PRODUCING THE GOODS is a discussion of the production process and what it takes to source, sew and manufacture fashion in the United States. This was the first of three fashion industry panels that were part of Lexus Nashville Fashion Week 2012. Panels were held on March 22, 2012 at the Frist Center for Visual Arts and were sponsored by Imogene + Willie.
Panelists: Natalie Chanin, Otis James, Barry Wishnow, Julie Haley
Moderator: Carrie Eddmenson, co-owner, Imogene + Willie
OTIS JAMES is a designer and creator of handcrafted clothing and accessories in Nashville. He was recently named winner of Garden & Gun magazine’s “Made in the South” awards in the fashion category. His ties are sold online and in stores around the U.S. and in Singapore. James recently collaborated with musician Justin Townes Earle to produce a limited edition, hand-printed bow tie collection. He is currently developing further collaborations with other artists and expanding his line of caps.
NATALIE “ALABAMA” CHANIN is owner and designer of the American couture line Alabama Chanin, made from 100% Certified Organic Cotton by artisans located near Chanin’s home in Florence, Ala. Chanin was a finalist for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion in 2005. In 2009, she was chosen as one of the designers for the Cooper Hewitt Global Triennial, “Why Design Now?” She launched a line of tabletop and home textiles with HEATH Ceramics in 2010, as well as the newest Alabama Chanin bridal collection. Chanin has a degree in environmental design from North Carolina State University and travels the world to lecture on slow design, sustainability and cultural preservation. She works from her home in Florence as designer, manufacturer, stylist, filmmaker, mother, artisan, cook and collector of stories.
BARRY WISHNOW has led and consulted with a veritable who’s-who among fashion brands over several decades. After working in the 1970s with J. Schoeneman, the leading men’s clothing manufacturer, he joined Yves Saint Laurent to develop its YSL men’s business. Wishnow then returned to Schoeneman as president and CEO, the youngest senior executive in the business. He completed Burberry’s first North American license for men’s and women’s shirt and tailored apparel; formed Hugo Boss AG, where he served as president and CEO; and served as president of the men’s group at Calvin, creating the comprehensive licensing network that led to the CK brand. In the mid-1990s, he formed the Barry Wishnow Group, consulting for an international client roster that included Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Joseph Abboud, Catherine Malandrino, Luciano Barbera, Amanda Wakeley, Rosie Pope, Oswald Boateng and Windsor of Germany. Wishnow moved to Nashville in 2009 and has developed the concept for BASH, a 1940s-inspired bespoke brand for men and women. Representing a high quality, definitive point of view, BASH will become a format for modern fashion retailing.
JULIE HALEY is the vice president of sales at Elk Brand Manufacturing Company, where she has worked for the last 20 years. Elk Brand, based in Nashville, was established in 1911 and is known for its denim manufacturing. The company offers garment development and design, production, quality control and distribution from its facilities in southern Kentucky, allowing for one stop service to customers. Located in Cadiz, Ky., the company’s cut-and-sew factory utilizes the latest manufacturing equipment in a team-sewing environment. By utilizing just in time manufacturing techniques, the company is able to efficiently produce small lots of garments. In addition, the company maintains an up-to-date denim washing facility.
Moderator CARRIE EDDMENSON started her career in fashion as a principal at Sights Denim Systems, formerly the world’s preeminent denim development laboratory and premium finisher, located in Henderson, Ky. For 12 years, she worked in product development and design with companies including Paper Denim & Cloth, Rogan, Earnest Sewn, Levis Vintage Clothing, Ralph Lauren’s RRL, Joie, and Loomstate. In the early 1990s, she worked closely with Francois Girbaud, Lee, and Levis to develop new denim processes and inventions that led to the aesthetic of modern denim finishing. Through Sights, she started a product design and development company in Istanbul, Turkey where she lived for three years. While there, Carrie worked with the companies Diesel, Replay, Pepe, and Levis Europe to design and develop products for their European market. She attended Kentucky’s Centre College, where she studied arts and humanities. In 2009, Carrie and husband Matt Eddmenson left Henderson for Nashville, where they opened Imogene + Willie, now a rising star in the world of quality, American-made denim and ready-to-wear.