc but without the application of steam for the removal of stains served the public in sound and reliable ways, with no risk to the environment, be it the pollution of shop air, neighbouring surrounds or the pollution of soil and ground water for which Perc has been unjustifiably blamed for decades on end. Today’s Perc machines are as safe as your cars keeping the offending petrol away from your lungs and brains. Ask DEFRA and your local borough council on solvent emission issues. Its’ no good, us telling you about it. We could be biased.

Mohammad

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