In a bid to highlight J.A. Uniform’s ever-evolving uniform-design work, I enjoy staging photo shoots when time permits. A nod to my past life as a photographer, sometimes they’re staged even when time doesn’t permit. This one sure was...
But I digress.
One such shoot took place a few Sundays ago in our manufacturing plant-cum-photo studio. Featured in the shoot was apparel for three distinct uniform clients: One, a luxury hotel chain; another, a leading valet-parking company; the third, the world leader in multi-airline remote check-in and luggage delivery services.
If a photo is worth a thousand words and pictures speak for themselves, you might argue there’s no need for today’s blog. At first blush, that’s what I thought.
Then I started to examine the photo-shoot apparel more closely. I was immediately reminded there’s more to a garment than meets the eye – at least through a photo. The fit and finish is difficult to evaluate through a photo, for example. So too is the “hand” or feel of the fabric. Is it smooth, stiff, silky, heavy or stretchy?
The fabric’s drape – how it flows over things – is difficult to ascertain in a photo. The measure of sturdiness, structure and crispness can also be elusive in still photography.
As I inspect the sky cap hat, for example, its ventilated open-weave structure becomes evident. In examining a vest, my eyes are drawn to the tightly stitched button holes, home to high-gloss buttons with distinct matte-finish centers.
I pull the color-matched pull tab on a garment’s zipper and it’s music to my ears! I hear the faint sound of the silky-smooth action as the slider guides along the teeth of the zipper. A photo, for all its ability to capture a durable image, simply cannot capture the tactile or auditory sensations of pulling a zipper.
That’s why there’s nothing like visiting a client with a sample in hand. Sure, a photo competently illustrates a design theme. But what about touching, “listening to,” and in some cases even smelling a garment? Smelling? Yes, as it happens, formaldehyde and other malodorous chemicals are often used to make fibers stiffer so that clothing will keep its shape longer.
For 20 years, I’ve taken great pride in personally displaying our wares to hoteliers, valet-parking operators, restauranteurs and others. In doing so, I find that our customers can better evaluate their choices and make more informed decisions. I see it as a first step towards building trust. Others see it as the last word in solicitude.
To be sure, photos are helpful, but it’s the personal touch that makes things picture perfect.