020. Tara St. James on How the Offshoring of Production Reshaped the Role of Brands

Which parts of the product development and production processes were brands responsible before the offshoring of production versus afterwards? How did this impact skill-sets and knowledge of production processes within brands? And how has this shift in knowledge and skill-sets affected price negotiations with suppliers? [...]
10 Nov 2020
00:39:13
Manufactured podcast
Manufactured
020. Tara St. James on How the Offshoring of Production Reshaped the Role of Brands
Loading
/

Throughout the making of this podcast, one of the questions we’ve had floating around in our minds was: how did we get here? There are a lot of ways to tackle this question, a lot of different moments across time and space that we could use to start the story.

One of those is the offshoring of manufacturing in the United States and Europe. Sure, there’s the simple narrative we often hear: the cost of labor got too expensive. This, combined with advances in logistics, technology, and certain trade policies, resulted in production being moved abroad and the long, complex supply networks we see today.

But we wanted to talk to someone who worked for a brand and experienced this transition to dig a little deeper. Which parts of the product development and production processes were brands responsible before the offshoring of production versus afterwards? How did this impact skillsets and knowledge of production processes within brands? And how has this shift in knowledge and skillsets affected price negotiations with suppliers?

Tara St. James is the wearer of many hats. She’s a founder at Resource Library – the United States’ first free-standing sustainable textiles library, owner and creative director of Study NY, a sustainable womenswear brand made in NYC, and an adjunct professor at FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology.

Perhaps counterintuitively, the starting point for all of these fabulous projects, and her own sustainability journey, was her first job working for a much more mainstream fashion brand – just as the industry was adjusting to offshore production.

Want to dig deeper?

Learn more about Tara’s made-in-NYC womenswear brand Study New York.

Read this article by Elizabeth Cline, published by the New Fashion Initiative, about ReSource Library – the United States’ first free-standing sustainable textiles library.

Manufactured - Sustainability and the making of fashion

Photo by Ivan Karpov

Recent Episodes

101. Crossover Moments : Ebru Debbag

101. Crossover Moments : Ebru Debbag

In this episode, Kim and Jessie are in conversation with Ebru Debbag, the Executive Director of Global Sales and Marketing at Soorty Enterprises Pvt.Ltd. As the daughter of a cotton farmer, Ebru spent most of her childhood running around fields. From a small atelier...

read more
100. Crossover Moments : Bergson Wang

100. Crossover Moments : Bergson Wang

In celebration of Manufactured’s 100th episode, hosts Kim and Jessie sit down with Bergson Wang, a social and environmental compliance auditor (among many other roles) from China. As someone with a diverse career spanning over two decades, Bergson shares his journey...

read more