On December 10, 2016, Arizona’s fashion community witnessed a piece of local fashion history.
That night was the grand opening of Arizona’s own fashion headquarters, a three story building in Tempe located near Mill Avenue that was formerly home to the Stray Cat Theatre until it became the new home to Label Horde, Arizona Fashion Source, and the Arizona Apparel Foundation, all in one building.
The grand opening featured many events, including a self-guided tour of the building and a fashion show.
Guests were given a FABRIC passport at the door, which they had stamped as they explored the rooms on each floor and learned from volunteers about the services that the building provides.
The night opened with the unveiling of the building’s new name, FABRIC, an acronym for the Fashion And Business Resource Innovation Center, unveiled by Angela Johnson, the founder of Label Horde and co-founder of the Arizona Apparel Foundation and Sherri Barry, the founder of Arizona Fashion Source and c0-founder of the Arizona Apparel Foundation, along with the Mayor of the City of Tempe, Mark Mitchell.
Guests were then treated to an official fabric cutting ceremony by Mitchell, Johnson, and Barry before they were formally let inside to explore the building.
Due to the building’s expansive space, Urbanite Runway broke down the self-guided tour of the building by floor:
The Ground Floor:
The ground floor of the building serves as a full-service manufacturing and event space.
Designers can manufacture their clothing and products with ease by utilizing the many sewing and manufacturing machines located on the ground floor.
In the Maker’s Space and classroom wing, sewing machines line the walls. According to the Arizona Apparel Foundation’s FABRIC passport, there are over 40 industrial sewing machines of a wide variety. In this space, some machines are specialized for one thing only, such as making button holes or serging.
The maker’s space also has a screen printing area with two carousels, where designers can get images and labels screen printed on their products or designs. The screen printing is done by the Phoenix clothing boutique, Missconstrued, who offers screenprinting services in addition to lessons.
Out on the open area of the ground floor, a 40 foot industrial table allows multiple pieces of fabric to be cut at once, making it much easier for designers to mass produce their garments in a short time frame.
This area of the ground floor also serves as an event space, where the room can be rented out to put on fashion shows and other fashion events throughout the year.
The Second Floor:
The second floor features offices and co-working spaces where various fashion professionals can run their businesses. For $520-650 a month, Arizona’s designers and fashion professionals can rent out office space, allowing them to have a space to serve as their basecamp while working. Having office space in the FABRIC building also allows fashion professionals to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and have access to a multitude of fashion resources.
The Basement Level:
Arizona’s fashion headquarters brings a few unique features to the Arizona fashion market seldom found elsewhere, located on the basement level of the building.
One of those features as a part of the Arizona Apparel Foundation, is a scholarship program for emerging designers, where three up-and-coming brands are awarded office space in the FABRIC building for six months. These scholars also have access to the mentorship of other professionals in the building as well as access to the multitude of resources that the building has to offer.
The second unique feature is a fashion sourcing library across the hall that features a collection of fashion and design books to help fashion professionals expand their knowledge.
The sourcing library also gives designers access to textile and materials catalogues where they can order fabric and trims and even have it stored in the FABRIC building’s storage room, so they don’t have to transport it from multiple places in order to work on their collection.
“There is no easy way to locate the wholesale vendors in one place without attending a textile show in LA or NY or having connections in the industry,” read an information bulletin posted for tour guests to read. “We have solved this issue by providing a free sourcing library where materials and trims are separated and categorized by type.”
If one explores a little further along the basement level, they will come across a space for media fashion professionals.
This corner of the basement level holds a sound studio, a photography and videography studio, and offices where media professionals can both work and store their equipment.
A fully equipped sound booth lets media professionals record audio and video, while the photography and videography studio can support fashion photoshoots from concept to execution to final product, all in one spot.
This studio space allows media professionals to reserve time and day slots in the studio in order to bring their visions to life.
The basement level even has space for classes put on by the Arizona Apparel Foundation, where students can take fashion-based skill classes.
The classrooms can also serve as backstage dressing rooms for fashion shows when events and runway shows are happening on the ground floor. The dressing rooms also connect to two fully lighted and mirrored makeup rooms, for a truly all inclusive fashion space.
In fact, this space was utilized for the grand opening event’s runway show, which ended the night with a bang.
Tabitha Holmes, the designer of House of Holmes, formerly known as Sillin Inc., showcased 26 pieces for men and women from her Fall and Holiday collections and even gave audience members a sneak peek of her Spring collection.
At the end of the night, guests could enter their names into a raffle and silent auction with a chance to win various items from local businesses. The money donated from the night’s event goes right back into the community to fund fashion classes and programs.
As a part of a truly innovative night, this highly anticipated event proved to local fashion enthusiasts the power and bright future of Arizona’s fashion scene.