Meet these three women designers who were motivated by their production challenges into full-service development and production.
By Daniella Platt
Los Angeles is a known premier destination for fashion production, with a market rich in resources and local manufacturing. Yet, navigating the production scene can be a complex, fragmented path, for both seasoned and emerging brands alike.
These three women designers have made the leap into full-service production—turning their experiences and challenges of producing their exclusive collection into guidance for others. They offer one-stop-services with a common goal: to eliminate the struggles of fragmented production.
We caught up with these three women-owned, full-service apparel and footwear production services to find out how they help brands innovate.
When Jaclyn Jones designed her name-sake shoe collection, she said, “the core struggle was finding a U.S.-based footwear manufacturer. I searched for six months to find a local factory, as most migrated overseas.” She eventually broke into what felt like an underground industry.
In January 2018, Jones was approached to take ownership of the manufacturer making her brand. Her initial reaction of “no-way” shifted to a monumental “yes” when she realized others were facing the same struggle to find U.S. footwear manufacturers.
In October 2018, Jones made the leap from shoe designer to factory owner and CEO of Clover & Cobbler. She shared, “we’re shaking up the industry, providing a new and unique service to emerging designers and existing brands,” in its new facility in Van Nuys, CA.
Clover & Cobbler launched with a fresh website and impressive social media presence, with the deliberate intent of gaining exposure as a Southern California shoemaker. The LA-based factory offers a collaborative approach to manufacturing, working closely with local vendors to enable a simplified one-stop shoe development-to-production resource. “We aim to keep the integrity and artistry of shoe design while advancing brands to the modern age,” Jones said.
What do brands need when they come to Clover & Cobbler? “Designers can bring us anything from a creative vision to a detailed tech pack,” said Jones. “We work with new designers to build their brand from the ground up, as well as help established brands shift to U.S. production, which many felt wasn’t previously an option.”
PREMiERSOURCE works with established and emerging brands to develop a collection, source fabrics and trims and manage the entire production cycle on project basis.
“Brands do not need an in-house production team,” Lusine Mkrtchyan, CEO and Creative Director said.
Mkrtchyan shifted from having her own line of NCAA and NBA licensed apparel to launching PREMiERSOURCE to guide brands through the fragmented production process and avoid the struggles she experienced while developing her collection.
Why would a brand choose to work with PREMiERSOURCE? “We offer the best of all the production facilities in Los Angeles and can provide a range of rates and offerings, without being locked into one place,” Mkrtchyan said. “And personal one-on-one service, always.”
What does a designer need before coming to PREMiERSOURCE? “You need a clear vision of what you want to create. A designer should have one of three things: a physical reference sample, a tech pack or a sketch,” said Mkrtchyan. “Once I have any of these three pieces, we can make pattern and samples.”
Marta Miller, co-founder of Lefty Production Co., is investing in cutting-edge technology at her one-stop apparel factory. Lefty is now a TUKAcenter in Los Angeles, showing off some of the latest innovations from fashion software and hardware developer, Tukatech.
When Miller launched her own line in 2007, she started by working with local partners for everything from pattern-making to production. “There’s a million different pieces to the puzzle,” she said. “There was no collaboration.” Producing abroad was even more challenging, as she faced unforeseen roadblocks at every turn.Feeling the need to offer accessible solutions for all brands needing a personal experience and a one-stop shop, Miller pivoted away from her line and decided to go into garment and accessories prototyping and full-service production, co-founding Lefty Production Co. with Emily Roiff.
What does a brand need before meeting with Lefty? “Brands need all kinds of services that we offer in packages, including materials sourcing, design consulting, sketching, patterns, samples, fittings, marking and grading and production. Clients range from brands needing consulting to get off the ground, to well-established brands that just need production and prototyping.”
What’s next for Lefty? “Our next investment will be 3D-modeling software,” said Miller. “We’re going to be able to do 3D modeling before we even sew it.”