The Voices of our Community: Cloth Portico

Innovative Product Development Services: Cloth Portico’s Seamless Execution of Tailored Solutions for Apparel Businesses from Design to Market”

Jan 23, 2024 · 6 Minute Read

The Voices of our Community: Cloth Portico

Can you elaborate on the specific Product Development Services Cloth Portico offers to apparel businesses, especially those with limited resources?

At Cloth Portico, we provide a full range of services geared specifically towards supporting emerging designers and brands. We start with any design needs, such as sketches, prints, tech packs, and specs. Then we source fabrics and trims from top-tier suppliers and proceed to create patterns and samples, offering fitting sessions for our clients either in NYC or Miami. One of the best things about Cloth Portico is our ability to produce very low minimum order quantities (MOQ), in a variety of factories that specialize in product categories. This mitigates the risk of producing too many units in a single style. We are also recognized industry-wide for our expertise at fabric and textile sourcing, and for having a wide sourcing network.

Can you provide more insight into where some of your fabric mills and manufacturing facilities are in the world?

We partner with mills in Japan, Italy, Brazil, Peru, China, India, and the USA. Our mills provide sustainable, organic, and innovative choices. Most are low MOQ – around 50 meters per quality. Our facilities are located in NYC, China, Peru, Vietnam, India, and Brazil. We match the client’s product to the most appropriate factory because not every factory produces every category. Most of our factories are WRAP (safe, legal, and ethical manufacturing) and REACH (protection from toxic chemicals for both humans and the environment).

Could you share an example or case study of a noteworthy collaboration where Cloth Portico helped bring a client’s design ideas to a successful fruition?

We have a client, Virtue of Consciousness, who worked with several factories over two years, and it was an extremely challenging experience for them. Samples never came in correct, the fits were bad, the communication was nonexistent and the owners spent a big chunk of their savings. They weren’t going to give up but needed much more support and patience than they had been previously experiencing. Cloth Portico stepped in as a reliable partner. We sourced 100% soft hemp fabrics for them, assisted with the design process, conducted the fit process, created a complete label package, and were ready for the market with seven styles. The entire process took about six months from the initial design to the finished garment.

Can you highlight any innovative or unique approaches that Cloth Portico employs in its Product Development Services to set itself apart in the industry?

The two major challenges in this industry are meeting MOQs for fabric and production and a client’s level of experience. We address these challenges with our 30 years of experience in the garment industry, working with emerging brands as well as powerhouse brands like Armani and Tommy Hilfiger. We have a deep understanding of how to get things done and have learned from past mistakes which enables us to guide clients through the process with valuable support and knowledge. Our network of mills and factories are relationships built over 10 to 30 years, so they are more willing to provide “workarounds” like lowering an MOQ or reducing costs because Cloth Portico has been a valued partner for them, some for three decades! We leverage our partnerships for the good of our clients.

Given the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry, how does Cloth Portico approach these services with an eco-friendly mindset?

Sustainability and low impact to the environment are the cornerstones of our business. We utilize GOTS (organic) and OEKO-TEX Certified fabrics, including premium fibers like Lenzing Modals and Pima Supima Cottons. Our dye houses use vegetable or oxidized water, never harsh chemicals, which are bad for the environment.

How do you stay ahead in Trend Research and how is this information incorporated into the design process for clients?

We stay informed about industry trends through platforms like WGSN and WWD. We also attend fabric shows such as Premiere Vision in Paris, Texworld and PrintSource in NYC, and other industry events. We belong to CFDA and Made in NYC, which also sponsor events and publish what’s new in the industry. Cloth Portico recognizes the importance of allowing our clients to express their unique voices. We provide a platform for clients to create their trends and design narratives.

What would be the necessary steps to aid Miami in growing the production sector of the apparel business?

Sadly, only 2% of apparel is made in the USA. China and Europe collectively own nearly 60% of the apparel manufacturing market share. Once the garment industry left the US chasing lower prices overseas, we lost a lot of machinery and technology, as well as the talent to run those machines. Factories were robust in places like NYC, Kentucky, L.A., and even Miami, but factories closed because their costs couldn’t compete with overseas costs. Mostly only high-end goods (higher cost) are produced in the USA now. High-end brands prefer less MOQ, so we have invested in a few factories that will give us low MOQ and excellent quality. C/P has had to buy machinery to be able to offer more unique functions, such as feld or flat lock seaming. There are a few factories left in Miami; but to be honest, the level of expertise in running a production factory, the machine technology and the workforce is stronger in NYC. I hate to say that, as I live in Miami.

Who are some of your clients?

Cloth Portico has had the pleasure of working with a diverse range of clients, who have stayed with us collection after collection, because we have great partner relationships. We go above and beyond for our clients.

Here are a few: Violette Swimwear (Italian fabric – sustainable), Hey Friends Casual Apparel (organic cottons), Charming Sally Golf (sustainable fabric from Canada), Court & Course Tennis and Golf (sustainable from Italy), COVOLO Silk Dresses (sustainable silk from Italy), Anneu Contemporary (Italian fabrics), Mel Sleepwear (sustainable Lenzing Modal), Gigi Carter Casual Dresses (organic cotton) and Virtue of Consciousness, a hemp-based, eco-friendly brand. We also have a few kid’s apparel brands, intimates, a shoe brand, and equestrian brands. So we are pretty diverse. If we don’t make the product (wedding dresses or small leather goods, for example), we can usually recommend factories that can.

What are some ways our audience can get in touch with you if they are interested in learning more about your business?

For those interested in learning more about Cloth Portico, please feel free to reach out via Instagram at @clothportico, visit our website at www.clothportico.com, or contact Joanna directly at jm@clothportico.com.



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