Tiffany Ouyang is the editor of Quality Control and writes on the topic of internships in the fashion industry. Follow her on Twitter at @underqc
Why make it in midtown? Is it the appreciation for American roots? Is it because designers need local production for better quality control?
As Rosa and I paid a visit to the eloquent Claudine de Sola, the founder of Caravan Stylist Studio, we discussed how the company not only provides concrete help to emerging designers who try to produce their line in New York, but also the idea that you don’t necessarily have to be in design to develop a strong spirit for “Made in Midtown”.
By offering local emerging designers a free space to present their line, Claudine has created Caravan Stylist Studio to serve as a catalyst for people to network while providing a unique way to capture attention of the fashion, celebrity, and “influencer” industries. Claudine has a background in PR and is tending to Caravan on top of a full-time job handling the PR for companies such as JC Penney and Aeropostale. She first began working at Yeohlee Teng straight out of college and learned about the Save the Garment Center movement by attending rallies with the designer herself.
Claudine had always had the idea of creating a studio for celebrity wardrobing and eventually developed her concept into a multi-functional space for various events such as trunk shows, press previews, and where bloggers could meet designers. Again- the designers and guests are not charged to a part of the Caravan Stylist Studio.
But so far, this leaves a huge gaping hole in this fairy tale for emerging designers. How does Caravan stay afloat while offering their services and their space to young talent for free? The answer is simple enough- their main income comes from sponsors such as DDF Skincare and Proctor & Gamble.
“Made in Midtown”
*Fact: Most local designers need the services of the garment in order to get started and to continue growing during the early stages of their business.
You can sing it, play it, and hum the motto in every key, but when it gets down to the basics, it really comes down to the amount of value each individual places on creativity, and simply asking the question, “Do I want to continue to see emerging talent in my city?” In an abstract way, the concept is similar to that of couture. As Cathy Horyn stated in her article, A Sensibility Worth Every Penny, “The world is awash in goods.”
Entrepreneurs understand the struggle and Claudine wanted to build something that could help designers in a concrete way. “Fashion is known to be superficial and Caravan grounds it in a sense. It’s talent helping talent and letting everyone know that there is a craft that comes with a garment that is made in New York,” states Claudine. After all, there is no other neighborhood in the world that is defined by their district.