The Made in America Story: Many Sides to the Tale
It almost sounds like the beginning of a stale joke: What do a designer brand, a regional non-profit focused on supporting local manufacturers, a platform where American “designs are shared, celebrated and sold”, a topnotch blogger and fashion strategist, and an organization created to “promote, preserve, and save" NYC as "fashion capital of the world” have in common? The answer is amplifying and promoting design and manufacturing in the U.S. “Made in America”, and the sentiments the phrase evokes, is on the rise - in the media, in dinner conversations and in product labeling. Following the tragedy of 9/11, a supposed manufacturing resurgence was expected to take place amidst soaring patriotism. But statistics show it petered out. What’s different now, what's being done to reclaim the U.S. foothold in design and manufacturing, why is this important on a global scale, and how important is the consumer to the movement? This diverse panel of impassioned leaders are excited to share.
Shinola is a Detroit-based manufacturer of American-made products, including watches, bicycles, leather goods, and journals of the highest possible quality. Producing high-quality, handcrafted products is a collaborative enterprise. That's why they've partnered with a group of extraordinary American manufacturers whose obsession with craftsmanship and quality matches their own. Each of their partners, from Horween Leather to Waterford Precision Cycles, has a long legacy of making products that are beautiful, meaningful, and made to last. Shinola founded Makers Monday and is committed to building the economy of Detroit.
Dir of Special Projects
Erica Wolf is Director of Special Projects at Nanette Lepore and Executive Director of the trade organization Save The Garment Center. After attending the University of Michigan to study business and psychology, Erica began her career as a buyer at Bloomingdales in New York City. She later transitioned into technology consulting but returned to fashion in 2006 and joined Nanette Lepore. Inspired by Lepore’s commitment to domestic production and passionate about protecting the jobs and resources in New York City’s Garment Center, Erica became an advocate for local manufacturing and took on the role of Executive Director of Save The Garment Center. With a focus on creating awareness for US manufacturing, skilled laborers, emerging designers, and business owners, Erica has garnered national attention for the cause through her lobbying efforts in Washington D.C., Save the Garment Center rallies, three challenges on Project Runway All-Stars, as a speaker at the national trade show MAGIC, and as a consultant on the HBO documentary “Schmatta.” Erica has also worked with economic development organizations nationwide to advocate and create transparency for manufacturing in the Garment Center and across the United States. She engages the next generation of designers through social media campaigns and her Made in NYC and Made in the USA lectures at schools such as FIT and Philadelphia University. Working with several sourcing organizations to connect designers to factories and suppliers, Erica continues to foster new growth in New York City’s Garment Center.
Kate Sofis’ experience is that of entrepreneurship, business management, operations and supply chain strategy, and urban economic development with a specialty in artisan/craft manufacturing industries. She has worked with companies who design, manufacture, and distribute products in a wide range of industries, including ceramics, tile and stone, cement, wood and metal furniture, fabric and sewn products, and glass products. She was COO of VIDA, a local artisan manufacturer of wood-based commercial casegoods, and is the founder of CRAFTMAKE, a small supply chain management company for ceramic tile manufacturers. Kate began her manufacturing career in computer manufacturing, as a production manager at Teradyne, and later playing a lead role in Ernst and Young’s West Coast supply chain practice. Kate is the Executive Director of SF Made, a non-profit corporation focused on building San Francisco’s economic base by developing the local manufacturing sector.
The MiA Project
Micha is a communicator and strategist, by trade and by passion. A behind-the-scenes storyteller, she’s carved out marketing, content, branding and communication plans for clients across culture, music, innovation and technology industries. She's worked with Yahoo! Entertainment, Adobe, PopTech, Chronicle Books, Songkick and Los Angeles Ballet among many other clients and maintained the position of Creative Marketing Director for The Windish Agency. Micha is also the founder of Continental 29, a collective of creatives and marketing specialists. Before starting C29 three years ago, Micha ran accounts for international PR agencies GolinHarris and Porter Novelli and boutique agency mPRm.
Micha has contributed stories to Elle, LAist and High Snobiety/Selectism. She is a novice photographer, vintage collector and dance and exercise enthusiast. Micha lives between Los Angeles and Austin and is a graduate of San Diego State University and the Fashion Institute of Design and M