man.u.fac.ture : N: the making of articles on a large scale using machinery
Every designer starts from square one. Creation. You have an idea and you want to figure out how to bring it to life.... Well that’s how it happened for me. From 9th grade, I’ve been making things on my own. I won a $500 Hobby Lobby gift card (local craft store) and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Over time I’ve only taken that initial love and let it lead me into a career of creation. In this career, also known as fashion, the highly successful brands are manufactured. This is where a factory, from here or there, make your dreams come to life at a mass amount. The more I continue to push the limits of what I want my designs to be, I am also faced with the opposition of “The Man”ufacture.
I have to continue to remind myself, there are limits to what can be massed produced. I make all of my samples and commissions by hand one at a time with a little bit of soul. So every time I meet with a new company that can eventually be the factory for me, I hear many of the same things. “...you are very ambitious...” or “...you made this?!”... and my favorite “... you can’t afford for me to make this for you...”.
Well as a young designer you can’t allow this to discourage you. In fact it has only pushed me. I want to continue to have ideas that make manufactures blush. Actually in my last meeting with a manufacture I was asked if I could show how I was able to cut, sew, and tie a leather bowtie, as if I forever changed this owner’s perspective! LOL... Loved that moment. He still wasn’t able to make them for me, but it felt good to make his day.
The decision I’ve made is to just keep growing and building and asking for God to continue to bless me with the ability to make my ideas come into fruition. Until I can find a manufacture that is willing to take on a brand that is prepared to push the envelope at every opportunity, my journey will continue from my apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
May the day bring you joy,
Chike Atu, founder and head designer