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21/08/2017

Area fashion designers now have local fabric source

Area fashion designers now have local fabric source

As Arizona’s fashion industry continues to take root, a business at Tempe’s fashion incubator is supplying the fabric for that growth.

The Fabric Studio at 132 E. 6th St. is giving designers a place to get the material they need to create fashions and begin their careers.

“We act as brokers,” said Mari Elena Fagre, one of two partners in the business. “We know all about the products. We can help designers get fabric, and then get it again.”

“Designers get fabric to create something, but then getting more can be a problem,” said Mabel Cortez, the other partner. “The designers know they can get fabric on reorder from us.

“Fabric stores cater to the public only,” she said. “But here, now you have a place that understands designers because we are designers.”

Cortez has been a fashion designer for over 10 years, and Fagre used to be a swimsuit designer.

In April, they opened the Fabric Studio in the basement of FABRiC, the Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center, a Tempe incubator. It operates at the site of the former Tempe Performing Arts Center. Its founders hope to make Arizona a fashion destination.

“It’s a unique place to have available,” Fagre said. “It’s a one-stop shop with the incubator.”

The Fabric Studio stocks a variety of fabrics – cotton, linens, silk, wool and more. And they can get them from Los Angeles, Japan, Europe, India and elsewhere. The studio also offers sewing tools and trims.

Fabric usually is sold in large quantities. Designers have a problem getting more than just a little at a decent price, so the Fabric Studio can pool resources and get what designers need.

They can also get it cheaper – wholesale for designers, and discounted retail for the public.

“One designer needed pleather,” Cortez said. “It was $30 a yard at Jo-Ann’s, but $18 here.”

An additional service the studio offers is consulting to help designers find the perfect fabric and trim for their collections.

“More designers out there need guidance,” Cortez said. “They’re trying to get on the map.

“We’ve helped designers in New York, Oregon, even Iowa.”

The pair are working on an online store as well, offering sourcing for fabric.

“Designers are excited by it,” Fagre said. “And not just fabric, but everything else.”

The two see a bright future, both for fashion in Tempe and for themselves.

“I see more brands produced in Arizona,” Cortez said.

“We hope to grow bigger and better,” Fagre said. “Not only get designers from Arizona, but from other states as well. Retail as well.”

“Right now, we’re relying on Google Maps, Facebook ads and word of mouth,” Cortez said. “We’re trying to do more advertising. By the fall, we hope to have a bigger presence.”

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