USA Manufacturer and Me!
As a working designer I decided that New York City is where I needed to be, so I sub-let my apartment, sold all of my furniture, packed my bags, and moved my life from Chicago to Brooklyn into the apartment of my two best gays. Paul and Steven are my best buds and they let me spend the next 2 weeks scouring the internet for anything that slightly resembled a career opportunity I was interested in until I saw a post that seemed to fit my idea of “a cool place to work.” Understatement of the year as it turns out. I applied, got a reply, an interview, and subsequently was offered a job. I accepted the position and began my career with Clutch Made, thus it became the manufacturer and me in NYC.
One of the great things about my new job is that I get to participate in every aspect of the accessory manufacturing process from concept and design to sourcing and production. While my day starts behind a desk, I’m not there for long as my to-do list is long and everything must get done. A quick ride on the 1 train at Rector street takes me from my office on the Battery to the garment district. Whether its leather or feathers you’re looking for, you can find it in the garment district and from there, it’s off to our factory. From street level you would never guess what is going on behind the walls of these NYC buildings. Going to our factory is like taking a tour through Willy Wonka’s Candy Factory. We all know and love the finished product but this and here is how it’s made. As I listen to our Creative Director, Laura Dotolo, speak the language of production, it becomes clear to me that there is a science to communication and working efficiently with our factories.
So far I’ve designed and sourced lambskin leather, Swarovski crystals for an evening bag, designed a leather dog collar, a leather cuff bracelet, a cashmere/leather shawl, a mens necktie, and a baby changing bag! I’ve been on a photo shoot where I put my styling skills to work. I have traveled to three of New York’s five boroughs all in one day to check on our clients’ productions at our factories.
I’ve met people I would have never had the chance to be exposed to; like Russell, a stylish Englishman who designs and manufactures men’s neckties and accessories in LIC and who’s brother happens to be the owner of the popular street wear brand Supreme! I’ve learned tips and tricks of the industry that only Laura Dotolo could show me. I’ve realized the importance of over communicating, time management, and meeting deadlines. I’ve also been getting a killer workout with all the running around we do. I’ve been given an amazing opportunity with Clutch Made. I look forward to what’s to come with my new opportunity and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted along the way!
Stay tuned and write soon!
Ali is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art- Chicago with a degree in Fashion Design. Ali likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. She is into yoga and likes the taste of champagne.