Gravitas launches the Manufacturing unit Venture Assortment to assist the New York Garment Heart
With its first capsule collection called “The Factory Project,” Gravitas is trying to employ staff at the New York City Garment Center.
Online shoppers can find out about the locally made goods and how 100 percent of the cost of making the bags goes to the community. Gravitas founder Lisa Sun wants to show the reverberating effect of dollars spent on a small community.
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“If we decide now to take care of ourselves, the entire industry will collapse. We have to stick together, ”she said.
The Factory Project five-part collection direct purchases to consumers are shipped within 10 days, the idea being that every purchase saves jobs in the clothing district.
Gravitas has taken root in women’s workwear (not an easy sale due to the pandemic with so many displaced people) and has reoriented itself to offer items that people need now. Instead of creating suitable clothes for the boardroom, Gravitas designed waterproof bags such as a shoulder bag and a bag.
Analyzing the numbers, Sun concluded that buying a shopping bag saved a seamstress by three hours. Buying all five pieces would save the laborer an entire day, Sun said. Fifty-eight other employees from various companies in the Garment District make money for every purchase outside of Gravitas’ eight-person team. They, in turn, pay their employees who pay for groceries and support local businesses with the money they make, Sun said.
Last spring Gravitas decided to produce all of its collections in New York. After working with Superb Stitch’s Michael Lee for seven years, Sun said he put his retirement plans on hold to help her. Lee, who has worked with Nicole Miller and Anna Sui, among others, previously had 170 employees and now has eight, an indicator of the decline in local manufacturing. Gravitas and Superb Stitch will not only offer guaranteed volume every month, but will also move to a 4,500 square foot shared work area on West 39th Street on Monday.
The story goes on
The two parties share rent and utility costs, but continue to operate under their own names. Sun noted that three of the five factories housed in its current building on the same floor have ceased operations and spoke of the importance of helping revitalize local manufacturing. The building she moves into next week has 10 more factories in need of work, she said, adding that resource sharing is essential to support the clothing center. Sun said she and Lee are ready to help so many designers and brands looking to manufacture in New York find a way to do it.
In these uncertain times, it is important to learn to turn things upside down, and Gravitas’s resilience came from a certain necessity. For example, according to Black, Gravitas sales on Black Friday were 20 percent of forecast sales. Instead of using the stretch velvet that was bought for a Christmas collection, Gravitas used it for loungewear. The samples were produced in one day, a shoot was also carried out in one day and the loungewear was offered online with a 14-day advance order.
“It saved our business. Michael and another factory produced 300 units in less than 10 business days, and we did our Christmas shipments, “Sun said. “I said, ‘Hey guys, maybe this is the future of the Garment District. Maybe we are moving to an on-demand manufacturing model that will save our business. When you can’t predict whether consumers will buy something, we’re harnessing the capacity we have and reinventing what the Garment District stands for. “
Making “tiny capsules” every four to six weeks like a drop of the streetwear brand would be a more effective way of keeping the sewers running for $ 22 an hour, Sun said. After the Fashion Weeks run virtually, most of these employees can no longer rely on making extra money for pattern production in July and August and January and February.
Gravitas also revolved around making face masks and medical gowns last spring. Gravitas promised to donate a medical mask to hospitals for every mask purchased. So far, 225,000 medical masks have been donated. To address the shortage of medical gowns over the past year, Gravitas produced some overseas.
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