Grand Opening of FABRIC with Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell sign reveal.
Photo by Ryan Walsh
Video by Superstar Media House
Map artwork by Nacho Momma's Designs
AZ’S FASHION HEADQUARTERS
PROVIDING EVERYTHING AN EMERGING FASHION DESIGNER/BRAND NEEDS TO START AND GROW
THE INCUBATOR BUILDING
F.A.B.R.I.C. FASHION AND BUSINESS RESOURCE INNOVATION CENTER
Established in October 2016, Fashion And Business Resource Innovation Center (F.A.B.R.I.C.) is a 23,000 square foot, 3 story building in Tempe, Arizona that acts as a headquarters for the AZ fashion industry. F.A.B.R.I.C. is made possible by a partnership between the City of Tempe, a non-profit called AZ Apparel Foundation, an apparel manufacturer called AZ Fashion Source and a fashion industry directory and consulting firm called LabelHorde as well as many other tenants and co-licensees who provide fashion business support services. As a trade for use of the F.A.B.R.I.C. building, AZ APPAREL FOUNDATION “gives back” to the community in the form of programs, services and resources that equal the value of the building. LABELHORDE AND ARIZONA FASHION SOURCE provide the expertise, resources, equipment, capital improvements, utilities, maintenance and support funding to the foundation. This unique model enables an emerging fashion brand to find everything they need under one roof to learn, start, grow and stay in Arizona. Inside F.A.B.R.I.C. you will find apparel manufacturing, classes, consulting and design services, sourcing library, fabric store, photo and production studio, co-working offices, maker’s sewing studio, event/runway space, classrooms, hair/makeup rooms, industrial equipment, industry experts, and more.
THE NON-PROFIT 501(C)(3)
ARIZONA APPAREL FOUNDATION
Established in April 2016, AZ Apparel Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) with the mission to provide Arizona’s emerging designers and brands with innovative, small batch manufacturing and strategic business resources, so they can build sustainable fashion businesses locally. With the help of over 400 fashion community volunteers and a prestigious board of directors, AAF provides emerging designer scholarship offices, free classes, free events, vocational training for disadvantaged workers and many fashion related programs and services to the community. AAF’S signature events include AZ Eco Fashion Week (www.AZEcoFashionWeek.com), the anniversary fundraiser and will soon include AZ Fashion Tech Week.
THE DESIGN SUPPORT
Established in 2001, LabelHorde is a category-driven directory of fashion businesses enabling users to easily locate local emerging and established designers, boutiques, manufacturers, photographers, models, stylists, industry supplies, fashion schools and all things fashion related in Arizona. LabelHorde.com also features a Fashion Classifieds page for local fashion jobs, a Fashion Calendar that lists all local and important national fashion events. LabelHorde offers fashion lessons, classes and consultations, tech pack services, and design studio resources at F.A.B.R.I.C. that designers need to start and run their businesses. LabelHorde’s signature event is the annual LabelHorde Fashion Show featuring 60+ local desginers/brands on one runway.
THE APPAREL MANUFACTURER
Established in April 2016, AZ Fashion Source is the apparel manufacturer in F.A.B.R.I.C. that uses sustainable and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes to create samples and production runs with no minimums. AFS manufactures heavy- and light-weight knits and wovens on industrial sewing equipment and the latest CAD programs. This enables emerging designers/brands to take a more conservative step into manufacturing. AFS also provides the scraps that are created from the cutting process to local designers to remake into new garments through a zero-waste initiative called reFABRICate.
City of Tempe City Council Memorandum Regarding F.A.B.R.I.C.'s 1st Year Results
The City entered into a License Agreement with Arizona Fashion Source (AFS), Labelhorde, and Arizona Apparel Foundation (AAF) in October of 2016 to create an incubator supporting the fashion industry in the former Tempe Performing Arts Center building (TPAC). The building was renamed the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC). At FABRIC, emerging designers and fashion related businesses can take their ideas from design to production all in one location with a variety of equipment, expertise, and education. Additional services in the building include a fabric store, sourcing library, and photography/videography studio for fashion shoots. The former theatre space in the building has been converted into production space that includes a runway for fashion shows and events.
FIRST YEAR RESULTS
The City has benefited from the creation of FABRIC in several ways:
Support of Local Entrepreneurs/Emerging Designers: Graduates and current students of local fashion design programs now have access to designer grade materials and equipment that they would not otherwise access, and a few hundred designers/makers now have a facility where they can design and produce locally with no minimum production run requirements. Prior to the existence of FABRIC, most local designers were forced to produce their goods out of state or overseas with large run requirements, often resulting in failure or preventing them from even starting because it was cost prohibitive.
New Jobs Created: In the first year of business, FABRIC co-founders, Angela Johnson, owner of Labelhorde, and Sherri Barry, owner of Arizona Fashion Source, have created twelve (12) full-time jobs. These jobs have an average wage of $37,000 per year and range from Pattern Maker and Events Coordinator to Production Technician. An additional fifteen (15) jobs have been created by the ten (10) designers and other businesses renting space in the facility and using equipment to produce their garments.
Activation/Improvement of Vacant City Building: To date, AFS, AAF, and Labelhorde have invested approximately sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) in upgrades to the building. This is more than double the amount required in their License Agreement of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) and has given the building a more appealing, professional, and safe appearance. These improvements attracted use by over three hundred (300) designers, forty-one (41) events, and building tours to over eight hundred (800) interested individuals.
Community Give Back: Through more than two hundred (200) workshops and individual lessons, individuals have learned patternmaking, design principals, style and sewing techniques. Six (6) Tempe youth were provided with scholarships to attend Fashion Boot Camp free of charge last summer. Additionally, five (5) individuals with disabilities were trained in commercial sewing and were contracted to make tote bags for ASU by the ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the ASU Book Store to sew tote bags from recycled school banners. Three (3) emerging designers also completed a mentorship program to help launch their businesses. One of the mentees has been so successful, that he has hired two (2) employees and is now renting design space at FABRIC.
The first-year results at FABRIC have far exceeded the contract requirements for the project and benefited the community in numerous positive ways. Given the positive results, FABRIC is on track to become a regional and national model of success for private public partnerships in industry specific business incubation.