By  on August 31, 2011

Step off the sixth floor at Barneys New York and there’s a clutch of mannequins at the ready, all dressed in the latest fall merch — Zero + Maria Cornejo, Stella McCartney, Erdem, M. Patmos. Representing the latter, Marcia Patmos’ fledgling solo label after splitting with Tina Lutz last year, is a pair of leather shorts topped with a gauzy purple pullover. The sweater is an intricate collage of knitted and patchwork textures — ribbing, pointelle panels — without a seam in sight. WWD was on the scene when that sweater — or one of the 81 produced like it — spilled out of a knitting machine like lasagne pressed from a pasta maker. The entire production time: about 45 minutes.

Few designers will broadcast the name of their factories and fewer still will offer to take you on a personal tour. But that’s precisely what Patmos did on a midsummer morning at the two-year-old Shima Seiki factory in Monroe Township, N.J. “It’s exciting to be able to do manufacturing here,” says Patmos, during the early morning drive over from Manhattan. “I know people in the industry can be secretive, but it’s good to be promoting domestic production.” Consider it Made in America, by way of a 51-year-old Japanese company.

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