Knits by Caroline Rose Kaufman

Knits by Caroline Rose Kaufman

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.

Calle del Mar, a fashion student's thesis project.

Calle del Mar, a fashion student’s thesis project.

 

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.

Juliette Donatelli and stylist Jill Heller

Juliette Donatelli and stylist Jill Heller

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.

The Dogwood Dyer

The Dogwood Dyer

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.

The Dogwood Dyer's textiles.

The Dogwood Dyer’s textiles.

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.

Low-impact dyed yarn samples.

Low-impact dyed yarn samples.

In the 3-D printing room.

In the 3-D printing room.

Caroline Rose Kaufman's workspace

Caroline Rose Kaufman’s workspace

 

Alpaca wool samples.

Alpaca wool samples.

The textile library, which lets designers feel and learn about sustainable textile options.

The textile library, which lets designers feel and learn about sustainable textile options.

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Sustainable fashion advocate Amy DuFault

Sustainable fashion advocate Amy DuFault

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