SEWN GOODS

INTERFORM MAKE

We envision a self-sustained, design-led, state-of-the-art fashion industry here in Northwest Arkansas. We incubate small batch production in our community by activating our local workforce and providing regional designers with the knowledge and tools needed to produce. Our Director of Sewing Operations and Director of Apparel Education lead extensive sewing and pattern making courses for groups of community members with the end goal being to assist in the production of sewn goods by our local designers. MAKE is our newest initiative and the next step in our efforts to propel our designers forward by bridging the knowledge and resource gap between designing and producing.

INCUBATING AN INDUSTRY

What started as a concept and program-in-the-making was quickly put to the test when we were faced with the pandemic. As a response to COVID-19, we created the Mask Makers Challenge , which quickly activated our network of sewists and designers to join hand in hand in the local production of masks. While the primary reason for the program was pressing and undeniable, a second goal was established during the program creation: to aid designers in their transition from hand-making garments to utilizing a manufacturing process. Our small batch manufacturing programming will focus on the execution and production of designer projects. We will connect designers who are ready to make the transition with local sewists and work directly with our Director of Sewing Operations and Director of Apparel and Textiles. Designers will learn and apply the skill of establishing a market value for their designs, create a cost-effective prototype, and work to have a pattern of their garment made. We are in the early stages of building out a program and process around manufacturing locally and believe it will be revolutionary for budding designers in the Heartland.

In our sewing facility, workshop leaders collaborate with their team of sewists to help the designer’s “first draft” garment come to life. This is the first step in transitioning our designers from hand-making every garment themselves, to utilizing our producers and ultimately turning out consistent, high-quality garments. 

Now, more than ever, we see the need and urgency to set ourselves up to produce locally. By focusing on local production of small batches of high fashion, high quality garments we hope to build and sustain a local industry that has been off-shored for too long. The challenges ahead will require dedication, deft marketing that listens our audience and demonstrates the value of the brands we launch, cutting-edge production and manufacturing technology, innovation, and commitment to the community of creatives that make this all possible.

Upskilling for our organization goes beyond our employees. We believe in providing anyone who is interested in learning and growing in production the opportunity to do so under the wing of our Director or Apparel Education and our Director of Sewing. We teach our community members and workshop participants transferable, relevant and valuable skills.

We want to see our designers succeed and that means supporting them every step of the way. We work to give designers a place to come to for all of their needs – whether it be help with marketing, a sounding board for the creation of their collection, or a mentorship in production. If we don’t have the resource  they need at the time, we find it through our network of industry professionals who range from fashion brand founders to merchandising consultants to technical designers and beyond.

We build relationships of support beyond our educational programming to ensure designers have resources as they enter the entrepreneurial retail market. Helping create connections with developers to assist them build an online presence, with inventory management strategies, merchandising, and more. Additionally we create select opportunities for designers to retail their products directly from our storefront in Downtown Springdale.

We support sustainability, ethical production, and corporate responsibility by sidestepping the “race to the bottom” ethos of the textile industry, where the hottest country for textiles at any given time is generally the country with the lowest wages for the workers involved. We want to engage our creatives and empower those who craft their designs – and we want to help build brands that find markets and price points that sustain that operation. Local production enables local job creation and activates traditionally marginalized communities while reducing the carbon footprint of shipping and production. You can feel good about what you wear when you know and believe in its production values! Developing locally produced apparel also naturally gravitates production towards higher quality materials and more sustainable designs – “fast fashion” isn’t really a viable small-batch business model.

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