© Brian Goldman
Plenty of American companies use the Independence Day holiday as a convenient opportunity for a summer sale. But for lingerie brand Hanky Panky the 4th of July means a lot more than that (though they have a sale, too).
The made-in-New-York pioneer of the stretch lace thong used the holiday weekend to celebrate American workers — especially its own.
Hanky Panky commissioned Houston photographer Brian Goldman to shoot a series of stunning portraits of HP workers on the job along with a few black-and-whites of the busy Queens warehouse where millions of those colorful fold-up thongs are manufactured each year.
The portfolio gives Hanky Panky fans a rare behind-the-scenes look at the people (many of them long-term employees) responsible for the brand’s famously dependable fit. Portrait subjects include Somboon, who sews the elastic trim on all those panties; Maggie, who has been the company’s sample cutter for 13 years; and Leonard (above), the multi-tasking production co-ordinator who makes bow ties from lace remnants in his spare time.
A selection of the images were posted this weekend on a company blog post titled ‘American Values at Work’.
“Hard work, dedication to excellence, and equal opportunity are not uniquely American values, but their realization in this country is cause for celebration today,” the article states.
Hanky Panky isn’t the only American lingerie brand to resist the cost-cutting lure of foreign garment factories, but after 38 years in business (without a layoff) its commitment to both local manufacturing and homegrown fabric sourcing is probably unmatched.
But for co-founders Lida Orzeck and Gale Epstein, that commitment is about more than economics.
“Local manufacturing also offers (us) the opportunity to build community while (we) build a business,” they write.
And their dedicated workers seem to agree.
“We get along like a family,” says Maggie, the stylish sample cutter below who has worked for HP for 13 years. “Each day, we try to make each other happy, to help each other do our work. If you are not happy, you can’t produce.”
You can see photographer Brian Goldman‘s full Hanky Panky project here.