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COMMEMORATING A CATASTROPHE: March 25 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, New York’s deadliest workplace disaster until 9/11. On March 21, HBO will air “Triangle: Remembering the Fire.” But first, PBS’ American Experience will tonight offer the documentary “Triangle Fire,” about the tragedy that claimed the lives of 146 people, most of them young immigrant women. The fire, a seminal event in U.S. labor history, played an important role in shaping modern laws. “I hadn’t quite understood how much the story intersects with issues of our country such as labor history, women’s rights and immigration,” said Jamila Wingot, who directed and produced the film. “I decided to focus on the girls’ stories and use them as a lens for the larger thematic issues. It’s chilling because they were so young. Some girls were as young as 10.”
Wingot relied on oral histories about the event as well as “The Triangle Fire” by Leon Stein, the grandson of a onetime Triangle seamstress. Workers at Triangle earned $2 a day for working 14 hours in a factory, on Washington Square Park, that was considered modern at the time. It was nonetheless a fire trap, especially since bosses locked one of the doors to prevent “thievery.”
This story first appeared in the February 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
After the fire, there was outrage. City and state politicians convened blue-ribbon committees to investigate. From that came legislation to protect workers with regard to fire safety, sanitation, hours and wages and more. “I wanted the film to end on a darker note,” Wingot said. “I wanted to remind people of the fire and the fact that the [legislation] happened on the backs of 146 people.” — SHARON EDELSON
FROM ONE NEW YORK TO ANOTHER: New York magazine’s Ian Adelman, one of the hottest hands in digital design, has been poached by The New York Times to oversee the look and feel of the newspaper’s Web site. Adelman succeeds Khoi Vinh as nytimes.com digital design director, an all-important position as The Times readies its pay wall. The position has sat empty since Vinh resigned in July to pursue freelance work, but John Niedermeyer, a Web designer, and Anh Dang, an information architect, have been filling in. Adelman said most of the design groundwork for The Times paywall had been laid before Vinh left.
In a memo to the New York staff on Friday morning, editor-in-chief Adam Moss and online editorial director Ben Williams recalled that when Adelman arrived at the magazine in 2006, it had only one Web designer and one Web site. “Clearly, things have changed since then,” Williams and Moss wrote. They added that Adelman has been “singularly brilliant” throughout his tenure at the magazine as design and user-experience director.
Adelman was a founding art director at Slate in the Nineties and also a consultant to Tina Brown in the nascent stages of The Daily Beast while he was at New York. He said his work for the magazine was the “best job I’ve ever had.”
“Just as New York was a place that attracted me because it was a fantastic product that I was drawn to and read cover to cover, The New York Times is my source of news,” Adelman said. “It’s always fantastic to contribute something that you feel part of or some attachment to.” His last day at the magazine will come in the third week of March. — ZEKE TURNER
ANOTHER MANIFESTO: The eighth edition of Yves Saint Laurent’s Manifesto, a more personal reflection of the brand, will make its debut March 5 in Paris, New York, London, Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Creative director Stefano Pilati initially conceived of the publication to offer another perspective of YSL to a demographic that doesn’t necessarily relate to fashion. The latest Manifesto was photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin and features model of the moment Arizona Muse, from the spring campaign. Pilati is interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, critic and curator of contemporary art and co-director of the Serpentine Gallery in London. Over 500,000 copies will be distributed globally and the first 2,000 to receive it in each city will get a free custom cotton YSL tote, with Muse’s picture on it. In keeping with the times, YSL will also feature Manifesto on its Web site, Facebook page and Twitter account. — AMY WICKS