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Mac&Milk: What Should We Be Doing?

Written by Fashion Publishing | Feb 14, 2011.

Panel at Milk Studios

Amidst the glamour and parties that is fashion week, Shopbop, along with Mac&Milk, hosted an event directed towards educating and sharing ideas on how to increase production for NYC’s stagnant garment district.

Held in the Mac&Milk studio, the panel comprising of iconic designer Tommy Hilfiger, Stephanie Rosenbloom, a reporter for the New York Times, Jeff Rudes, Founder and CEO of J Brand jeans, Andrew Rosen, Co-CEO and President of Theory, and designer Rogan Gregory, promised to be a well of information for young designers who want to start their own business, as well as for industry veterans who are passionate about the business of fashion in New York. Hence, it was fitting that the moderator, Parsons Fashion Dean Simon Collins opened with the question, “What can we do that other countries can’t do?”

While all the panel members stressed upon having a global outlook and remembering that producing at home means easy access to the production line, thereby ensuring a higher quality product on time, a  few had more unique ideas that drew contained murmurs from a crowd bursting with questions. Jeff Rudes was a proponent of information and technology as a way to get ahead. Drawing from his experiences he cautioned young designers to start with “tailored clothing and soft dresses”, as those are what, according to him, NYC manufactures most efficiently.

Tommy Hilfiger, while supporting the need to infuse technology into the fashion business, even citing Apple as an example, constantly grounded the conversation by stressing that Wall Street, academia and creativity needed to join hands and become one single force for the future to be truly successful.

Andrew Rosen, also drawing from his experiences, said that the biggest mistake being made today is that designers want to start their own labels fresh out of school. It is, he thinks, important that they first work in established design houses to learn about all aspects of the business instead of only focusing on the creative.

The talk was relevant to many young designers in the audience, however there were some dissatisfied murmurs from those who were active in other parts of the fashion industry as its being too design-centric. In conversation with those who attended the event it seemed that everyone unanimously agreed with, and was excited by, Andrew Rosen’s idea of consolidation. Imagine a space of 50,000 square feet or so, which would house pattern makers, sewing areas, and sample making space, so that designers could  complete all their manufacturing needs in one place instead of having to scramble all over the city as they now do. He felt, and every one seemed to agree that, saving time was the number one way to making profit.

The event went on for an hour and was followed by a very quick question and answer session. All in all there were a lot of great ideas, but no logistical outcome on what precisely we should be doing.

–Sasha Metha Chhetri, AAS Fashion Marketing

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