Arizona fashion store redesign
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Yves Saint Laurent, the legendary 20th-century French fashion designer, once said: “Fashion passes, style is eternal.” Apparently he wasn’t talking about clothing production.
For decades, the way garments are designed and manufactured has been plagued by inefficient and wasteful processes. The industry could be described as anything but “sustainable” and “sustainable”.
Some Arizona fashion reformers are working to change that, using a technology-centric approach.
Sherri Barry and Angela Johnson are the co-founders of STUFF, a nonprofit fashion incubator in Tempe, just steps from Arizona State University. Her idea came from her own experiences in the fashion industry.
As production manager for an established clothing company based in Los Angeles in the 1990s, Johnson saw first-hand the obstacles newcomers face. Garment production tended towards large-scale overseas manufacturing processes, with little room for new ideas.
Upon returning to Arizona, Johnson met Barry, who was building her own brand and encountering similar obstacles. Their struggle ignited a shared passion to create a trusted resource for emerging designers and together they launched FABRIC.
“Arizona has been the best-kept secret for decades as a great place to live and work because of its affordability, business-friendly environment and plentiful job market,” said Johnson. “Being bordered by Mexico and California makes Arizona an ideal location for disrupting many industries and particularly for an innovative, tech-enabled, sustainable version of the fashion industry.”
FABRIC is just one innovator adding to Arizona’s dynamic fashion landscape. others include Bespoke production company (BMC), The fashion designerthe Arizona Costume Institute, Arizona Sustainable Apparel Association, and wow studios.
Overseas production requires large order volumes, which can be both costly and unsustainable. Johnson hopes to help “democratize fashion” and support local clothing entrepreneurs.
By restructuring the manufacturing process and empowering new designers with “no-minimum” low-volume production, FABRIC helps budding designers get their brands off the ground while providing a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to produce apparel.
The 26,000-square-foot incubator has supported more than 800 apparel entrepreneurs since 2016 and provided over $6.7 million in free and discounted programs and community services.
FABRIC’s creative approach makes fashion insiders rave. The establishment has drawn fashion entrepreneurs into the state from out of state while making waves in more traditional centers like Southern California and New York.
In 2021, Barry launched The Fashioneer to help designers take the next step in the design process – production. The facility’s state-of-the-art print technology enables digitally native brands to create customizable fashion while maintaining an environmentally conscious approach.
“We want to provide our designers with the best sustainable technology so that they can maximize their design potential and offer their customers truly unique personalized products,” Barry said in an interview with Industrial Print.
Bespoke Manufacturing Company (BMC) is another apparel pioneer that recently opened its Phoenix office. BMC is a technology-enabled print, cut and sew company specializing in made-to-order, garment-on-demand and home fashion products.
The manufacturing company Announced April 2022 plans to open a 50,000 square foot facility in Arizona, creating more than 250 jobs. The facility will house an industry-leading digital printer and 120 sewing stations with the capacity to produce six garments per minute.
“Arizona has a vast pool of seamstress talent and raw fashion expertise, so establishing our first manufacturing facility in this growing fashion hub was a natural fit,” said J. Kirby Best, Founder of BMC. “By combining the region’s talented and skilled seamstresses with cutting-edge technology, we aim to make the United States a competitive force in the apparel industry.”
BMC streamlines the manufacturing process by providing comprehensive manufacturing services. The facility includes an industry-leading digital printer, digital cutters and a fleet of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
Sustainability is at the core of BMC’s business model, aiming to drive innovation and support conversations with every stitch and garment produced.
“This is the future of fashion,” Best said. “We found a more sustainable way to make clothes while also meeting the needs of small businesses to be both scalable and profitable.”
As for the outlook for Arizona’s fashion industry, both Johnson and Best agree the future is bright.
“We see Arizona as the next modern fashion capital in the US and want to make change by creating a tech-enabled, sustainable, closed fashion ecosystem,” Johnson said.
To learn more about FABRIC, visit fabricincubator.com.