It was a big night for New York-made fashion. Hundreds of fashion industry professionals were milling about, flipping through racks of clothing, squealing with delight as they ran into old friends, sipping wine and beer. But we weren't in the Garment District or even the Meatpacking District. We were in Bed-Stuy at the new Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator by Pratt Institute.
I had heard a rumor a couple days before that 600 people had RSVPed to the opening (I found out last night that number was actually more than 900), which was alarming. That is, until I walked inside space--it's a full, cavernous, warehouse-style floor with whitewashed walls, housing everything a designer could need to succeed.
In a room by the entrance, two huge knitting machines clicked and whirred, occasionally admitting a roar as some sort of exhaust system kicked in. Next to them some high quality mannequins by Alvanon exactingly designed to mimic a real human body--stomach pooch and all--stood headless, waiting for clothes to be pinned on them. Behind that was a rack of yarns and books, and across from that a huge textile printer.
Another room housed a laser cutter and a 3-D printer busy at work on a little dinosaur. Rows of happy, sad, and happy poop 3-D printed emojiis sat on a shelf nearby. In the main space designers like The Dogwood Dyer hung out by the work desks, eager to explain their craft to attendees. The petite Tara St. James of Study, who is running the BF+DA production floor and has a workspace, flitted around, giddy with excitement. Susan Domelsmith of Dirty Librarian Chains flipped Suzanne Rae's rack of spring clothes.
I got the strong sense, as I walked around, ran into designers and bloggers and stylists in the sustainable fashion scene, and saw plenty of more people that I didn't know, that ethical and sustainable fashion is no longer a sideshow--it's a movement. And this could be its home base.