6 am. Monday morning, commuted from Westchester to Manhattan, iced coffee in hand. Check. Refill my metrocard and hop on the subway. Check. Smile on my face? Check! I entered the building, curious as to what project I would be tackling that day. After getting settled in, David let me know I would be getting to visit their production factories and patternmakers.
Filled with excitement, I helped gather the items we would need to take with us for our meetings. As a designer, born and raised in New York, it’s quite an experience to get to visit our local factories. With most companies nowadays doing production overseas, it is always great to see that the garment district is still thriving. As we hurried uptown with garment bags in tow, I thought about my prior experience with factories. I mostly communicated with them overseas via email at other jobs and internships. I was excited to get the chance to sit in on a fit meeting. The ease of being able to jump on a train if a factory has a question, or if a garment needs to be revised should never be taken for granted. The convenience of communicating in the same time zone and not having to wait long to retrieve samples was invigorating. As we filed inside the factories, the buzzing sound of 30 industrial machines filled the air. Taking a look around there were racks filled with ready made samples, piles of thread and busy looking seamstresses sewing away. We began to set up our fit samples and go over comments and update notes for the meeting. When we finished setting up, the apparel factory manager came and reviewed the updated information.
We had brought some trims for the requested styles and went over the notes we had made in the previous meetings. I visited and was introduced to several factories that day. At each factory, we sat with the manager, reviewed the styles and made sure they had an adequate amount of materials needed to complete the samples. Each factory specialized in a different aspect of the design process and it was fascinating to see that no matter how small a factory was, they were vital to the birth of the collection.
Visiting the factories made me think about my own brand and what I wanted it to run like one day. I could see myself running around Manhattan, getting trims and making samples, giving back to my community using local factories for production and helping to keep New York fashionable.