Bit by bit manufacturing has dwindled in the US as domestic companies compete with overseas labor costs, which are much lower due to the fact that many foreign workers are paid less than even a living wage for the place they live, are forced to work long shifts with no breaks, and children are often employed at even lower rates, all of which are illegal practices in the United States (but which makes production in developing countries with few laws and little or no enforcement of laws that do exist).
Bob Bland, founder of Manufacture NY is out to reverse this trend by creating a space that brings NYC’s fashion talent together and production back home. As increases in rent force designers, pattern-cutters, sewers and other vital components of New York’s Garment District to find a new home, Manufacture NY is cradling in-city production with their newly acquired 20,000 square foot space in Brooklyn’s Industry City. The space will revolutionize the industry in a sustainable way, creating a fashion incubator and vertical production facility.
Tuesday marked the launch of Manufacture NY’s IndieGoGo campaign, a crowdsourced fundraiser aiming to raise $100,000 for the project. The funds received through the campaign are allocated for location, equipment and new jobs. “Our headquarters will include a fully-equipped sampling room, manufacturing facilities, classroom space, private studios for rent and a state-of-the art computer lab complete with the industry’s latest software for design and production,” says Bland. There will also be an area for “environmentally-friendly fabric washes, dyeing, finishes and special textile applications,” according to the site.
By contributing to the fund you are helping to change the way the fashion industry operates and conceives local manufacturing. Something we all should give a little to.
As Manufacture NY’s bold vision comes to fruition it will shift how independent designers create and produce garments. “You can note every step of the manufacturing process and make your designs locally to sell all over the globe,” Bland says. Over sixty designers have already signed on to be part of the project, and applications continue to flood in.
“It tells a much deeper story because it’s about all the people and working components of a collection. It’s not just the idea, it’s how it got to be a finished product that really matters–and Manufacture NY represents that return” says NYC eco fashion designer Gretchen Jones.