Caractere’s Disposable Linens Mobilized to Aid Syrian Refugees in Germany

This fall, Germany’s administration broke apart from the position held by its neighbors and other members of the European Union on the subject of a pressing humanitarian aid crisis: Syrian refugees. Germany became the first country on the continent to accept a large contingent of asylum-seekers from the war-torn country.

The pilot program will allow 5,000 Syrians to relocate over the course of one year, thanks to the organisation of 25 private flights by the German government. Counting those who will receive this assistance and other refugees who migrate on their own, estimates place the number of people to flee Syria in recent years for Europe at 17,000+ by the beginning of 2014.

Germany and the UNHCR are lobbying other European members to contribute space for the refugees or other resources to help smooth their resettlement.

The UNHCR, or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,  selected the initial group of refugees according to a number of factors.

Those considered “particularly vulnerable,” such as single mothers, minorities and the chronically ill were atop the list.

For the purposes of integration, German speakers had an advantage over other applicants. Additional consideration was also given to applicants with a connection to Germany, such as time spent in the country studying or family currently located there.

Finally a certain number of spots went to the intellectual, academic and professional elite of Syria, judged the group most important for the reconstruction of the country after the resolution of the current crisis.

The first group landed in Hannover a few weeks ago, sending a message the German government wants its neighbors to notice. The government then transported them to Friedland, a transit camp where the refugees spend two weeks.

Germany is no stranger to waves of refugees, as it decided to welcome 300,000 during the wars in the Balkans of the early 1990s. Nearly a million refugees have passed through Friedland over its history.

Given the basics of shelter and food, the newcomers attend German language and culture classes every day. Administratively a step ahead of other asylum-seekers, the Syrians are granted instant refugee status, which means they can start working whenever they want.

After the two week integration and orientation period, the different states of Germany each accept a number of refugees for permanent placement.

Certainly Germany’s actions represent a noble gesture, but this recent decision risks being seen as merely “a drop in the bucket.” This is because some two million Syrians seek asylum abroad, in addition to the four million already internally displaced, according to figures released by the United Nations.

This represents one third of the country’s population, a figure the UN estimates could reach as high as one half by the end of the year. More than 700,000 Syrians have officially registered as refugees in Lebanon. This has overwhelmed Syria’s neighbor, a country normally with a population of 4.5 million.

Unfortunate for the refugees, airline regulations impose a 44 pound limit per person for luggage. Within this limit, refugees must pack all the personal items and effects intended to prepare them for a stay of two years in Germany. Many left their homes in a rush, fleeing violence or destruction, without the time to pack up properly.

Often because of these constraints, refugees come to airport with little more than the clothes on their backs. For these reasons, it’s essential for countries planning to welcome refugees must prepare adequate infrastructure and supplies in advance.

While the core of our activities stem from the hotel industry or public institutions like hospitals and schools, Caractere already has experience in the field of humanitarian aid. Thus, it was with great honor that Caractere recently received a substantial order from Germany to help welcome Syrian refugees in their transition to life in Europe.

Some of our most popular items to deal with natural disasters and large population migrations include those from our hotel supply unit, including warm blanketssleeping bags and children’s linens. Caractere also manufactures a variety of uniforms and work outfits to properly equip the staff and volunteers associated with the reception of refugees.

baby sleepingbag by caractere

Caractere’s Baby Sleeping Bag

To learn more about the different types of products that can help with the reception of refugees,  check out the English language version of the website for Caractere Paris, Disposable Linen!

Caractere UK’s Disposable Linen on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/CaractereUK

Caractere UK’s Disposable Linen on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/CaractereUK

Sources
Amos, Deborah. “For Some Syrian Refugees, A New Home In Germany.” NPR, Sept. 12, 2013.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/09/12/221764124/for-some-syrian-refugees-a-new-home-in-germany
Heine, Friederike. “Gateway to Freedom: Camp Preps Syrian Refugees for German Life.” Der Spiegel, Oct. 11, 2013.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/second-syrian-refugee-group-arrives-at-friedland-transit-camp-a-927372.html

From the Involucrum to the Kimono Gown and Cape: A History of the Barber Shop and Hair Styling Professions

from Caractère Paris

Ancient Roman Ornatrix

In ancient Rome, just as in the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia, baths and bodycare were an essential component of daily life. Sanitation was important enough for rulers to install public toilets and sewers, in order to avoid dirtiness in the streets and the spread of disease. Both the number and variety of beauty and hygiene-related professions flourished, predecessors to today’s hair stylists and make up artists in salons and spas. Rich, noble families and Senators had the means to hire personal barbers who lived with them in the decadent private villas of Rome and worked directly with their clients on a daily basis, or as often as required. Female stylists were kept busy, with the sole purpose of caring for the lady of the household, without any break or time to care for themselves. These domestic beauticians, called Ornatrix in Latin, also took care of the household and bathrooms, and created hair arrangements with the help of copper-based mirrors, primitive combs and fibulae brooches.

from Caractère Paris

Ornatrix statue in the Carthage Museum, Tunisia

Far from being a privilege reserved for the few wealthy classes, many more Romans sought their grooming in public barbershops, either inside a dedicated building or out on the street corner. These workers distinguished themselves with specially designed haircut gowns. They were mostly preoccupied by the care of men, whose beards required weekly attention. Aside from the basic format of the service, the functional aspects of aesthetic care were important. Often, only a single seat was available in the neighbourhood Botteca Tonsor, or barber shop. This gave the client the hair dresser’s full, undivided attention during sessions. Early versions of mirrors, different sizes of scissors, statues and paintings on the walls provided the client with ideas of styles from which to choose. For the customer’s comfort, more luxurious shops provided towels or protective cape-like covers, called Involucrum, but this was a relatively uncommon practice.

from Caractère Paris

Ornatrix from Pompei

In addition to the simple purpose of hair salon, the Tonsor also operated as it still does today in many countries of the Middle East and Asia, as a sort of general physician/practician, herbalist, nutritionist, psychologist and private consultant. Even today, as in ancient Rome, the barber was responsible for taking care of a variety of important rituals that marked the milestones of a person’s life. These ranged from “shaving the first offering to the gods” (circumcision), to the application of disinfecting creams and lotions to kill fleas and ticks, to treating the client with leeches for bloodletting, considered for centuries the best remedy to every illness. Above all, the barber shop was (and remains in some capacity today) a social place where the latest news and gossip were shared, where people shared their personal problems and where important decisions were made. What’s more, they served as a host for vibrant political discussions and helped people come to agreements.

Culturally, there is an abundance of well-known examples (that is, of course aside from the Barber of Seville), such as the classic novel ‘Moustache‘ by Tahsin Yucel, considered one of the greatest Turkish writers of the Twentieth Century. It describes the changes in society from the perspective of a barber shop in a small village of Anatolia. On the other hand, the hair stylist’s role in literature has remained a central part of Italian culture. Toward the end of the Roman empire, the satirical story Martial and Juvenal (Marziale e Giovenale in the original language), focused on those obsessed with hair styles, those lazy ones stuck “between the mirror and comb” (Martial).

from Caractère Paris

Frontispiece Depicting Juvenal and Persius

The stories are numerous enough to give specific information on the trends and styles instituted under the emperor. Dyed hair wigs imported from the Indian provinces became a popular style. Although hair styling tools from the Roman period have been impossible to preserve until today because they were usually made of iron and subsequently destroyed by rust, there are many directions for the beard cutting process and style left by Etruscan, still well preserved to this day in bronze reliefs. During the Middle Ages, the barber’s shop became a learning place for surgery, according to the teachings of Hippocrates, Galen (Galeno) and Avicenna.

Today, the single sex, community barber has virtually disappeared, replaced over the last century by commercial, unisex hair salons and spas. At the same time, in recent years there seems to be a recovery of some neighbourhood community barber shops. While the size, health standards and hygiene have evolved rapidly, and new services are offered such as massage sessions, facials, manicures and pedicures; today’s beauty salons have reincorporated many of the same wellness and health services that were common two thousand years ago.

Caractère offers a variety of products, some even inspired by the early concept of the Involucrum, including protective gowns, kimonos, capes, supplies for hairdressers, massage wear, sauna products and much more…

Micro-Fibre Towels: Cost-Cutting doesn’t have to Cost Comfort or Convenience

Micro-fibre towels, or micro-fiber as they’re called across the pond, are a new fabric innovation that has revolutionized several industries. A part of household conversation, they are synthetic fibres (often polyester or polyamide) developed since the 1950s that fit the requirement of measuring less than one denier. A denier is a measure of the linear mass density of fabric based on an ancient French coin measurement, equal to one twelfth of a pence. For a fibre to be officially considered “micro,” a 9,000 meter length of a filament of the fibre must weight no more than one gram. One gram for a strand of roughly six miles — we’re literally talking microscopic! For example, a single denier polyester fibre measures out to a diameter of ~10 micrometers.

While the first micro-fibres were developed in Japan not long after the Second World War, its first successful application came with Ultrasuede in the 1970s. The microfibre craze spread throughout Europe and North America during the 1990s and 2000s. Some of the various advantages of microfibre over its cotton cousin include added durability, water absorption or resistance (dependent on manufacturing processes and treatments), fabric softness and filtering capabilities. Often, the apparel, upholstery and cleaning product industries call on Micro Fibre to create for them the perfect solution. Now, the same cutting edge technology is available to the tourism, spa and beauty fields in the form of the Micro Fibre Towel.

from Caractère-Paris

Micro-Fibre Towels

What are the advantages of choosing microfibre over cotton? Microfibre towels are extremely effective because their high density fibre count means unparalleled liquid absorption capacity. Similarly, they dry faster and are less likely to become mouldy or mildewy if left in a confined area, giving them numerous advantages over cotton towels. What’s more, you’ll never need to use fabric softener or pay extra for softening detergents again: microfibre materials are manufactured with a built-in softness that stays. Micro-fibre towels are so soft and luxurious, your clients will think you’ve opted for a chich, premium level, designer towel. Little will they know this classy amenity came at a bargain.

In terms of functionality, since they weigh less and dry faster than other towels, microfibre towels take up less space in your Laundromat’s washing and drying machines. They will be ready for re-deployment faster than their cotton counterpart. You can save up to 40% of your towel maintenance time and budget simply by switching to microfibre. These towels are so useful and practical, they pay for themselves over a short period of time! Mother nature will thank you too for cutting down on your use of natural resources, such as electricity and water. Conversion to micro-fibre will not only save your pocketbook, but it will also attract eco-conscious clients that prefer to support “green” businesses.

Caractère Paris, through Disposable-Linen.com, offers white Micro-Fibre towels in sets of six towels, available in three convenient sizes: small, 50 x 80 cm (20 x 32 in); medium, 70 x 140 cm (28 x 55 in); and large, 140 x 200 cm (55 x 80 in).

What is Non-Woven Fabric? How does it differ from woven fibres? How is it used? What are its advantages and disadvantages?

from Disposable-Linen.co.uk

Sanitary Headset or Earphone Protection Covers made of nonwoven fabric, from Disposable-linen.co.uk

Non wovenfabrics are sheets or networks of fibres, bound or tangled together via mechanic, thermal or chemical means. As opposed to traditional materials, such as cotton, linen, wool, and silk; non-woven fabrics do not necessitate weaving or knitting during
production. This means there is no time or energy spent spinning the individual fibres into yarn. Instead, they can be produced quickly and efficiently, all the while preserving very high standards of quality, softness and resilience. The binding process usually occurs through the pressing of fibres together with an adhesive, chemical binder, heat, ultrasonic pattern bonding, water combination and/or by interlocking the fibres with serrated needles. This technological development for the fabric industry is often applied in either flat sheet form or thicker slices for various purposes, including to absorb or repel liquids, resist against wear, to add a quality of stretchiness or softness, to increase comfort or strength, and to prevent the spread of flames or bacteria, especially in sterile and single-use products.

from Disposable-Linen.co.uk

Another example of non-woven fabric, a work gown/smock/dress from Disposable-Linen.co.uk

from Disposable-Linen.co.uk

One example of a non-woven product, a washcloth from Disposable-Linen.co.uk

Non woven fibres have many uses. According to the Association of Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, these can range from paper products like tags, envelopes and labels; to bathroom essentials such as sanitary or anti-bacterial wipes, diapers, adult incontinence prevention and feminine hygiene products; to medical solutions that include bandages, caps, face masks and surgical scrubs and gowns; to filters for water, coffee, tea, gas/oil, vacuums and HEPA air filters; to consumer products through padding, packaging, insulation, carpeting, upholstery, disposable towels, fabric dryer sheets, earphone protection covers and disposable textiles; to construction and petrochemical industry uses in manufacturing insulation, wall coverings, civil engineering and roofing materials.

from Disposable-Linen.co.uk

Another example of a non-woven product, a sanitary handwipe from Disposable-Linen.co.uk

Industries and consumers tend to favor non woven fabrics for their ease of customization, cost, attractiveness, durability, ventilation, weight, disinfectant-carrying and filtration capacity, ecological awareness (because they do not harm animals or the Earth during production, unlike traditional fibres, and can always be recycled), and because they ensure hygiene with each use. However, due to the fact that they often cannot be washed or reused, non woven fabrics necessitate the proper disposal facilities to treat and then recycle their fibres. Depending on their manufacturing process and intended use, they can also be thinner and therefore less durable than other products that are destined for reuse, but this attribute of course accompanies their affordable production and distribution.