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Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Fashion: Made in the USA

What is your Independence Day fashion resolution?  Is it to show your patriotic side by shopping
designers who produce their collections stateside?

Recent news that the Garment Center’s roots are being downplayed to accommodate other tenants was devastating to an industry that has struggled to stay in New York for years. While costs are the obvious factor in designers going overseas, one can’t forget the many benefits of producing in the United States.

Local factories are essential to designers who don’t have the volume of mega-brands going overseas. 
Independent brands also offer a unique vision in fashion and can produce quicker to react to trends, and customer preferences.  

I recently found some family-owned companies that have been in the Garment center for generations.  M & S Schmalberg makes custom handmade fabric flowers from antique tools dating back 150 years. They are hand-cut, painted, dyed, glued, trimmed, embellished into a work of art that soon becomes another work of art as part of another designer's creation. They are unique to the industry and an art that thankfully, many designers know is worth preserving. For the artistically inclined, you can take a workshop and tour of this amazing studio to learn the craft yourself.

Dersh Feathers is another mainstay in the area that has supplied high-quality feathers to top designers, costume makers and creative legends for decades. This is a smaller place than you would imagine for the range of colors, textures, birds, feather shapes that they carry. Leave your allergies at the door, there are feathers EVERYWHERE. 

Check out these designers who use local suppliers to produce their collections:
Angel Sanchez:
This designer and architect may have had his roots in Venezuela, but his label has been a proud New Yorker since 1997.  His architect background is visible in the structured looks of his bridal and eveningwear line.  His fans include Eva Longoria, Taylor Swift and Beyonce.

Ann Yee:
A graduate of Philadelphia University, Ann Yee designed knits for labels like Alice + Olivia, Barney's and LaROK before branching out on her own.  Her collection reflects a mastery of fabric and draping.

Designers who have previously been profiled in Ms. Fabulous and produce in the U.S.A. include: Ralph Rucci, Alexander WangJason WuRichardChai and Milly.  Even more...  Douglas Hannant, Anna Sui, House of Waris.

To learn more on how to Save the Garment Center, click here for resources.

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