125 – Better Use of Fabric

better use of fabric banner

Leaders of three companies making the charge toward better use of materials for sustainability and a closed loop for textiles include Patrick Robinson, designer and founder of Paskho; designers Beth Hynes and Harrison Taylor Johnson, founders of the brand Vestment; and Jessica Schreiber of the textile waste recycling non-profit Fabscrap.

“When I started Paskho, the key thing that bothered me was how was I going to source fabric, because I felt that I couldn’t just go out there and buy more fabric and become part of this sort of circle of buying fabric every season, more than I need, and keep making things and adding to the world’s landfills, adding more stuff into the world that I’m not sure anyone needs.” – Patrick Robinson

For many who embark on the path of making fashion more sustainable, there is a spiritual element, a driving force that tells them this what they are doing is right, forcing acknowledgement from others who are still doing it wrong. The question must be asked by any participants in the creation of garments and accessories who encounter this movement: are you making something that will do more harm than good out in the world?

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124 – What’s In A Simon Collins?

Simon Collins

In the studio, Simon Collins, former Dean of Fashion at Parson’s: The New School of Design, founder of Fashion Culture Design: The Unconference, and a globally recognized speaker and slogan master on the subject of good design.

Simon talks about retail fatigue, see now buy now, the changing nature of Fashion Weeks, diversity, American politics, and a whole world of other ideas in this whirlwind episode.

“It’s like sustainability– Whose fault is it? It’s our fault! It’s everyone’s fault.” – Simon Collins

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123 – Tabii Just 2.0 – Purposeful Decisions

Purposeful Decisions

Purposeful Decisions

Already a star of the sustainable fashion world, Tabii Just designer Tabitha St. Bernard has decided she wants her company to be about more than just selling clothes. This episode explores her pivot away from wholesale accounts to being a lifestyle brand expressed though more direct customer relationships in e-commerce, trunk shows, and popups. Tabitha’s business advisor in this transition is Tessa Maffucci, who also joins us in the studio.

At the core of the need that prompted this change is the inherent lack of information about what end consumers really want and need in the tradition wholesale relationship. To change the dynamic, Tabitha has assembled an interesting customer information resource, in the form of a collective of women with different backgrounds and body types who give her regular feedback about the brand and her new product ideas. They are also contributing blog content to her website, forming an online community centered around the brand.

Charles talks about how to approach advertising your e-commerce site online.

122 – Raphael Lombardo, Leather Man

Raphael Lombardo, Leather Man

Raphael Lombardo, Leather Man

photos by Charles Beckwith

In fashion, accessories now rival or even outshine the garment business. In the past, American Fashion Podcast producer Charles Beckwith has avoided having many accessories designers on the show because he felt he lacked the vocabulary to host a good discussion about them. So, recently he enrolled in T-Project Showroom’s Leather Handbags Design course, a one-week intensive on materials, design, pattern making, hardware, mass production, and the market for leather handbags.

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This episode is a conversation with the course instructor, master handbag pattern maker Raphael Lombardo, who is the mind behind developing product designs for some of the most successful leather accessories of the last several decades for the world’s most iconic brands.

Also in the studio, one of the managers of the T-Project Showroom in New York who coordinates the education program, Giovanni Stasi. Continue Reading

121 – And Then Tim Gunn Showed Up

Tim Gunn

Reshoring, an awkward word for an essential concept: bringing manufacturing back from overseas. Instrumental in this process are new agile factories, able to produce at low cost in smaller quantities. One company creating such factories, and making a major difference for a lot of emerging desingers and even established brands adapting to new market conditions, is Kathryn Hilderbrand’s Good Clothng Company, on Cape Cod and in Fall River, Massachusetts.

In the studio for this episode are Kathryn Hilderbrand and two of her advisers: a public policy expert who served in the Obama Administration, Mark Linton, and fashion industry veteran and Project Runway superstar, Tim Gunn.

“Well, I think Kathryn is beautifully addressing our biggest challenge, which is to re-shore.” – Tim Gunn

What is different about these new more agile factories? What can a home sewer learn in 12 weeks that makes them ready to sew in a factory? Is the capacity for re-shoring to the United State ready, or will it be ready?

Denovation – abandoning an idea or technology, which had formerly, perhaps wrongly, been seen as progressive.