Production Mode is designed in Chicago by Jamie Hayes.
Our design philosophy is one of slow fashion. Our process starts with the provenance, quality, and uniqueness of materials and techniques. Our pieces are ethically-made, built to last, and imbued with authenticity and soul. Accordingly, each collection begins with an artist collaboration to produce custom materials which we use to create our collection.
For example, our inaugural collection consists of vegetable tanned leather from Chicago’s Horween tannery, a unionized shop. The vegetable tanning process is completely natural (in contrast to the toxic chrome-tanning process typical in the fashion industry) and highlights the variations inherent in each hide. Horween’s leather is especially prized for its variegated highs and lows, its soft hand, and the patina it develops as it ages. The natural colored hides are then embellished with a two-color print, designed by artist Paula J. Wilson
, and hand-screened printed by artist Nora Renick-Rinehart. After commissioning the print, we created a line of garments and accessories, inspired to best showcase the materials. Jamie cuts each piece by hand, and our stitcher, Klezar, sews each piece in our studio in Chicago’s Logan Square. We choose to produce in-house both to allow greater flexibility and creativity in design, tighter quality control and to ensure that garment workers in our supply chain are paid a living wage. In addition, producing in-house allows us to make our collection to order at our Chicago studio, minimizing ecological and financial waste, and giving us the freedom to stretch creatively and to make items to measure.
Our showroom/production space, the Department of Curiosities
, is open most Fridays from 12–7 pm, and by appointment (contact email@example.com). Please come by to purchase the collection and tour our space.
Based in Chicago, Jamie Hayes’ interests lie at the intersection of fashion, art, labor, and identity. Her approach is both collaborative and customized. She believes that clothes should fit one’s body (not the other way around); that people should wear what flatters and interests them rather than what someone else dictates is fashionable; that style is a form of self-expression; and that everyone in the chain of production of clothing should be paid a living wage.
She has explored these topics through her academic studies, earning a B.A. from Washington University in English Literature, a B.A. from Columbia College in Fashion Design, and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Chicago. She has worked in the fashion industry since 1999, and in the field of immigrant and labor rights since 2009. Her recent work merges these two paths: she has designed for fair trade organizations including SERRV, Intercrafts Peru, and Threads of Yunnan, and has volunteered as a Campaign Leader for Chicago Fair Trade, helping to pass an ordinance mandating that apparel procured by the City of Chicago be sweatshop-free. She is the owner and designer of an ethically made line of clothing for men and women called Production Mode and also co-designs a line of luxury slow fashion lingerie and nightwear, Department of Curiosities.
With thanks to Damien Thompson of Damien Thompson Photography for product photography, and to Damon Locks for the background photography of industrial Chicago.