Made X Hudson in Catskill Offers Small Batch Clothing Production for Independent Designers | Beauty & Fashion | Hudson Valley

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  • Unique quilted jackets designed by local brand Marvin Ruby and executed by Made X Hudson.

After less than a year of operation, the Catskill-based nonprofit Fact X Hudson already proves both the demand and the viability of a centralized manufacturing facility for small Hudson Valley garment producers.

Pandemic baby

A lot has happened in the first year of the pandemic. Shops closed and open. People migrated en masse to the Hudson Valley from the city. We have learned to reactivate ourselves on Zoom. And a group of people have come together to meet the growing demand for local production.

In July 2020, Hudson Community Incubator Founder Eric DeFeo began hosting a series of bi-monthly calls with local creatives and entrepreneurs to explore the growing need for maker capacity to support the region’s burgeoning maker class. “In the Hudson Valley, there are mostly small design and food businesses — those are the easiest to set up and run,” DeFeo says. “We phased out food fairly early on due to the complexity of securing commercial kitchen space and the licenses around it for something that would only serve a few businesses. While garment companies…” Well, in the craft garment and textile goods industry, there was room to grow in spades, helping even the smallest manufacturing operations.

It was through these calls that DeFeo eventually met Sirpa Cowell, who would go on to collaborate with him on Made X Hudson as a board member and head of design, development, and production. Cowell, who brings over 25 years of international design, product development and manufacturing experience, was an ideal partner for this project. After all, she had tried a similar vision before. Partnering with Tsia Carson, Cowell in 2017 opened Factory & Main, a sustainable slow fashion co-op in Catskill, with both retail and production space, including a sample room, space cutting and a photo studio.

Factory & Main fell victim to a pandemic, but even after abandoning the space, Cowell clung to the dream of a vibrant sewer center revitalizing Main Street businesses and empowering manufacturers. “I have a big dream that we can one day have a big hub with cut and sew, digital printing, pattern making and a studio where we can photograph items so customers can just put them on directly on their e-commerce platforms,” ​​she says of Made X Hudson’s future. “If we could do all of this and bring it to small customers, that’s my dream.” Here, DeFeo steps in to add: “It’s our collective dream. We want to make it an innovation hub for the region. There aren’t many facilities like this in the region or in the country.”

Factory and leading designers create slow fashion co-op in Catskill

Factory and leading designers create slow fashion co-op in Catskill

By Marie Doyon

Beauty & Fashion

Through Factory and Main, Cowell had met many manufacturers in the area and was aware of the need for small manufacturing. “There is clothing manufacturing in the city, but there are higher minimums,” she says. They have therefore adapted the offers of Made X Hudson accordingly. “We try to be friendly with small designer brands, so we can help them offer something other than fast fashion,” she explains. And when she says small, she means it. The minimum production of Made X Hudson is 24 pieces of the same style, a quantity of samples accessible even to the most micro-manufacturers.

By removing barriers to entry, namely production minimums and associated costs, Made X Hudson hopes to fill the market with clothing and soft goods made ethically by independent designers and brands, offering a multitude of local alternatives to mass-produced clothing. In keeping with their mission statement, Made X Hudson is dedicated to developing “local, small-batch, high-quality manufacturing, prioritizing ethical labor practices and creative valley design and production talent. of the Hudson”. But with such values, it didn’t take long for the word to get out. “It’s local, but we work with smaller brands all over the country,” Cowell says. “We just got an order today from Nashville. We’ve worked with companies in Texas, California.

Scaling

Made X Hudson got its start in an old fire station in Leeds, a friend’s unused gallery space. But as orders came in and the waiting list grew, the team knew they had to find a bigger space. “It wasn’t well insulated. Winter was coming and we were busy,” Cowell says. windows and room to stretch out.

In their first eight months, Made X Hudson collaborated with more than two dozen brands, hired six people, and supervised interns from two regional colleges, including supervising seniors in Marist’s fashion program for their flagship projects. Some local manufacturers they have worked with include Marvin Ruby, Hanoux, Katrin Reifeissand Katrina Rodabaugh. “Having really experienced staff here is always very difficult,” says Cowell. “We are willing to train ourselves, it’s more about being comfortable in front of the industrial sewing machine. The rest is learned. Speaking of learning, future plans for Made X include holding sewing classes and other events open to the public.

“We’ve basically been in pilot mode,” says DeFeo of the self-funded company. “Now that we’ve worked with at least 25 brands, we believe we’ve validated the concept and demand and are looking to grow and evolve.” This year, Made X Hudson will seek to raise funds, while playing the delicate balance between workload and number of employees. “We had to believe in ourselves to invest in certain machines,” says DeFeo. “But so far we can say that it is paying off. We will be looking for more support to grow and make it a bigger hub for the region. »

Michael O. Stutler