Recently, I was honored to be asked to listen to the pitches of designers and producers who were creating their own products in the US. They were introducing their product to Rachel Shechtman for consideration to be sold in her STORY store – and Rachel and I were also joined by Scott Prindle and brand building legend Alex Bogusky to make up the panel of judges.
The Makers who came before us were proud, they were nervous, they were excited, they wanted to share their achievements with the world. As I listened to them, I felt a number of themes emerging:
- The ability for a creative to Make-In-America is rapidly opening up. I learned that the factories of the North East and New York’s Fashion District are beginning to seriously consider smaller runs by new producers. Previously, it had been very hard to convince these companies to work with new designers but a ground-swell of demand seems to have shifted attitudes.
- There is a growing section of the market who want to buy into Made-In-America, own the stories behind the products, think of their purchase as a life-experience not a fleeting buy.
- There’s an opportunity to create a wholesale network of consciously produced American sourced raw materials for these crafts people to buy from.
- These creatives are making their products from their apartments, their sheds. Some do it in the evening, some are just making products they love, some borrow from their grandmother’s recipe and some are leaving careers they felt they ‘had no option but to pursue’ and are returning to what they learned in college.
I wanted to share these wonderful photographs taken on the night by Drew Innis of these young hopefuls presenting their products… [This post has been republished with their company names and you can always pop by STORY to see some of these interesting items yourself]. … What’s important is the beautiful diversity of talent that is out there, believing in themselves, and not shying away from the products they can build. Go America, go.
Rebecca Bravin, Charlie Sprout
“I just started to make these African-inspired pattern pillows from my apartment in the evenings.”
Guillermo Zubillaga, Our Nature
“I got inspired by the trees of New York and the city around us.”
Shala Rothenberg, Bosie
“Four years ago I took every free course that I could find in the city and I taught myself to make clothes.”
Jonathan Sabutis, Reductivist
“This titanium prototype has proven to be a little too heavy, a little too expensive. Stainless steel works just as well and is so available here in the US.”
Fabian Pfortmüller, Holstee
“We wanted to create a new way for people to experience and share art.”
Paula Cizek, Hipster Critters
“It’s a side project. I thought, if I don’t do it now, when will I do it?”
Jenipher Lyn, Cherry Runway
“I just started to draw what I was feeling. I have no training. People seem to like it.”
Mengly Hernandez, Linea Germania
“100% produced in Harlem. Patterns inspired by my love of lines.”
Kevin Michael Burns, KMB Designs
“I’ve always been a furniture designer. Then someone told me about Arduino. That I could put a chip into this lamp and create something different.”
Ali Borowick & Lauren Borowick, Fatty Sundays
“I left college and decided to go work for my sister.”
Kevin Scot Collins, Rune NYC
Amanda Campbell, Tracy Watts
Emily Fischer, Haptic Lab
“I did quilts. Now I’m onto kites.”
Pia Coronel, Gemini Post
Nicholas Graham Panas, A Summer Shop
“The board-bags are the easy part. Now I’m working to get all the board-pieces made in America.”
Nathalie Kraynina, Nathalie Kraynina
“I decided to go back to fashion. The colors of the range are inspired by New York.”
Kevin Scot Collins, Rune NYC
Zach Harris, Itsy Bitsy
“So my mom, dad and I quit our jobs in the city and we decided to set up a furniture factory in Connecticut.”
Lisa Henry, Objects With Purpose
“Made in LA. Burn it or rub it on your skin. Or both.”
“I gave up my career in the restaurant business and returned to where I started. As a potter.”
Ian Ingram, Cozeco
“I owned a cow-hide rug and one day I decided to cut it up.”
Alice Wu, Feral Childe
“I’m half of a NYC-San Francisco based duo.”
Will Berman, Unwashed Denim
“I started two years ago when I discovered raw denim. I am 16.”
Thank you to Rachel Shechtman for inviting me to be part of the evening. Check out her store in Chelsea, NYC on the corner of 19th Street and 10th Avenue.