Heart and Soul
When I told my family and friends that I was going to start up an American made clothing line they either smiled and remained silent, or simply came out and told me that my idea was “crazy,” “naïve” or, in one case, “stupid.” Convention says that in order to make a profit in the clothing industry you need to import large production runs from overseas factories. “You make your money on the volume,” they say. I view this as a race to the bottom. It’s making money by squeezing another thirty cents per garment out nameless workers. I’m not into that. Instead I’m into putting my heart into clothing that has soul.
Consider the guy in his small Portland one-man hand built bike factory. He’s putting his heart into his work, it’s not a paycheck for him; it’s a way of life. Can you argue that his frame will somehow perform better than what rolls off the line at a Taiwanese factory? In most cases I’d say no. But that hand built frame has something that the factory bike does not have, and that something is soul.
Soul is real.
While driving to Park City last August I listened to Keith Richards’ autobiography – it was good, I didn’t like him badmouthing everyone save Charlie Watts, but it was good – and somewhere towards the end he compared the Fats Domino version of Ain’t That a Shame to the version recorded by Pat Boone. Pat Boone, Richards notes, is arguably the better singer, and his production quality is far superior, but his recording falls flat; it’s too commercial, too ready for prime time, it just didn’t have soul.
This is what I’m talking about.