Julie Hertling still makes trousers in Brooklyn. I worry that after Hertling and Martin Greenfield move on, the evaporative remnants of garment making in NYC will truly and forever be nothing more than ghosts. I was walking on Seventh Avenue the other day and a worker was strolling an empty garment rack across the street. A rather accurate metaphor of Seventh Avenue today. When I lived up there in the late 1980’s you could still see garmentos schlepping fully-loaded tumescent rolling carriages of garments through the streets. As my textile supply chain little brother aptly posits… “We’ve exported all of our manufacturing economy to China.” Sad.
But in 1985 Hertling still made coats and trousers—and I bought them. Mark Shale in Atlanta…before they went disco…Britains in Columbia South Carolina and Britches of Georgetowne…in D.C. … before they just rolled over and groaned the reality of Washington being too stupid to care about style…all did private label Hertling. The goods were tasty and styled nicely and for a kid just getting career traction, affordable versus Polo and other high ticket options.
So here I am, back in N.J. for some advanced training. I remember having conjunctivitis in my right eye the entire week of this training session. The eye-drops burned in a good way. Anyone know what I mean by that? I also remember the stress being almost unbearable during these training summits. The Swiss pharma that I worked for was IBM-ish in its orientation to corporate citizenship. We had tests every morning and if you made less than ninety, your ass was on a plane home. And dress shirts? White-white-white. Anything else on the corporate campus and you risked career suicide. This was before PowerPoint became the crutch of organizational poseurs and sycophants but methinks the dynamic would have been the same. I saw careers made or broken on the back of one freakin’ presentation.
I’m better for my thirteen year journey with said Swiss-Prussian-Hierarchical-Paternal company. Looking back though, through the lens of my authority-defying self, I wonder how I navigated so successfully through those years. No,;I do know how I did it. I was competent, well thought of, in possession of a middle-class orientation to work and achievement and buoyed by great mentors.
I used to comb all of the curl out of my side parted hair back then. Company men didn’t have untamed curly hair and they didn’t wear bracelets. After a few more years of fighting the curl-gods every morning, I just did a Britches of Georgetown and rolled over and groaned the reality of curly hair. I’d just like to have it all back now.
I’ve blacked out the eyes of a couple of old colleagues. This cat hated my ass. If you believe in or stand strongly for certain things, somewhere along the way you’ll encounter folks who believe differently than you and they will take it personally. I can name only two people in my thirteen year pharma career who I believe would genuinely liked to have seen me experience ill fate. Not a bad track record for someone who wasn’t an ass-kisser…least ways I think so. Shut up. I’ll admit that I may be delusional and egotistical but I’ve long since been convinced that this turd was jealous of me. And if he’d ever been in a situation of authority over me, I’d have been out of said company faster than a set of rims at a Puff Daddy concert.
The opposite is true for this fine fella. A very conscientious colleague from Northern California and a man who within a few years after this photo, moved on to a very well known U.S. based pharma organization. The reason that I’ve blackened out his eyes has nothing to do with how I regard him. He is a man of unimpeachable integrity. Unimpeachable as evidenced by his whistle-blowing tactics at said U.S. legacy large pharma monster. He refused to implement strategies that were clearly counter to approved product usage and devoid of clinical proof of said usage. He also dropped a dime over at the Justice Department in tandem with refusing to implement said strategies. His reward? Thirty four million tax free dollars. And I say good on him for his actions. I’d give half of that money to charity if it had been me. Seventeen million shrouded in good karma seems like a fair deal.
Onward. With seventeen thousand…shrouded in shell cordovan.