Making Clothes and Making Change: Colorado Apparel Manufacturing Summit
The First Annual Colorado Apparel Manufacturing Summit hosted by Company Week at the Fashion Design Center in Denver on October 9th was a great success. The crowd was standing room only as they learned all out the apparel business in Colorado. A group of panelists, mostly clothing company owners, discussed the problems and potential solutions to keep apparel manufacturing in Colorado.
The dilemma of how to keep apparel manufacturing in Colorado was expressed by most of the panelists. Some attempted to keep local industry growing by manufacturing locally, while others choose to make sure their materials are sourced locally and while they manufacture outside of Colorado. Many expressed the inability for colorado apparel manufacturers to deal with a rise in demand. Most of the those who sourced their work offshore tended to not have a positive outlook on the process of shipping costs and delays caused by going elsewhere. Many seemed eager to find a solution that would boom Colorado manufacturing.
While at the outset many felt that the costs of manufacturing might outweigh the benefits, things shifted through the conversation. The discussion illustrated that companies could afford to pay workers well above minimum wage and hire skilled sewers from rural towns and refugee communities throughout Colorado and not only make a difference for their companies but their communities as well. At the close of the meeting, the over 150 participants seemed to be on board for making changes in production and manufacturing of clothing in Colorado.
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