As a designer in the fashion industry, I’ve seen my share of clothing manufacturing factories abroad, including India, China and Hong Kong. Aside from them being often pretty depressing places, it’s such a shame these great jobs have left New York City, where they existed for years. I’m very glad to see this effort to bring home the production aspect of the business to Brooklyn.
Ms. Bob Bland has founded Manufacture New York and is launching a Kickstarter project to provide independent designers with affordable local production, along with a launch party on Monday, Oct 15th at Brooklyn Farmacy. The intent is to raise “public awareness of exactly how clothes are made, and provide both consumers & designers with an alternative to outsourcing.” Her idea is to enable independent fashion designers to expand their abilities, skills and resources while keeping everything local. Pretty cool, right?
Here are some of the amazing features the planned industrial space will provide:
Our headquarters will include a fully-equipped sampling room, innovative manufacturing facilities, classroom space (open to the public), private studios for rent and a state-of-the art computer lab complete with the industry’s latest software for design & production. We will also offer a dedicated area for experimentation with environmentally-friendly fabric washes, dyeing, finishes and special textile applications.
Join us at Brooklyn Farmacy in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn on Monday, October 15th from 7-9pm for our launch party. It’s totally open to the public & kid-friendly, just RSVP HERE. There will be live music, a benefit raffle of premium Brooklyn Royalty tees, sewing demos and delicious artisanal sodas & sundaes like “The Elvis”. We suggest a $5 donation (goes directly to our Kickstarter campaign) and indie designers can apply for early membership on-site! We are also sponsoring the Gowanus Girls Indie Design & Food Market on Saturday, October 13th & 27th, so meet us there & find out more.
Williamsburg Fashion Weekend’s founder, producer and creator Arthur Arbit is all about conscientious, ethical clothing made here in the USA, not in 3rd world countries.
His message was when you’re shopping for clothes made in the corporate fashion world, someone’s paying with their blood. But not these clothes…each piece of clothing featured in the shows was made by its designer’s hands or otherwise American born.
Details and photos for each designer after the jump!
Both nights of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend were highly entertaining. The fashion show style differed from neighboring Manhattan’s fashion week in a refreshing, non-corporate, chill, handmade and environmentally friendly kind of way.
Here are a few highlights from the shows:
First up was an Andrea Diodati’s fairy kei collection, full of recycled materials & found objects. Everything from curtains, doilies, pillows, chenille bathrobes, crochet this&that and other unsuspected objects were found in this delightful collection of pink, baby-doll looks. The pink cotton candy hair w/rainbow highlights gave a serious nod to Marge Simpson in terms of height and playfulness. A few stand-out items were the spandex harem leggings, plush back-packs and jackets with “pillow” collars, giving a whole new meaning to the bed-jacket. Andrea, inspired by post-impressionist artist Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec’s “la Clownesse” (female clown), described it as David Bowie meets the Easter Bunny. The visuals were sweetheart candies for the eyes with girls dancing nymph-like to hypnotizing narration + midnight cowboy music (make that cow-girl).
En route to brunch, Jen spotted Michael a mile away and upon closer inspection, I had to agree: this guy looks sharp!
GP: I’m curious about your style; what’s with the tie and sweater vest? What do you do? Michael: I design menswear and work in accounting.
GP: Can you tell us what you’re wearing today? Michael: Most of what I’m wearing is J. Crew and Rugby, except for the shirt which I designed for a label I co-own, Bedford & Grove.
GP: How hear about Greenpointers? Michael: When I first moved to Williamsburg a few years ago I chose a few local blogs/sites to follow, and Greenpointers was one of them. I’ve lived in the Greenpoint area since August.
Further down the road, we ran into Stephanie, another fashion designer and 5 year resident of Greenpoint. Funny enough we always run into her on Manhattan ave, always with iced coffee in hand and a black slip dress.
GP: What’s your favorite thing to do, besides traipsing up and down Manhattan Ave on the weekends? Stephanie: I spend most of my time working and creating, but when I do go out I go see shows at Death By Audio or 285 Kent. Or I go to my friend Patty’s house where she cooks really awesome vegan dinners.
GP: And you design clothing? Tell us a little about that… Stephanie: I am a designer, and I actually spend most of my time working in my studio. I went to Parsons, and after realizing I like all the phases of designing and constructing clothes, instead of just working in one niche, I started making clothes for Brooklyn bands like Vivian Girls. I launched my own line in September of this year at Williamsburg Fashion Weekend. I’m currently working on my Fall 2012 collection which I will show in February.
GP: Any thoughts about the fashion here in Greenpoint? Stephanie: Ha, yeah I’m not super inspired by the street fashion in this neighborhood. Usually if someone blows me away she is like 80 years old and has on a dress she probably purchased from Bonwit Teller in the late 60s/early 70s. I have noticed a lot of really clean Doc Martins as of recent.
GP: Tell us about your upcoming Pop-Up Shop. Stephanie: I’m doing a small capsule collection of dresses in the $100-200 range at a Pop-Up Shop at 330 Berry St between So. 4th & So. 5th St. The pieces are based on Russian nesting dolls and some of my favorite vintage dress silhouettes from my own closet – Dollydaze if you will. Most of the dresses are cotton or wool with folkloric embellishment. There’s also a cape dress and a mini caftan. Somehow, I’m always end up in a caftan.
Then we ran into a lovely smiling duo, Anna and Sunny in front of C-town.
GP: How do you two know eachother? Best friends? Anna: At times I think we might know each other better than ourselves. It’s good motivation to constantly evolve and grow, like a race of sorts, so we can’t possibly keep up with each other.
Sunny: For some people, being nice the first time you meet = instant pals, for other people, a good duel to the death is the only way to show you care.
GP: We stopped you on the street because your style is mad. How would you define it? Anna: Why, thank you. I don’t define my style, really, but I do try to match my life… as a traveling urban farmer and aspiring yogi these days. So, yes, that’s probably mulch on the heel of my shoe, and there’s a good chance of finding a set of Japanese pruners or a tin of seeds while looking for the keys in my bag. Sunny: Mad; sounds accurate.
GP: How would you define each others’ style? Anna: Well, she’s kind of a rockstar (though her musical talents transcend genres). Her style is a daily expression of art. She’s kind of a walking installation, ever-inspired by her many life’s interests.
Sunny: It’s like if tiger lily, poly styrene and a grandma got together and made a little person.
GP: Do you live in greenpoint, and if yes, what charms you about it? Anna: Only sometimes these days. My faves are the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and all of the amazing exotic plants people’ve managed to grow in their tiny little “yards” along the sidewalks.
Sunny: I come here for c town.
Before I went out I grabbed one of my big wrap scarves (totally didn’t need it!) But what can I say? I luv me layers! And then I discovered delightfully-layered Satoko. (not to mention a sweet hat AND a motorcycle helmet) Here’s what we chatted about:
L: What do you do?
L: How long have you lived in greenpoint?
S: 3 yrs (I left once but I came back!)
L: What’s your favorite thing about Greenpoint?
S: Going to ASH box. (I’m going to have a breakfast there almost every day.)
As the weather inevitably changes, Anna shows us how to deal with the elements.
L: What do you do for work? A: I’m a manager. I’m relatively new to NY.
L: Do you live in greenpoint ? For how long? A: Now I live in Greenpoint 2 months. I like this place.
L: What’s your favorite thing about greenpoint?
A: I’m inspired by everyday things usually…people on the street, scents, photographs, etc. Like seeing the beauty in the mundane.I am a big fan of modern art and I am a fan of old things. I like flea markets.
L: Where are you from? A: I am basically from Italy. I should take a test (TOEFL). As I would like to enter the school of visual arts.I like this place.
L: What’s your favorite piece to wear nowadays? A: Lancel is my fave bag brand.I like serafini sneakers, gravati moccasins. I like Patrizia Pepe, Harris Tweed.
L: What are you wearing today? A: Today I have a jacket from The British Millerain Co.I hope you understood my English.
Spring was in the air…wait, it’s mid-October! I would enjoy it while it lasted…if you’ve lived here long enough you know things change fast, like style! It was Saturday and I didn’t know what to wear. Looking out my window it was beautiful. I checked my mac’s dashboard – beautiful. Really? Could I trust this? Would I make it to evening with a little top and bare legs if I didn’t come home to change? I left.
I met Viva on the street…she was looking like she had some major spring fever!
L: Hi Viva! What do you do?
V: Filmmaker/dancer, vocalist in The Crystal Ark (w Gavin Russom) and partner to Desi Santiago in perf art/house music duo Escandalo.
L: What’s your favorite thing about Greenpoint? V: Polish people, bicycles, midnight sun recording studio (where we are rehearsing- home of Jessica 6 and Midnight Magic)
L: Where are you from? V: Ecuador and Jamaica Queens: Ecua-Yorker? EquaYorquina
L: What are you wearing today?
V: Something I picked up in a 2 euro bin in Berlin secondhand store when I was touring with Big Art Group. Easy breezy with some color and flowers, I like.
L: What’s your favorite piece to wear nowadays?
V: 3 things: a copper jaguar ring gifted to me by the brilliant Stanley Love (choreographer and witch), gold Jesus name plate for father spirit connection, and number one thing is my dad’s gold ring with incan designs for the love connection to roots of all kinds.