Made in America

Labor Day is an outgrowth of the late 19th century labor movement, and the first Monday of September retains its central character as a day of national tribute to the contributions that American workers make to the prosperity of our country.

This Labor Day, I found myself thinking of the men and women who cut, sew, test the quality of, and pick and pack Hanky Panky garments in and near our warehouse facility in Hollis, Queens, New York. What are the unique challenges faced by American workers in our domestic apparel manufacturing industry? Well, for starters, finding and keeping a job in your field would be a lot harder today than it was even 20 years ago. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the apparel manufacturing industry declined by more than 80 percent (from about 900,000 to 150,000 jobs) from 1990 to 2011. So the role of companies like Hanky Panky, which has manufactured in New York since 1977, in providing employment for American apparel workers, is more important then ever.

And what challenges do American clothing companies like Hanky Panky face when they commit to making their garments in the United States from materials grown and made here?

For answers, I turned to Nina Myers McCammon, author of 50 States of Style: A Celebration of American Made + American Beauty, a blog that covers the best of American-made consumer goods. Nina has a knack for ferreting out beautiful and useful objects for home and body, as well as the stories behind them. In addition to well-written, informative and stunningly photographed articles on home decor, home improvement, fashion and beauty, 50 States of Style includes interviews with the designers and small business owners who make the products featured in the blog. (See Nina’s recent interview with Hanky Panky’s President & Creative Director, Gale Epstein.) Who better than Nina to give us insight to the challenges and rewards of American apparel manufacturing?

Q: What first got you interested in American-made apparel?

Nina: My time working at Country Living Magazine as a market editor had a huge impact on me and inspired my love of American-made; not just apparel, but accessories, beauty products, and home goods, too. I love meeting with and hearing makers’ personal stories and supporting their mission. I also have to add that the quality of an American-made product tends to be better. I’d rather pay a little bit more for something that I know will last.

Q: Do American consumers really care about where their clothing is made? Do consumers care more now than they used to? What do you think the driving concerns are, from the consumer perspective: product quality, safe working conditions and fair wages for garment workers, environmental compliance, or other?

Nina: I think the average consumer cares more than ever but is conflicted; on the one hand, they want to keep American manufacturing strong in the global economy, but ultimately the best price wins. As we know, a Made in the USA label can mean a higher premium. I’d say most Americans are concerned with creating jobs here, followed closely by fair wages and safe working conditions for garment workers and the environment. I would love for us to get to the point where we care as much about where our clothing comes from as, say, our food. But it’s a growing movement and I believe we’re getting closer. In terms of fair labor, the conditions in some factories are downright shameful, but sadly, since we’re so far-removed from where our clothing is made, it can be easier (not easy: easier) to overlook the conditions in which it was made.

Q: What do you see as the biggest pros to local manufacturing for American clothing designers?

Nina: The ability to develop a close relationship with the workers and families you’re helping to support. The convenience of being able to jump on the phone or simply drive over to your factory to have a conversation in person about what is and isn’t working is invaluable, i.e. quality control.

Q: What are the biggest challenges?

Nina: Unfortunately finding skilled sewers that people can hang on to. Also, scalability since many American designers start out quite small with limited resources. Finally, educating consumers about the benefits of American-made (higher price-tag perhaps, but higher quality).

Q: In your view, which USA-made apparel companies have done the best job of managing these challenges? Of educating the consumer about the pros to buying USA-made?

Nina: Nanette Lepore has been quite outspoken about the importance of manufacturing here and has done a tremendous job rallying annually for Save the Garment Center. And even though Pierrepont Hicks started out as a men’s accessories company, their ambitious roving national pop-up markets (Northern Grade) have brought so much exposure to smaller, quality American brands. They’ve been all over the country, from New York to LA and Minnesota to Austin, and are incredibly supportive of the USA movement.

-Clara

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Design Revolution

The Hanky Panky thong revolutionized the thong market. They did an amazing thing by creating a thong that looks really pretty and is amazingly comfortable.—Hope Greenberg, former Fashion Director of Lucky Magazine

What I loved most about working at the Hanky Panky Panty Bar last winter was hearing what customers had to say about our products. For every five women who stopped by our pop-up store in Grand Central Terminal to tell me that they wear Hanky Panky thongs seven days a week, I met a self-proclaimed Thong Skeptic. “I don’t wear thongs,” she might start out by saying. “What else do you have?”

I sympathize with the Thong Skeptic. The first time I saw a G-string, at a girlfriend’s house in high school, I was shocked to the core. And when I finally recovered 10 years later and bought my first thong—an Italian mesh style made by a Hanky Panky competitor—it was just another, unwelcome lesson in “beauty is pain (or at least mild discomfort).” Like the best evangelists, I was once an unbeliever.

So how could I, in good faith, encourage customers to try our thong? Well, Hanky Panky’s answer to Thong Skepticism is to let the product speak for itself. And to me and the millions of other women who wear Hanky Panky thongs, the message came through loud and clear: this thong really is different from others on the market.

The Hanky Panky Signature Lace Original Rise Thong (Style No. 4811), currently available in 55 colors. Shown here in Pretty in Pink. Also available in Plus and Petite sizes.

The Hanky Panky Signature Lace Original Rise Thong (Style No. 4811), currently available in 55 colors. Shown here in Pretty in Pink. Also available in Plus and Petite sizes.

Let’s address the roots of Thong Skepticism.

First, the “Thongs are something women wear to please men, and I’m not a sex object” argument. The first Hanky Panky thong was made by working women for working women. What better way to encourage the men we work with at the office to hear what we say, instead of just seeing how we look, than to avoid visible panty lines that draw attention to our bottoms? And there is freedom in less fabric. If your thong is as comfortable and well-designed as ours is, it is one less piece of clothing to tug, pull and adjust throughout the day, freeing your mind to focus on your work and other substantive pursuits. Finally, since when are we what we wear? And wasn’t there a sexual revolution in the last 50 years?

Second, the “Thongs are for skinnier women, not me,” argument. The wide, V-shaped waistband of the classic Hanky Panky thong is flattering to women of many shapes and sizes, creating curves where God forgot to endow them and a smooth, hourglass silhouette for us lucky ladies with hips. Our Original Rise Thong fits pant sizes 4-14, and our Plus Size Original Rise Thong fits pant sizes 14-24.

Our Plus Size Original Rise Thong fits pant sizes 14-24, and creates a flattering, hour-glass silhouette on women with curves.

Our Plus Size Original Rise Thong fits pant sizes 14-24, and creates a flattering, hour-glass silhouette on women with curves.

Finally, the “There’s no way a thong can be comfortable” argument. Hanky Panky’s Signature Lace is remarkably soft, not scratchy as lesser-quality laces often are. “It’s like lace butter,” commented one personal shopper.  Our lace has enough elasticity to be truly one size fits most, but doesn’t pinch or bind your skin.

As an experiment, I asked four women in my inner circle, none of whom had previously worn a Hanky Panky thong, and two of whom were Thong Skeptics, to give our Original Rise Thong a try. Here is what they said:

Occasionally, when I’m wearing something fairly tight or slinky, I wear a thong but not once have I found it comfortable. This one was indeed different. At 5’ tall and 101 lbs, I was skeptical about a one size fits all product. Lo and behold, this one fit fine and was immediately comfortable, feeling soft and almost nonexistent. Miracle of miracles! Anonymous, NYC

The Hanky Panky thong is truly, surprisingly comfortable. The beautiful cappuccino color helped to win me over. I’m well on my way to being a convert. —Suzanna, New York City

 At first glance I realized the thong runs “one-size fits all”.  I was skeptical and assumed that there was no way this could work. Happy to say, I was wrong and it was a perfect fit. The visually appealing, soft stretchy lace material lies flat so there are no visible lines to deal with and the side bands are wider so they fall seamlessly on your hips. No rising up nor rolling down with movement. You also avoid that permanent wedgie feeling which is a plus! There is nothing sexy about pulling a thong wedgie, it’s disturbing and quite frankly unsanitary. eeewww. I’m currently wearing my first pair of Hanky Pankys and not once have I had to adjust nor have I secretly wished I was going “commando.” —Happy with Hanky Panky, NYC

If I were going to wear a thong, this is the one I would choose. It was more comfortable than anticipated. —Anne, Fairfield, CT

-Clara

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And The Undie Award for Favorite Thong Goes To . . .

Cotton With a Conscience Original Rise Thong, winner of the 2014 Undie Award for Favorite Thong

Everybody loves a winner! Our Cotton With a Conscience® Original Rise Thong won the 2014 Undie Award for Favorite Thong.

Hanky Panky’s Cotton with a Conscience® Original Rise Thong is the proud winner of the 2014 Undie Award for Favorite Thong.

One or more Hanky Panky thongs or panties have won the Undie Award every year since the award’s inception in 2007:

Year Undie Award Winning Hanky Panky Style
2007 Favorite Thong Signature Lace Thong in Original Rise (4811) and Low Rise (4911)
Favorite Overall Panty Signature Lace Thong in Original Rise (4811) and Low Rise (4911)
2008 Favorite Thong Signature Lace Low Rise Thong (4911)
2009 Favorite Thong Signature Lace Low Rise Thong (4911)
Select Boyshort Signature Lace Boyshort (4812)
2010 Favorite Thong Signature Lace Thong in Original Rise (4811) and Low Rise (4911)
Favorite Boyshort Signature Lace Boyshort (4812)
Favorite G-String Signature Lace G-String (482051)
2011 Favorite Thong Signature Lace Original Rise Thong (4811)
Favorite Boyshort Signature Lace Boyshort (4812)
2012 Favorite Thong Signature Lace Thong in Original Rise (4811) and Low Rise (4911)
Favorite Boyshort Signature Lace Boyshort (4812)
2012 Hall of Fame (see below)
2013 Favorite Bikini Signature Lace V-Kini (482374)
Select Thong Cotton With a Conscience® Original Rise Thong (891801)
2014 Favorite Thong Cotton With a Conscience® Original Rise Thong (891801)

Three styles in Hanky Panky’s Signature Lace collection sit in the Undie Award Hall of Fame, meaning they have won the Undie Award in their category three or more times (and are ineligible for future awards):

Signature Lace Original Rise Thong (Style No. 4811) in Turkish Tile

Our Signature Lace Original Rise Thong (Style No. 4811) was inducted into the Undie Award Hall of Fame in 2012. Shown here in Turkish Tile.

Signature Lace Low Rise Thong (Style No. 4911) in Moroccan Sunset.

Our Signature Lace Low Rise Thong (Style No. 4911) joined the Undie Award Hall of Fame in 2012. Shown here in Moroccan Sunset.

Signature Lace Boyshort (Style No. 4812) in African Violet.

Our Signature Lace Boyshort (Style No. 4812) became a member of the Undie Award Hall of Fame in 2012. Shown here in African Violet.

The Undie Award is awarded each year by consumers, who vote for their favorite bras, bottoms and shapewear at TheUndies.com. This year, more than 30,000 people voted for their favorite underthings. (TheUndies.com is affiliated with HerRoom.com, an online lingerie store that offers a wide selection of brands and expert fit advice. I personally recommend their Know Your Breasts™ Bra Finder, an ingenious online bra fitting tool for those of us who are too busy or shy to bare our chests for in-store measurement.)

If you want to would like to vote for future Undie Awards, you can subscribe to the HerRoom.com email newsletter to be notified when 2015 voting begins, or check back at TheUndies.com next spring.

-Clara

 

 

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The BARE Minimum: Why the Godiva Thong is a Must-Have For Your Wardrobe

Hanky Panky's BARE "Godiva" Hi-Rise thong, in the BARE collection (Style No. 6J1921)

Dancer-model Malorie Bryant in Hanky Panky’s BARE “Godiva” Hi-Rise Thong (Style No. 6J1921), one of two thong rises in the BARE collection.

A panty line is a powerful thing, enough to make or break an outfit no matter how great that outfit looks. Sure, there are already quite a few “invisible” panties out there, but none of them have tapped into two key elements like the Hanky Panky BARE collection: women have curves and different skin tones. Our innovative BARE styles have contours that keep them in place, curing concern of shifting or riding up, while maintaining a sleek, barely-there look beneath clothing. And there’s a “nude” option here for you, whatever your skin tone—from pale Vanilla to deep Mahogany. All of the BARE styles are made from a unique second-skin microfiber knit from Italy that is ultra-lightweight and smooth, disappearing under the clingiest fashions without sacrificing the signature fit, quality and comfort of your favorite Hanky Panky pieces.

The “Godiva” is a high-rise thong sized Small, Medium and Large that sits at the waist and features a 6″ wide waistband. It acts almost like a micro-mini slip, allowing clothing to glide effortlessly over your hips. Truly—what to wear when you want to look BARE®.

BARE Godiva Hi-Rise Thong

The best way to wear this summer’s on-trend maxi dress? With no visible panty line! Our “Godiva” Hi-Rise Thong is invisible under clothes.

"Godiva" Thong w/ High-Waist Skirt

Our BARE “Godiva” Hi-Rise Thong is the perfect accompaniment to a high-waist skirt, like the vintage Betsy Johnson shown here. Carrie, our in-house lettering and graphic artiste, paired her skirt with Hanky Panky’s Bodysuit with Venise (Style No. 488534), to enviable hour-glass effect.

"Godiva" Thong w/ Slip Dress

Carefree summer style requires carefree underwear you can count on not to mar your outfit! Here, Jessica, a finance whiz in our Planning Department, is wearing the BARE “Godiva” Hi-Rise Thong under an American Apparel t-shirt dress, belted at the waist (available at http://store.americanapparel.net/).

 

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Get the Look: Hair + Make-Up by Dyana for L.A.M.B. X Hanky Panky InStyle Ad

L.A.M.B X Hanky Panky advertisement in InStyle magazine, August 2014

L.A.M.B X Hanky Panky advertisement, InStyle magazine, August 2014. Model is wearing the Old School Old English Tank (Style No. 6L4454) and Low Rise Thong (Style No. 6L1054), available at www.HankyPanky.com.

NYC-based hair and make-up artist Dyana Nematallah is the genius behind the gorgeous advertisement for L.A.M.B. X Hanky Panky in the August 2014 issue of InStyle magazine. L.A.M.B. X Hanky Panky is an exclusive design collaboration between Gwen Stefani’s clothing line, L.A.M.B., and Hanky Panky.

Inspiration: Before getting to work, Dyana looked through the L.A.M.B. clothing line, and previous L.A.M.B. design collaborations, for inspiration. “I wanted to capture the edgy, punk rock look and feel of Gwen’s style,” Dyana said, “but with a softened, feminine touch, because this is lingerie after all.”

Get the Hair: Follow these steps to get the loose French braid shown on our model above:

  1. Add height to your normal blow out with a root lifter, such as blowPro® blow up™ root lift concentrate
  2. Use a comb to tease out the hair on the top of your head, and a texture spray for maximum volume (here, Dyana used shu uemura texture wave dry workable spray);
  3. Begin the braid above the center of your forehead, plaiting one-inch strands of hair together as you would for an ordinary French braid, picking up and adding more hair to each of the three strands as you go;
  4. Keep the braid loose, and rough up your hair as you braid, to keep the lift;
  5. Twist and then pin the braid at or just below the crown of your head using a giant bobby pin, letting the unplaited pieces hang down the back of your head.

The Make-Up:

Smokey Eyes: To multiply the Wow power of our model Lauren’s naturally striking eyes, Dyana glued on a double set of false eyelashes and blended black and brown eye shadow on the outside corner of Lauren’s eyelids for a sultry look. “I went for a strong, but not overpowering, look for the eyes,” said Dyana.

Strong Lips: Dyana normally does a very soft lip on Lauren, but for this shoot, in honor of Gwen’s trademark look of platinum blonde hair and retro red lips, Dyana blended a custom bright pink-red shade.

Cheeky Cheeks: Dyana used blush and then lightly brushed a bit of the custom blend lipstick just under Lauren’s cheek bones.

The L.A.M.B. X Hanky Panky collection consists of four groups—Geo and Lambie Camo in Signature Lace, and Old School Old English and Rasta in super-soft jersey—and is currently available at www.hankypanky.com and www.shoplamb.com only. The collection will also be available in select stores at the end of this month. And those in the New York area can catch an in-person sneak peek of two pieces in the collection, the Lambie Camo Retro Cropped Cami (Style No. 4L7914) and Retro Thong (Style No. 4L1924), at the The Museum at FIT’s exhibit, Exposed: A History of Lingerie, running through November 15, 2014.

-Clara

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As American as Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky Signature Lace Low Rise Thongs, Rolled (Style No. 4911P), in Red, White and Blue.

Hanky Panky Signature Lace Low Rise Thongs, Rolled (Style No. 4911P), in Red, White and Blue.

We shall try to round off our picture of the entrepreneur . . . by analysing the characteristic motive of his conduct. . . .There is the joy of creating, of getting things done, or of simply exercising one’s energy and ingenuity. −Joseph A. Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1934).

American entrepreneurship is alive and well in Nina Myers McCammon. This year, McCammon marshaled the skills, experience and contacts she picked up as a journalist—she is a contributing editor at Country Living and a former Market Editor at Esquire—and launched an online publication (“blog” just doesn’t do it justice) on the best of American-made consumer goods. 50 States of Style covers fashion and accessories, home decor, gardening, travel, life and lifestyle; it is a delight to read, beautifully designed and photographed, and informative.

50 States of Style: A Celebration of American Made & American Beauty

50statesofstyle.com features the best of American-made consumer goods.

Take, for example, McCammon’s recent interview with Gale Epstein, Hanky Panky’s President and Creative Director. I learned some new things about the company I love to work for, including  the role our co-founder and CEO, Lida Orzeck, played in the company’s inception (Lida, a true Shero, took Gale’s prototypes around to stores to get orders for Gale to sew). But McCammon also captured several things that sit at the heart of Hanky Panky’s success and are familiar to every person who works here, including our founders’ commitment to local manufacturing, unorthodox management style and business philosophy, which eschews the temptations of quick profit in favor of slow and steady growth based on design innovation and best-quality production.

We like to say that entrepreneurship is as American as apple pie, but it was the Austro-Hungarian-born economist, Joseph Schumpeter, who hit the nail on the head in 1934 when he identified entrepreneurs as one of the fundamental drivers of national economic growth. Schumpeter’s entrepreneurs are those people who have the magic mix of skill, temperament and character to put a new idea into practice, be it “a new product, production process, supply source, market or type of organization” (Sylvia Nasar, Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, p.190 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011). Under the right conditions, namely available credit and government policy that fosters a reasonably favorable business environment, entrepreneurs can catapult economies through innovation.

So hat’s off to Gale and Lida of Hanky Panky, Ms. McCammon of 50StatesofStyle.com, America’s many other entrepreneurs, and the country that provided the conditions in which they could grow. Happy belated 4th!

-Clara

 

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5 Ways to Wear Your Signature Lace Bralette

Rihanna and Madonna Wearing Lingerie as Fashion

Left: RiRi wearing Hanky Panky’s Signature Lace Original Bralette in Orange Crush (Style No. 112).
Right: Madonna as Susan Thomas in Susan Seidelman’s 1985 comedy, Desperately Seeking Susan.

Two of my favorite pop icons of all time—Rihanna and Madonna—have more in common than stadium voices, tough-and-tender lyrics, and wicked dance moves: they both taught generations of women how to meld personal style and kewl into new classics. Specifically, these two women know how and when to let their lingerie shine through their outwear without looking tawdry.

Inspired by our idols, a group of women here at Hanky Panky, ages 21 to 37, set out to experiment with different ways to wear our Signature Lace bralettes:

  • the Original Bralette (Style No. 112), a soft bralette with no back closure that offers light support and is best suited for smaller-breasted or augmented women;
  • the Crossover Bralette (Style No. 113), which also offers light support but has more décolletage coverage, adjustable straps and, at the moment, comes in 20 colors;
  • the Retro Bralette (Style No. 9K7406), a balconette-style cut with spandex stretch lace for moderate support; and
  • the Glam Bra (Style No. 487544), a soft-cup wire-free bra with back closure, underwire-style seaming, and a supportive stretch-tulle lining for medium-breasted women.

Here are the winning looks:

#1 Under a breezy, white button-down.

Hanky Panky Crossover Bralette (Style No. 113) in Bay Breeze under a white silk button-down shirt.

Hanky Panky Crossover Bralette (Style No. 113) in Bay Breeze under a white silk button-down shirt.

#2 Under our Signature Lace Classic Camisole. 

Hanky Panky Crossover Bralette (Style No. 113) in Bali Blue under our Signature Lace Classic Camisole (Style No. 1390L) in Pistachio.

Hanky Panky Crossover Bralette (Style No. 113) in Bali Blue under our Signature Lace Classic Camisole (Style No. 1390L) in Pistachio.

#3 Under our Mesh Back Tank or other mesh, net or cut-out top.

Hanky Panky Glam Bra (Style No. 487544) in Black under our Mesh Back Tank (Style No. 48T652) in White.

Hanky Panky Glam Bra (Style No. 487544) in Black under our Mesh Back Tank (Style No. 48T652) in White.

#4 Under a denim button-down, tied at the waist à la Daisy Duke, or tucked into a high-waist skirt or jeans for a modern update.

Hanky Panky Retro Bralette (Style No. 9K7406) in Wisteria (coming soon) under an American Eagle denim button-down shirt.

Hanky Panky Retro Bralette (Style No. 9K7406) in Wisteria (coming soon) under an American Eagle denim button-down shirt.

#5 With matching or complementary panties, dancing around in your bedroom to your favorite tunes.

Hanky Panky Crossover Bralette (Style No. 113) and Boyshort (Style No. 4812) in Sassy Orange.

Hanky Panky Crossover Bralette (Style No. 113) and Boyshort (Style No. 4812) in Sassy Orange.

And if Rihanna, Madonna and our humble efforts aren’t inspiration enough for you, check out The Lingerie Addict‘s blog on a related topic: When Innerwear Goes Outerwear: Summer Lingerie to Expose.

-Clara

 

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Introducing Mahogany BARE!

Hanky Panky is happy to announce a new addition to the palette of neutral hues available in our beloved invisible BARE panties—Mahogany! This rich chocolate tone rounds out our neutral palette and offers colors to blend with most skin-tones.

Hanky Panky BARE Neutral Palette

From top: Vanilla, Taupe, Toffee, Mahogany. Hanky Panky BARE is also available in an extensive palette of brights and fashion colors, as well as Black and Marshmallow.

So, in addition to our BARE panties being ultra-lightweight, smooth, and unbelievably comfortable, there should be a color available to blend seamlessly with your skin and disappear under the lightest, sheerest summer clothes.

Truly—what to wear when you want to look BARE®

-Larissa, Senior Designer

 

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Trend Alert! City Dwellers and Civilians Wearing Camouflage

Stand out in Hunter, Hanky Panky’s new print for Fall 2014. Shown here: Crossover Bralette (Style No. 4H7044) and Low Rise Thong (Style No. 4H1584).

Ask a Horned Leaf Chameleon, or Peeta Mellark of The Hunger Games, and they will tell you that, when it comes to camouflage, blending in is the name of the game.

But ask fashion designers Anna Sui or Tibi, or the Beauty editors at Vogue.com, who recently featured camouflage-print nail polish, and they are more likely to extol camouflage’s ability to help the wearer stand out in a crowd.

Anna Sui Fall 2014. Image Courtesy of WGSN.

 

Tibi Pre-Summer 2014. Image courtesy of WGSN.

A young woman I met on the subway platform this week perfectly demonstrated this principle by pairing an over-sized camouflage parka with black ankle boots:In both nature and fashion, the optical effect of a camouflage pattern is to notice and move on. The alternation of irregularly shaped blots of light and dark catches the eye but is too busy and blended to let it stay there long: the eye slides off to focus on the surroundings – be they tree bark or a fabulous necklace or pair of shoes. 

An NYC commuter sports a camo jacket and black ankle boots. Thank you Heather for bringing style and grace to the morning commute.

Another trend setter, on 27th Street between Madison and 5th and Avenues in New York City’s Flatiron District, paired camo print skinny jeans in subtle dark greens with a demure top and patent leather shoes:

Who says New Yorkers don’t smile?

So stand out in camouflage in Hanky Panky’s new Hunter print, available now at HankyPanky.com and in stores starting on June 26, 2014.

-Clara

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In the Works: A Film Adaptation of Edwidge Danticat’s Short Story, “Caroline’s Wedding”

Photo main

Film poster for Easmanie Michel’s film adaptation of Edwidge Danticat’s short story, “Caroline’s Wedding.” © Philippe Previl

Easmanie Michel, a filmmaker and graduate student in Cinema Studies at NYU/TISCH, has secured the rights to make a film based on the short story “Caroline’s Wedding,” by award-winning Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat.

After learning that Hanky Panky was one of the corporate sponsors of this year’s Athena Film Festival at Barnard College, Michel asked Lida Orzeck, Hanky Panky’s CEO, to help fund and costume Michel’s film. The prominence of the author, Michel’s enthusiasm for the project, and the importance of bringing women’s stories to the screen, convinced us that Hanky Panky should support this film-in-the-making,” said Lida.

What form will our support take? Well, for starters, we pledged to donate $1,000 to the film’s Kickstarter campaign, which ends on June 22nd. And if the film makes its budget and goes into production, we will donate red and black panties, which play a starring role in both Danticat’s short story and the film adaptation.

Hanky Panky Boyshort in Red (style no. 4812)

Hanky Panky V-Kini in Black (style no. 482374).

“Caroline’s Wedding” follows two sisters, Grace and Caroline, in the month leading up to Caroline’s wedding. Grace was born in Haiti and emigrated with her parents to Brooklyn, New York as a child. Caroline, the younger sister, was born in New York. Dandicat’s story focuses on the ambivalence of the girls’ mother to the wedding: Caroline is not marrying a Haitian man, her fiancée did not come to her mother with a proposal letter in hand, asking permission, and Caroline’s wedding dress is store bought and above-the-knee. But the story is also full of smaller, everyday instances of the intersection of Haitian and American cultures within this nuclear family. One such instance of would-be culture clash, navigated by the sisters with characteristic panache, involves red panties:

It had been almost ten years since Papa had died of untreated prostate cancer. After he died, Ma made us wear mourning clothes, nothing but black dresses, for eighteen months. . . . Underneath our black clothes we were supposed to wear red panties. . . .Ma believed that Caroline and I would be well protected by the red panties. Papa['s spirit] . . . would stay away because the sanguine color of blood was something that daunted and terrified the non-living. (Danticat, “Caroline’s Wedding,” p. 170, in Krik? Krak! (New York: Vintage Books, 1996).

Missing their father, and less fearful of dead spirits than their mother, the sisters collude to wear black panties instead:

We had never worn the red panties that Ma had bought for us over the years . . . Even though we no longer wore black outer clothes, we continued to wear black underpants as a sign of lingering grief. (Danticat, 172)

Good Luck Easmanie and Team! We can’t wait to see Danticat’s story on screen!

-Clara

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