The web was less of a star at this morning’s Shopbop sponsored Parson’s panel. Instead, the focus was on innovation offline. The topic of discussion for Tommy Hilfiger, Rosen, J.Brand CEO Jeff Rudes, Rogan Gregory, and New York Times reporter Stephanie Rosenbloom was “Made in the USA: What Should We Be Doing?”
There are a ton of clothes still manufactured in the USA, but how can we make that number bigger? And should we even bother? The general consensus is yes, we should, and much of that manufacturing should be done in New York. Hilfiger, whose daughter Ally launched a new collection today, said he advised her to produce all of her clothes here in the Garment Center, mostly because she’ll have more control over the final product. Rosen wants to encourage more up-and-coming designers to do the same–he’s working on a initiative with the local government to give young designer’s more access to the Garment Center’s resources. “What I want to do is pull it all together and modernize,” he said. (PS–If you think it’s funny that Rosen, CEO of mass contemporary brand Theory, is talking about keeping the Garment Center alive, you’ll be interested to know that 35% of the company’s production is done in the US.)
A great example of a thriving manufacturing community in the States is Los Angeles, where most of the denim we wear and many of the t-shirts we buy are produced. Rudes, who is based in Los Angeles and produces his jeans there, said that manufacturing in New York isn’t a pipe dream. And it can also create new job opportunities for immigrants and lower income families. “Import not only brings manufacturing jobs, but service, pattern making, and sourcing,” he said.