Riding Jacket by Maria Brubeck

Riding Jacket by Maria Brubeck

Last week we talked about the impact of fast-fashion on jobs and our communities in the U.S. And we asked: can we include human beings in the innovation equation as we seek to solve a major apparel challenge for women – to improve the way garments fit?
 
Can we create an entirely new value proposition for women that creates jobs in our communities? Can we bring back the best of old school apparel production where everything was made to measure, modernize it with technology and share the benefits with workers and our customers?
 
Womenswear is currently made in defined sizes to fit the standard production model that wants to cut a certain number of garments in a certain number of sizes and sew them together as efficiently as possible. I’m sure you’ve had plenty of experience with the resulting product. A couple of brands fit, they are hard to find and you hope to God they don’t change their sizing.

The current alternative for a higher end woman’s garment is to pay 1-2k or more to have someone hand make a pattern, hand cut it and then adapt it over several fittings. Very few women can afford this and it is hard to find any of these geared towards women because, let’s face it, there are still many more men making the big bucks than women.


Pattern digitization

Pattern digitization

So how do we make this more accessible? Well nowadays we can digitize a pattern, enabling us to upload individual women’s measurements and adapt that pattern to her measurements. We can use a giant computerized cutter to cut the pattern pieces alongside other women’s pattern pieces in a few minutes versus the hours it would have taken to cut each individual jacket to measure. And we can send the garments directly to women in their home, and not hold onto any unnecessary or ill-fitting inventory – providing savings for our work and the environment.


Gerber computerized cutter

Gerber computerized cutter

And what do we do with all the time/money saved producing each garment this way? We are proposing that we pay U.S. sewers a living wage, give them a bit more of the share of the apparel pie than is typical and in return they make beautiful, durable garments. We propose investing in high quality materials that are responsibly sourced and ethically produced. The result is products that last decades, if not a lifetime.


Western North Carolina Sewing Company (a.k.a. Sew Co), Hendersonville, NC

Western North Carolina Sewing Company (a.k.a. Sew Co), Hendersonville, NC

In short we want to provide a value to women that has never before been possible and we think we can do it in a way that brings back jobs and is easier on the environment.
 
I wonder if you are thinking what I thought in my early days of learning about the technology available to make made to measure apparel production more efficient. Well if it is so doable, how come no one is doing it? Well, it turns out that many menswear companies are doing it. Just not for women.  But that’s a topic for next week…
 
3 weeks until we launch our iFundWomen U.S.A Made to Measure Womenswear Campaign: Tuesday, September 26th!
 
Thank you for supporting us to bring this solution to life! Please spread the word. We have the power to change what is possible.

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