Fashion Incubator Program is Designing a More Sustainable Industry

Amanda Parkes of Manufacture NY, a Fashion Incubator and Accelerator Manufacturing Facility in Brooklyn, works with leaders across sectors to create sustainable solutions within the broken infrastructure of fashion manufacturing. During PSFK 2015, Parkes argued in favor of creating hybrid opportunities for the future of fashion and technology through the use of withstanding materials, processes and facilities.

Parkes began by documenting the tremendous potential to inflict both positive and negative impact within the fashion industry given its sheer size and status. In particular, she looks at metrics of labor, policy and gender as instrumental problems that require costly and longstanding solutions.

Other pressing challenges, such as the transparent shift in the way young and independent designers innovate, have led to fewer jobs and cheap places to produce. These market variables combined have radical implications for the global economy.

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“Our mission is to reawaken and rebuild America’s Fashion Industry, foster the next wave of businesses, and create a transparent, sustainable global supply chain.” How exactly does a company tap into this fueled mission? A $100 million building initiative to reinvent the fashion factory through design and sustainability.

Located in Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Sunset Park is a state-of-the-art factory, a hub for the new integrated ecosystem. The industrial facility includes 280,000 sq ft of manufacturing space for apparel, home good, textiles and architecture, and runs off of sustainability metrics.

The meeting space aims to bridge the craft of manufacturing with artists, whether they be established or rising. By putting people in front of the right tools that combine traditional manufacturing with innovative industrial machines and processes, Manufacture NY is enabling better product development for the future.

“We’re trying to prove that sustainability doesn’t have to be at odds with technology,” Parkes said.

For the designers, the facility promotes innovation through proximity. “How do we create a factory that feels like a design studio, and breaks down barriers across creativity from design through to production?” Parkes asks. Putting everyone in the same manufacturing space (which includes a fashion media center, small run factory, tech annex, design incubator and more) enables people to learn from one another and save time in the design process.

Parkes told PSFK in an interview:

We are focused on helping creative professionals become successful business owners, giving them skills and resource access for everything from the design processes through scaled up manufacturing, financial and business planning, marketing, and sales channels. In many ways, we can help transition people who have been makers as amateurs or hobbyists into leaders of creative businesses.

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