Production Mode designer, Jamie Hayes, has been nominated as “Best Local Fashion Designer” by the Chicago Reader.
Vote here through 6/12 at noon. Thank you for your support!
Saturday, June 24th: Open House & Trunk Show with Lill Street Jewelry & Ceramics
Join us Saturday, June 24th, from noon-5 pm at our showroom/production space, Department of Curiosities for a trunk show featuring a curated selection of contemporary haute craft jewelry and ceramics from Lillstreet Gallery. We’ll have libations created and served by Mott Street. In addition, the Production Mode collection will be on hand along with Morua and Department of Curiosities, and as always, you can tour our production space and try on our wares.
Open House & Lillstreet Gallery Trunk Show
Saturday, June 24th, noon– 5 pm
Department of Curiosities
3013 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Production Mode’s New Collection Debuts on July 7th at Hyde Park Art Center!
MOVE/REPEAT: An Evening of Dance, Fashion, & Music
The collection features 5 custom textiles, made of felted merino wool/cotton woven in Chicago by the Weaving Mill in collaboration with Nuria Montiel. As always, the collection is designed, cut and sewn in-house at our studio/showroom, Department of Curiosities. Expect draped, wrapped, and twisted silhouettes, combined with soft, tailored pieces–blankets and wraps to cocoon in.
Friday, July 7th
Doors Open | 6:30pm
Performance Begins | 7pm sharp
Reception + Trunk Show to follow performance
Hyde Park Art Center
5020 S. Cornell Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615
Thanks to Culture Trip for featuring Production Mode designer, Jamie Hayes, as a Chicago-based designer to watch. And thank you, for watching:) Read more here.
Thank you to The Brvalist for featuring Production Mode and for delving into the romantic grit of Chicago’s Independent Fashion Scene. In Chicago, we are definitely outside of the fashion system. I love that this article featured designers that acknowledge and embrace this outsider status. We do it by working outside of the traditional fashion calendar in a slow fashion model, making all of our work in-house at our Logan Square atelier. Read more about Chicago’s rich design landscape here.
We invite you to view our collection during the holidays at the following events …
December 1st-4th, we will be at the One of a Kind Show at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Come see us at Booth #3099, along with our sister brand, Department of Curiosities.
Saturnaliawill take over our shop, Department of Curiosities, from December 10-18th! In addition to our in-house lines, ProductionMode, Morua, and DOC, we will also showcase the wares of fellow independent/slow fashion designers and artisans.
In addition, please join us for the following special events:
Musical performance by Nick Mazzarella & Damon Locks, Saturday, December 10th 5 pm (free)
Saffron Vintage Trunk Show December 10th-11th during business hours
The Fundamentals of Fragrance: Resins & Woods, Sunday, December 11th, 6 pm (ticketed)
Lecture by fashion historian Jacqueline WayneGuite, Monday, December 12th at 6 pm (free)
Interview with Ethical Fashion Site Trusted Clothes (Part Two)
Trusted Clothes, an organization devoted to promoting ethical and sustainable fashion, recently interviewed me for their blog. Below is another excerpt from Part 2 of the interview, written by Scott Douglas Jacobsen.
What makes Production Mode unique?
The proprietary, exclusive materials. Also the level of transparency—I share where the materials come from and who makes the garments. In fact, you can come into our studio and see firsthand how things are made. I would also say the quality of the fit. I consulted with a technical designer with many years of experience working with leather to refine the fit. A lot of time and energy was spent on these patterns. The fit is very good for ready-to-wear, and then can be further refined for people that can come to Chicago for a fitting. That’s something a lot of designers don’t offer.
The Department of Curiosities Space
Your inaugural collection consisted of leather that was vegetable tanned from a unionized shop, Chicago’s Horween tannery. Why the Horween tannery for the inaugural collection?
For a couple reasons, one was a happy accident. I was discussing the custom print with Paula Wilson, the designer of the print. She said, “What color should the base cloth be?” I referenced one of her paintings. She said, “Oh, a hide color.” I had a lightbulb moment. I said, “No, no, you should print it on a hide!”
The search then began for the best quality leather. Leather is touchy if you’re talking about “ethical” fashion. Some people, understandably, do not see leather as ethical since an animal must die in order to produce it. I respect and understand that.
That said, there are many other issues of ethics in leather production. I wanted to be as familiar with my suppliers as possible. And there is one tannery left in Chicago, Horween Leather. They use the process of vegetable tanning– an artisanal, traditional way to tan leather that uses organic plant matter such as sticks, barks, and tree extracts. It is a 6-weeks process in contrast to chrome-tanning, which is a 6-hour process.
Chrome-tanning uses chromium, which is a heavy metal and highly carcinogenic. So the choice to use vegetable tanned leather became really clear for me. I didn’t want to use a material that is carcinogenic–especially knowing that these carcinogens will end up in our waterways or landfills. Also, I learned that vegetable-tanned leather tends to age much better than chrome-tanned leather. So if you think how vintage leather goods get that great patina versus a scuffed, worn out look that is typical nowadays, that’s the difference between a vegetable tan and a chrome tan.
In terms of the quality, aesthetics, the environment, and workers’ rights (Horween is a unionized factory), it was an easy decision to go with Horween. In addition, it is wonderful space to visit. It’s less than a mile from my studio, so I can go there whenever I want and speak to my sales representative. Plus the money I spend with Horween stays within the local economy.
Jamie picking out leather at Horween tannery
All of these things were serendipitous, and helped provide the direction for the collection. Since Chicago’s fashion industry is pretty decimated at this point, there really aren’t many options in the ways of mills or even fabric reps here in Chicago. Horween is the last tannery left in Chicago.
The hides were designed by Paula J. Wilson, executed by Nora Renick-Rinehart, and then stitched by Klezar. What is the importance of this network of various individuals with different skill-sets to the overall production line for the final products?
We have this cult of artist or the designer. This idea that the person does everything themselves. Even if you’re amazingly talented and good at everything–designing, printing, cutting, and stitching, you’re only one person. You can’t do everything. Art and design are always done in collaboration, whether people are transparent about that or not.
I am not a screen-printer. I am a good stitcher for a designer, but I am nothing like Klezar. I do as much as I can myself, especially at first, to educate myself about a process, so that I can better communicate with the team. For example, I did do a few screen-prints on leather. However, there’s no way I could execute anything close to as wonderful as Paula and Nora. It takes years and years of practice to achieve their level of expertise.
A true collaboration becomes better than the sum of its parts. Everyone is pushing each other. Everyone is open to new ideas. Hopefully, what comes out takes you to a place you wouldn’t normally go with your own art work; I like to think that’s what happened with this art collection.
If people want to look more into things, they can look at the showroom/production space, the Department of Curiosities. What other work are you involved in at this point in time?
A couple of things. I am active in the Chicago Fair Trade, where we are involved in anti-sweatshop advocacy work here in Chicago. Also, I do technical design for other ethical design companies.
At Department of Curiosities, the space that I share with another designer, Gerry Quinton, we recently designed and launched a line of slow fashion, ethically made lingerie and nightwear under the name Department of Curiosities.
Jamie Hayes & Gerry Quinton; photo courtesy of Frank Magazine.
Also, I am going to have a pop-up shop at the theWit Hotel in Chicago in the month of August, and a fashion show on August 25th, showing both Production Mode and Department of Curiosities, at their rooftop space.
I’m launching the next Production Mode line in the Fall.
You mentioned a shared value with Gerry. I suspect this for other collaborations as well. That leaves me to think, “What meaning or personal fulfillment does this work bring for you?”
So much personal fulfillment—that’s really key to me! I have worked in the fashion industry since 1999, but I actually left the field for a few years because I was missing that personal fulfillment. I had to do some soul searching. While I loved the process of design, designing and making clothing and expressing myself though style, I really needed to check in with myself and face what was going on in the industry.
First of all, I had to find a way to work in the fashion industry while still respecting a basic ethical framework–one in which people and the earth are respected, and in which we as consumers curb our own consumption levels. Also, I needed to question some of the main tenets of the industry. It is common practice in the industry to create and promote a culture which makes the consumer feel badly about themselves. Then we imply that they can solve those body/self-image issues through purchasing things, especially clothing, to make themselves feel better or to distract themselves from the ills in their lives.
I had to dig deeper and think, “What’s the social meaning of fashion? How can style be used in a positive way to build self-esteem, to help a person express their identity and culture – to find out who they are?”
My work post-graduate school has been guided by these questions and issues. That’s been key to me finding personal fulfillment in my work.
For me, fabric, color, textures, line and pattern bring me great joy. I hope I bring joy to my clients as well. There’s joy in art and design. All of those things keep me going and bring me great personal satisfaction. I feel lucky to do something that I love that is in line with my values. Sadly, I think that’s a rare thing in our culture right now. I wish it weren’t the case, but I feel lucky to be situated here.
With regard to organizations/companies, and so on, like Trusted Clothes and Production Mode, what’s the importance of them to you?
It is to show an alternative to the mainstream. That it is possible to create and purchase ethically-made, well-designed clothing. Also, to get people in the industry to question how things are made, and hopefully, to create a sea change.
I look forward to a future where there are no more ethical clothing or aggregator sites like Trusted Clothing. Ethical, sustainable manufacture should be the norm. Until it is, though, we definitely need to keep spreading the word and asking for change in the larger community.
Thanks to Trusted Clothes and author Scott Douglas Jacobsen for the interview, and for their support of Ethical Fashion!
Interview with Ethical Fashion Site Trusted Clothes
Trusted Clothes, an organization devoted to promoting ethical and sustainable fashion, recently interviewed me for their blog. Below is an excerpt of the interview, written by Scott Douglas Jacobsen.
Tell us about yourself – family background, personal story, education, and previous professional capacities.
I started in the fashion industry in 1999 in St. Louis, working at a boutique after college, and sewing after my senior year in college because I wanted something hands-on and concrete. I was studying English literature, and while I loved to read and write, it was abstract and alienating for me. My personality type doesn’t mesh with it.
PM Studio– photo by Damon Locks
It is nice, at the end of the day, to have a pile of work, see what you’ve accomplished, and in a concrete way. I moved to Chicago to get a second BA at Columbia College in Fashion Design. I was lucky. I got a job in the industry while I in school. It was at a handbag company called 1154 Lill Studio.
The company was a real pioneer in mass customization. As a result, we needed to make everything one-by-one, made-to-order, and with a quick turnaround time – three weeks. We made everything in-house first and then in the Chicago area. It was a lesson in production management and efficiency. I was seeing local manufacturers firsthand, which was rare at a time when almost everybody was offshoring.
My consciousness was raised in working with contractors and realizing that a lot of people don’t get paid fairly, making friends with stitchers, and hearing their stories of immigration and exploitation in the sewing industry. So, I started asking questions and becoming conscientious.
100% Wool Felt Top and Vegetable Tanned Leather Skirt. Photo is by Jenni Hampshire.
I ended up getting a graduate degree, a Master’s degree at the University Chicago in Social Work. I focused on labor rights in the garment industry. I worked as a labor organizer for a few years in Chicago. Primarily, I was working with undocumented, Mexican population–frontline workers.
I was giving training on worker’s rights and helping to organize campaigns in the work place. However, I missed working with my hands—the colors and textures of fashion–the more direct creativity that world affords. Following this, I joined Chicago Fair Trade and became involved in that movement as a volunteer helping to pass a Sweatfree Ordinance at the city and county level in Chicago.
Also, I took on a lot of freelance work with fair trade companies. I worked for SERRV. They sent me to China. I did some work in Peru, in the Lima area. Also, I have done a lot of technical design for local companies in ethical and fair trade fashion. Finally, I launched my own line in January of 2015.
You argue for a living wage for workers. Why is it important for the sustainable and ethical fashion industry?
It is important across the board. I’m focused on fashion because that’s what I do for a living. It is important in a more global level as well. Fashion, clothing, and sewn products are some of the most labor intensive industries in the whole world. It is a ‘race-to-the-bottom’ industry.
Hand Burnished Leather Coin Purse– photo by Linda Pulik
Anyone interested in women’s rights, supporting those most easily exploited, or eradicating poverty, would do well to look at the fashion industry because that’s the ‘bottom.’ We can find the easily exploited people there.
If these workers can be paid well and treated fairly, we can do a lot to improve the rights of women and young girls, eradicate poverty, improve health outcomes, increase literacy, and so on. It is a huge issue. We need to be aware of it. In Chicago, the labor movement cites $15/hour as the living wage.
So, we pay above that for our stitcher. That’s how we gauge that here, but it is different in each city and country based on the cost of living in that place.
To separate two ideas floating around in the conversation, the phrase “ethical and sustainable fashion,” but this belies two separate and related ideas. Ethical fashion on the one hand; sustainable fashion on the other hand. To start, what is the importance of ethical fashion to you?
For me, the importance is the human factor. Nobody should be dying while making our clothes. Even so, 2013 was the deadliest year on record in the fashion industry. If you look back historically, it is similar to the beginning of the 20th century in the US with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. People die while making fashion. That’s ridiculous.
What we’re speaking of when we say ethical fashion is really baseline, sadly. People should make a living wage. A wage that allows them to live on and support a family. To be frank, $15/hour in Chicago would not be enough in Chicago, but it’s better than the minimum wage in Chicago.
Secondly, people should work in a healthy and safe environment. Sadly, that’s not the case in a lot of the garment industry, especially that which is offshored.
What is the importance of sustainable fashion to you?
The issues are similar. There’s overlap, but sustainability refers to the environment and issues affecting the planet. I come out of the labor movement. So, I am less educated about those issues, but even if you just look at sustainability from a human perspective, the health of the planet has huge ramifications for everyone.
We are all connected. We should care about what is happening on the other side of the world. It is about human rights. We all deserve basic human rights, and beyond that, the ability to thrive and grow. From the human perspective, the pesticides that are used to grow our cotton, the petroleum that is used to create polyester, the dyes that are used to create the colors in the fabrics … all of these things affect the workers who are applying those pesticides or dyes. They go into our water supplies. It is about treating out world well. There is huge overlap between issues of sustainability and ethics.
Hand Screen Printed Leather Jacket; photo by Damien Thompson Photography
My favorite term is slow fashion because this takes into account the quality of the product and the design. It’s coming out of and inspired by the slow food movement, the tenets of which are to know the provenance of this food or, in our case, the clothing. So, where do our clothes come from? What about the raw materials like the cotton, wool, poly, or leather? To have transparency about that, to appreciate and value the item, the experience around it, to slow down, buy less, buy higher quality. That’s important information to provide as a designer. Because, to be honest, you cannot do everything perfectly, especially as a small company. You might not know all of the labor conditions in the factory that makes your zippers or buttons, but you can choose the highest quality zipper. This can allow the garment to have as long a life as possible.
Sometimes, we have to think about competing issues and balance those all out. Slow fashion is the most honest way to do that as a designer in my opinion.
(Laughs) Coming out of the labor movement, I have done a lot of neo-Marxist readings. I was thinking about means of production and the organization of work, and what brings people joy. I was thinking about that when I named the company.
But the inspiration goes way beyond that. At the end of the day, I am a designer. I love fashion. I think we need to make a lot of changes in the industry, but I love clothing as a means of self-expression. It brings me a lot of joy. I think it brings a lot of people on this planet a lot of joy. It’s an expression of who we are: our culture, identity, values. It doesn’t have to be a superficial, passive consumer experience. It could be tailored to fit your body exactly. That’s how it was used for generations—until recently, in fact.
Now, it is a disposable thing. It doesn’t have to be that way. One thing I always want to be a part of the company is the concept of artist collaboration. It stretches me as a designer. It makes sure there is something unique about the product and timeless.
For example, for the first line that I launched, I collaborated with an artist named Paula J. Wilson. She designed an all-over print for leather. Another artist, Nora Renick-Rinehart, executed the print and applied it to leather. It is not something seen often with leather. It is limited edition. It is designed by a well-known artist. So, there’s a whole story. I can trace the provenance of the materials, the print, the execution of the print, etc.
For the next line, which I’ll launch in the Fall of this year, the fabric is designed in collaboration with an artist named Nuria Montiel. It is executed by local weavers called the Weaving Mill in Chicago. They are located about a mile from my studio. They have two industrial dobby looms. It is a collaboration between the four of us to produce the fabric for the line. It can’t be found anywhere else. It was inspired by Nuria’s art work, influenced by the textiles of the Bauhaus movement, and Peruvian and Mexican textile traditions.
I’ll post part two soon. Thanks to Trusted Clothes and author Scott Douglas Jacobsen for the interview, and for their support of Ethical Fashion!
100% Wool Felt Top & Vegetable Tanned Leather Skirt by Production Mode. Photo by Jenni Hampshire.
Department of Curiosities Open House
Come join us tomorrow for an Open House at our showroom/production space, Department of Curiosities! The Production Mode line will be on-hand and for sale along with our new collection of luxury slow fashion lingerie and nightwear, Department of Curiosities, which we design in collaboration with Gerry Quinton of Morua. The DOC line will be available for one final day of special preview pricing.
Production Mode vegetable tanned leather jacket featuring print designed by Paula J. Wilson. Photo by Sarah Ann Wright of model Miss Deadly Red.
Production Mode + theWit
During the month of August, Production Mode we will be setting up shop at theWit Hotel. TheWit Hotel is located at 201 N. State St. in Chicago’s downtown Loop. Boutique hours are W-F 2–7 pm and Sat 12–7 pm.
We end August with our first Fashion Show, at ROOF, the beautiful atrium space atop theWit Hotel. Sip a cocktail and enjoy the work of Production Mode and Department of Curiosities against the backdrop of Chicago’s grand skyline.Save the date: the show will be on Thursday, August 25th at 7 pm. Space is limited so we recommend arriving early.
Production Mode designer Jamie Hayes at Chicago’s Horween Tannery
Interview with Trusted Clothes
Trusted Clothes, an organization dedicated to linking people, brands, and organizations that are ethical, environmentally friendly, and health conscious, recentlly published an in-depth interview on Production Mode designer Jamie Hayes. To learn more about our process and ethos, read the article here.
Yarn on the warp at the Weaving Mill for Production Mode’s next collection
Production Mode Fall 2016 Collection Coming Soon! Stay tuned for the launch of Production Mode’s next collection, made of a custom wool/cotton fabric, based on sketches by artist Nuria Montiel, as interpreted by the Weaving Mill, a new small-scale mill down the street from Production Mode in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Nuria’s sketches were inspired by the weavings from the Bauhaus movement, and Peruvian and Mexican textile traditions. This month we’ll be developing the line at our pop-up at theWit Hotel. Stop by and watch it come together. And stay tuned for our launch date, sometime in the Fall of 2016.
Department of Curiosities Lingerie & Nightwear Collection Launch
Silk Charmeuse Beach Pajamas by Department of Curiosities
Two years ago marked a big step forward in my career– I moved to a new production space and showroom: Department of Curiosities. A collaboration with fashion designer Gerry Quinton and her line Morúa, our partnership has cautiously and lovingly evolved from a shared studio, to a shop, exhibition space, and most recently a collection of luxury, slow fashion lingerie. I can’t speak enough to the power of this collaboration–Gerry and I have very complimentary skill sets, and even more importantly when one of us falls, the other is there to lend a hand, offering encouraging words, technical support, a loan, or a trip to “horrible Joann” to pick up a yard of interfacing that we somehow always forget to order. (More on our collaboration is here in a wonderful, in-depth article in Frank Magazine.)
It’s no surprise that our first collection is inspired by the luminous women of the 1920s-1940s: strong women who were entering the work force in large numbers for the first time and running factories during WWII; the complicated, dark-yet-elegant women of film noir; and the liberated flappers of the 1920s.
We are thrilled to present this true labor of love. Created from Italian silks, the line features an exclusive print designed by renowned tattoo artist Esther Garcia of Butterfat Studios and is made to order in-house, in order to ensure the highest quality of production and that our pieces are ethically made. The collection will available for preorder on June 18-19th. As a show of gratitude to early supporters of local, American made fashion, the collection will be offered at special preview prices. Your support is crucial–preorders will help us to meet fabric minimums and to complete our e-commerce website. Thank you in advance!
Preview hours are:
Saturday, June 18th: 1–7 pm; cocktails 7–9 pm
Sunday, June 19th: 2–5 pm & by appointment
Chicago- Sunday, March 20th, Production Mode will be at the Promontory as part of Hyde Park Handmade. The show features local artisans and farmers, with a soundtrack provided by deejay Sean Alvarez. Admission is free, the bar is open, and brunch is served downstairs. Come join us!
Chicago- Sunday, May 15th, Production Mode will be at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Dose Lake FX Marketplace. The best of Chicago design will be on offer, 10 am– 4 pm.
The stunning dome of the Chicago Cultural Center. Photo by Timeout Chicago.
Paris- Saturday, April 9th & Sunday, April 10th, Production Mode will be in Paris at La Boutique Ephémère, Galerie Joseph 7 rue Froissart Paris3. Hours are noon– 8p on Saturday, and noon– 7p on Sunday. Nous espérons vous voir!
London- March 29-April 2– Production Mode will be in London for a photo shoot. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to view the line … And if you’re planning a trip to Chicago, check out Virgin Atlantic’s neighborhood guide to Logan Square, which features Production Mode.
View of the Uniform project installation at “Deep Design” exhibit at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery. Photo by Laura Makar.
Production Mode is honored to be featured in a recent Crain’s Chicago Business story on slow fashion. Read more about slow fashion here. Also featured in the article is our production space/showroom Department of Curiosities. We are thrilled to announce that in May of 2016, Jamie Hayes of Production Mode and Gerry Quinton of Morua will launch a line of slow fashion lingerie under the Department of Curiosities label, made in-house of silks produced by a mill in the Lake Como region of Italy, featuring a print designed by Esther Garcia of Butterfat Studios.
Read Virgin Atlantic’s neighborhood guide to Logan Square, which features Production Mode and our showroom/studio, Department of Curiosities. We are proud to be part of such a vibrant neighborhood!
Gray’s Department Store: A Shopable Installation of Work by the League of Women Designers
From December 4th-20th, the Department of Curiosities, the space co-run by Production Mode & Morua, will host a shopable installation by members of the League of Women Designers (LWD). Eve Fineman will curate the show drawing on the golden age of department stores for visual inspiration. Our boutique space will be transformed with sections for housewares, lighting, furniture, clothing, jewelry, handbags and lingerie. Participating designers are listed above. A link to the Gray’s Department Store exhibit catalogue, designed by Dani Soukup, can be found here.
The show’s name references Eileen Gray, a touchstone for LWD group. Gray was a pioneer of modernist design; an architect and designer of furniture, textiles and interiors. Her influential works in the 1920s and 30s were largely overlooked in her time and the importance of her legacy remains unrecognized to this day. One of her most innovative works, the Villa E-1027 house, for instance, was first attributed to her lover, Jean Badovice, and was later defaced by the most famous architect of her day, Le Corbusier.
Open hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 12–7 pm, and Sunday from 12–5 pm. Exhibiting designers will staff the shop along with Production Mode and Morua, so stop in to learn more about each line’s design and manufacturing process–most of the designers in the show manufacture locally. Also on hand will be a preview of Department of Curiosities’ first collection, a slow fashion, ethically-made line of silk lingerie inspired by the women of the 1930s. The line is co-designed by Jamie Hayes of Production Mode and Gerry Quinton of Morua.
The opening reception, sponsored by KOVAL distillery, is on December 4th from 6–9 pm. In addition, save the date for a pop-up dining event by Midnight Kitchen Projects on the evening of Saturday, December 12th.
The Department of Curiosities is located at 3013 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60647.
Another chance to shop local & shop small: at Dose Market at Morgan Manufacturing on Sunday, Dec. 13. More details and tickets can be found here.
We’re honored to announce that Past Perfect: UNIFORM, designed in collaboration with 24 participants, will be shown from January 15– March 25, 2016, at Wayne State University in Detroit as part of the Deep Design Exhibit.
Deep Design: Pace, Place, and Personhood in Design for the Social Sector.
This exhibit will focus on designers and architects who are working in ways that reflect strong and enduring commitments to people and places and where the human relationship between designer and design recipient/s take precedent over design production. This exhibit advocates for designers who question the transient nature of how we do design work today, which can sometimes result in idealized impositions instead of culturally and economically sensitive solutions. This body of work will begin to exemplify how designers can and do commit to place and people– in mind, in body, and in practice– in order to enter into truly co-creative relationships and experiences.
This exhibition will work to bring awareness to the tensions and debates that exist in design practice as individuals and organizations work to create real, lasting value in the social sector: the project-based engagement vs. versus long-term embeddedness; architecture as professionalized activity vs. architecting as a human right; technology and connectivity as a means for both social alienation and shared rebellion.
Thanks also to the Chicagoist for naming Production Mode as one of the best new fashion lines in Chicago. Many of the lines featured are manufactured using ethical, fair trade, and slow fashion models. We are happy, for once, to be trendy! Read more here.
We’re also honored to be named as the Best New Fashion Line in Chicago by New City. Read more here!
Thanks to the Chicago Reader for featuring Production Mode in their Space Feature, and for championing our brand of slow fashion: ethically sourced, locally made-to-order clothing, built to last.
Take a virtual tour of the Department of Curiosities, the production space/showroom co-founded and co-run by myself and Gerry Quinton of Morua, below. We are open every Friday from 12–7 pm, and by appointment. Come by for a tour, consultation, or to pick up some of our ready-made items.
This past spring I had the pleasure of reconnecting with the fashion community in my hometown of St. Louis. Back in the 1930s and 40s, St. Louis had a thriving garment district, specializing in junior clothing.
There are still vestiges of the garment industry in St. Louis, and it was there that I learned how to sew, in the basement of the Winston’s Fabrics. The teacher was an extremely talented woman who ran the alterations room at a Sak’s Fifth Avenue for many years. She was an inspiration– she could adapt a crappy home sewing pattern into a fashionable, well-fitting garment, and shared all kinds of garment industry sewing secrets with us, and seemed to be having more fun in her retirement than most of my university peers.
It’s lovely now to see new designers, artists, and curators reclaiming and reinvigorating the fashion world in St. Louis. I was lucky enough to connect with this community during my recent visits, thanks to artist Paula J. Wilson, with whom I was visiting during her time as Beaumont Artist-in-Residence at Washington University.
First, I met with Angela Malchionno and Carly Hilo of the Enamel, their mission, which focuses on both process and final product, was a perfect fit for showcasing the Production Mode line. Their goal– to highlight the lineage of products—where they come from, how they were made, and their impact on environment and community–is a inspiration. In a short time they’ve been able to build an engaged and educated audience for conscious textiles and the creation thereof in St. Louis.
Production Mode’s first pop-up was held there at the end of March. In anticipation of the event, both St. Louis Magazine and Alive Magazine published interviews with myself and Enamel co-founder, Angela Malchionno. Read more here and here. In order to highlight Enamel’s process-oriented mission, Paula Wilson brought her wood burnishing tools and demoed pyrographing on leather during the event, along with other artist friends visiting St. Louis at the time, Sara Velas, of the Velaslavaysay Panorama in Los Angeles, and Damon Locks of Chicago.
Photo Montage by Weird Cult(ure). More on the event from their great article on Enamel and the Production Mode pop-up can be found here.
Attendees got in on the action, too, as seen in this video of pyrographing, also from Weird Cult(ure).
On my next visit to St. Louis, I was lucky enough to visit projects+gallery, a new gallery in the Central West End focusing on the intersection of art and fashion. Their first exhibit is a stunner– a retrospective of Hideki Seo’s work.
Image by projects+gallery
I’m excited to see projects+gallery develop, and to see its effects on the design community in St. Louis and the region, and to see my hometown prospering and nurturing the connections between fashion and art.