How New Product Moves From Designer to Dress Shop

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

HAVE you ever wondered how that garment you purchased with your favorite designer's label sewn inside made it to Saks, Talbots, or your favorite department store?

Red-headed Nicole Miller, dressed in a short, pleated, silk-print skirt, low-cut black jacket, and necklace made from gray buttons, was busy finishing-up the fall line which was shown at the New York Public Library on April 6.

Her showroom is on the 20th floor of a building on 7th Avenue, in the heart of the garment district.

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The gray and glass showroom displays her colorful line of dresses, suits, coats, accessories, and her popular men's silk ties.

Ms. Miller is known for her classic silhouette designs and her "fun" fabrics, says Bud Konheim, president of Nicole Miller Inc.

Samples of the clothing for the showroom are produced on the premises.

The production for retail sales is handled at two contracting shops within two blocks of the showroom.

All production except for the men's silk ties is done in the United States, or onshore.

Many designers have their clothing manufactured in foreign countries, or offshore. For example, many use Asia because it is less expensive. In Asia for example, because it is less expensive.)

After Miller sketches a new garment, two patternmakers drape the fabric on a mannequin and construct the first pattern out of muslin. The muslin pattern is handed over to the pattern grader and marker, who makes a cardboard pattern, then produces the various sizes of the pattern needed on a computer.

Cutters, two young men here, tack the patterns onto the large bolts of fabric and cut them out with electric scissors.

Women at a row of sewing machines listen to Julio Iglesias croon from a radio as they receive the pieces from the cutters.

Each whizzes down a seam of the garment and quickly passes it on to the next.

At the end of the line are the pressers who often take a garment during the sewing process to press open seams, and then finish off the pressing process after the garment is completed.

Voila - on a hanger and onto the rack in the showroom.

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