Made X Hudson in Catskill Offers Small Batch Garment Production for Indie Manufacturers | Beauty & Fashion | Hudson Valley

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  • One of a kind quilted jackets designed by local brand Marvin Ruby and executed by Made X Hudson.

After less than a year in operation, the Catskill-based non-profit organization X Hudson made is already proving both the demand and viability of a centralized manufacturing facility for the small apparel manufacturers in the Hudson Valley.

Pandemic Baby

A lot has happened in the first year of the pandemic. Shops closed and open. People migrated en masse from the city to the Hudson Valley. We learned how to unmute Zoom. And a group of people have come together to meet the growing demand for local production.

In July 2020, Hudson Community Incubator Founder Eric DeFeo began hosting a series of bi-monthly talks with local creatives and entrepreneurs to explore the growing need for manufacturing capacity to support the region’s burgeoning maker class. “The Hudson Valley is predominately small design and food companies — these are the easiest to get up and running,” says DeFeo. “We eliminated groceries fairly early on because of the complexity of getting a commercial kitchen space and the licenses that come with it, something that would only serve a few businesses. While the garment companies…” Well, there was room for enormous expansion in the artisan garment and textiles industry, which helped even the smallest manufacturing establishments.

It was through these calls that DeFeo eventually met Sirpa Cowell, who would later work with him at Made X Hudson as a board member and director of design, development, and production. Cowell, who brings over 25 years of international design, product development and manufacturing experience, was the perfect partner for this project. After all, she had already attempted a similar vision. In 2017, in collaboration with Tsia Carson, Cowell opened Factory & Main, a sustainable slow fashion cooperative in Catskill with both retail and production spaces, including a sample room, cutting room and photography studio.

Factory & Main was a casualty of the pandemic, but even after vacating the space, Cowell clung to the dream of a vibrant sewer center that revitalized Main Street businesses and empowered movers and shakers. “I have a big dream that one day we could have a big center with cut and sew, digital printing, pattern making and a studio where we can photograph items so customers can easily put them directly on their e-commerce platforms be able. ‘ she says of the future of Made X Hudson. “If we could do all that and offer it to smaller customers – that’s my dream.” This is where DeFeo steps in, adding, “That’s our collective dream. We want to turn it into an innovation hub for the region. There are not so many such facilities in the region and in the countryside.”

Factory and head designers build a slow fashion cooperative in Catskill

Factory and head designers build a slow fashion cooperative in Catskill

By MarieDoyon

Beauty & Fashion

Through Factory and Main, Cowell had encountered many local manufacturers and was aware of the need for small-scale manufacturing. “There is clothing manufacturing in town, but there are higher minimum requirements,” she says. So they tailored the Made X Hudson offerings. “We try to be kind to small designer labels so we can help them offer something other than fast fashion,” she says. And when she says small, she means it. The Made X Hudson production minimum is 24 pieces of a single style – a sample quantity accessible to even the smallest maker.

By removing the barriers to entry – namely production minimums and associated costs – Made X Hudson hopes to fill the market with ethically sourced clothing and textile goods from independent designers and brands, and to offer a variety of local alternatives to mass-produced clothing. True to its mission statement, Made X Hudson is dedicated to developing “local, high-quality, low-volume manufacturing that prioritizes ethical labor practices and the creative design and manufacturing talent of the Hudson Valley.” But with values ​​like this, it didn’t take long for word to get around. “It’s local, but we work with small brands across the country,” says Cowell. “We received an order from Nashville today. We’ve worked with companies in Texas, California.”

scale up

Made X Hudson started out in an old fire station in Leeds – a friend’s disused gallery space. But as orders came in and the waiting list grew, the team knew they had to find a bigger space. “It wasn’t properly insulated. Winter was just around the corner and we had a lot to do,” says Cowell. They found what they were looking for in a second floor apartment on Main Street in Catskill – a large, open space with lots of windows and plenty of room to spread out.

In its first eight months, Made X Hudson has worked with over two dozen brands, hired six employees and mentored interns from two regional colleges, including mentoring seniors from Marist’s fashion program for their graduation projects. Some local manufacturers they have worked with include Marvin Rubin, Hanoux, Katrin Reifissand Katrina Rodabaugh. “It’s still very difficult to have really experienced people up here,” says Cowell. “We’re ready to train – it’s more about sitting comfortably in front of the industrial sewing machine. The rest can be learned.” Speaking of learning, future plans for Made X include sewing classes and other events open to the public.

“We were basically in pilot mode,” DeFeo says of the self-funded company. “Now that we’ve worked with at least 25 brands, we feel we’ve validated the concept and demand, and we want to grow and scale.” This year, Made X Hudson will look to fundraise while also supporting the delicate balancing act between workload and headcount. “We had to believe in ourselves to invest in certain machines,” says DeFeo. “But so far we can safely say that it has paid off. We will look for more support to grow and make this a bigger hub for the region.”

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