Miss Management: Out on the limbs
May 22, 2012 | Galynn Nordstrom
Every day, it seems, there’s some item in the news that leaves you thoroughly befuddled, with only two ready avenues of remediation: research the subject until all seeming contradictions have been resolved, or shrug it off and just go home and mow the lawn. As a magazine editor, my tendency is, of course, to research those things until they’re completely shredded into random piles on the floor of my office, devoid of any further interest to me or anyone else, and not only because I don’t much like mowing the lawn. Some things just demand answers.
My most recent befuddlement came when I was reading a news item in FloridaToday.com about the conversion of Fawlty Towers Motel in Cocoa Beach into a clothing-optional “naturist resort.” Owner Paul Hodge says he’s simply trying to survive in business—also perfectly natural. Local laws apparently do not prohibit this kind of establishment. But what really caught my attention, first, after trying to imagine such an establishment opening in Minnesota, was Rule #4 posted on Fawlty Towers’ website: “Sexual and provocative clothing is not acceptable.” What constitutes provocative clothing at a nudist resort? I wondered, but after a while I realized that what I was really thinking about was what kinds of fabrics, especially upholstery, are used in these rooms, and how they might have to change in the presence of all of this unhindered skin.
The U.S. Army is looking for “omniphobic” textiles that not only repel liquids and dirt but can protect against biological, environmental and chemical threats … and can withstand the rigors of the washing machine as well as the battlefield. Any coating used would have to be thin, comfortable, durable, abrasion-resistant, air-permeable, moisture-wicking…basically, sort of the ultimate fabric. Add electronic interactivity to it and it could probably run the world, and make an excellent cup of coffee to boot. The question then becomes, naturally enough, could it run a nudist resort?
I admire a creative approach to business, and if “clothing-optional” catches on—or even if it doesn’t—manufacturers of performance fabrics and coatings have another opportunity to address not only a potential new market but also to outdo any existing fabrics in the hospitality arena. Is there a truly “omniphobic” textile, and if so, is the military just the beginning?
If you manufacture the ultimate fabric, please let me know. If you have purchased the ultimate fabric from someone, please let me know. If you’re opening a nudist resort, please let me know. If you think I should do more mowing…well, that’s always an option.
—Galynn Nordstrom, senior editor, Specialty Fabrics Review magazine
Read "Tapping commercial niche markets" on the Upholstery Journal website.