My go to outfits are mostly jeans and t-shirts and my idea of dressing that up include adding a sweater and mascara. Hanging out at Lincoln Center during fashion week leaves me with more confusion than envy. Needless to say, fashion isn’t really my thing.
Pumpstash however, has forced me to make fashion a little bit more my thing. Previously my fashion knowledge didn’t have to go further than whether or not gold or silver or black or brown could be worn together. Now I need to know the difference between a stitch that serged in the front and back and folded back with a topstitch and a stitch that serged than stitched down with a triple needle cover stitch. Not only do I need to know the difference between the two, but the stitch dictates the price, durability, and comfort of the finished piece. When trying to make a high quality product, especially one that is holding a device as expensive and important as the pump, it’s important I make informed decisions.
I have spent months wandering the garment district in NYC, researching fabrics, cuts, and stitches online, and talking to countless industry people and I think I’m making the best decisions but am still a little unsteady about all the different options and the minor, but important differences between them all.
I’ve learned so many things about the fashion industry that I never would have learned about otherwise. I’ve learned about all of the hard work, care, and concern that go into making a sample, and then converting the sample into a variety of sizes in a way that ensure the integrity of the sample is held up. I’ve learned there is an entire industry that is dedicated to the process that occurs between the basic sketches of an idea for a dress (or spandex shorts with pockets) and the beginning of manufacturing.
Last week I headed back down to the garment district to pick up my markers, a guide to cutting and styling the fabric to ensure fabric is used efficiently and the proportions and dimensions of the garment are accurate, and to meet with the manufacturer. Almost everything is lined up and ready to move to production. The fabric is all ordered and delivered at the factory in the Bronx, the manufacturer and I long ago reached an agreement on timeline and price, the markers were finished and ready to go. As we met and went over some final details and I got ready to give them a green light, he brought up something I never even thought of.
The U.S. requires every garment produced and sold to have a label with washing and care instructions, and the consumer obviously would like to make sure the size they ordered is the one they want. I felt so frustrated, I thought I had done all my research and had covered every base. Luckily, the label is an easy fix. Since they are required by every garment, they are easy to find and shouldn’t delay production. Even though it’s an easy fix, it reminded me how outside of the fashion world I feel sometimes. I try to remind myself that it’s ridiculous to think I would be an expert after a year of poking my head around in the fashion industry, and that I have amazing and supportive people on my side that remind me about the labels and will always explain the difference between a pattern, grader, and marker when I get confused.
I'm confident in the fashion decisions I've made for Pumpstash so far and will continue to get my toes wet and learn while we move further into production and start expanding the business.