When retirement plans unavoidably shifted, Green Valley business owner Nancy Lambert took a leap that's paid off, although she's eager for the November election to be over and the economy to stabilize.
Seven years ago, Lambert was happily employed as a technical clothing designer in Tucson, a job from which she planned to retire in 2012. When the company was unexpectedly sold in 2009, she was out of a job. She found work freelancing, even though it meant traveling to Phoenix three days a week from Green Valley.
But it provided enough income to buy the equipment she needed to start a business making and selling fabric coasters. Soon she diversified into neck-coolers, kitchen aprons and hot/cold packs, sales from which provided more machines.
Eventually she was sewing for others out of her garage, and launched Arizona Apparel Manufacturing in 2010.
Lambert soon signed on her first customer, clothing designer Ruby Sanders, formerly of Tubac and now of Green Valley. Sanders' Ruby Jane line, a higher-end clothing collection, is now assembled at Arizona Apparel, which moved to commercial space in a quiet corner of Green Valley's Ward Lane after Lambert realized she needed more room.
Since then, Lambert, 66, has developed contracts to manufacture other women's clothing, commercial embroidery, and her largest client, Dirty Girl Gaiters ankle protectors for recreationalists.
Her five employees and two contract staff who work from home produce 1,500 pairs a month. The gaiters were founded by fashion-conscious marathoner Xy Weiss of California in 2004.
Building a business is tough enough, but Lambert has also had to worry about the economy this year. Blame it on the election, she says, which has been “horrendously bad” for business.
“Everybody's hanging on to everything because they don't know what's coming.”
She said it's not unusual to feel a slack in business, but that's often not until December or January.
“But this year it was in mid-September.”
She expects to see an upsurge soon in embroidery orders, as is typical before the holidays.
With the gaiters, Dirty Girl determines what patterns and colors of four-way stretch Spandex will be produced; Lambert's staff cut, assemble and ship the gaiters to customers worldwide.
The product is a hit with joggers, cyclists, hikers and others, shielding them from dirt, brush, rocks and the like. Reflective versions also make good safety wear, increasing user visibility at night.
Every six months, another 36 rolls of fabric arrive in Green Valley with new patterns. Popular themes include skulls, swirls and food items, with the widest-sought color, black. Metallics and neons are also hot.
With her own business, “The biggest challenge has been finding competent help,” she said. “Sewing is not something many people do anymore.”
Despite the recent economic downturn, she sees signs the apparel industry is “definitely” returning to the U.S. after years of being farmed out to foreign countries, where labor costs are rising and quality can be inconsistent. She's getting more calls all the time from people wanting American-made products and is gratified to be part of that movement. Old Glory hangs in the shop, and it's motto is “Keeping it Made in America.”
Starting her own business was fun but scary. The move to Green Valley helped by sparing some commuter expenses, Tucson taxes, and she likes it here.
“No matter how much you prepare, there are still a lot of unknowns,” Lambert said. “It's been extremely exciting with the roller coaster market.”
Designer Masaba Gupta drew inspiration from New York street style, showing a 3D video of the city during her Amazon India Fashion Week spring-summer show on Saturday. She also paid tribute to her mentor, Wendell Rodricks, during the show.
There was heavy use of black and white against bright shades of pink, green, red and mustard.
Cape shirts, overlapped dress, shirt dress, tunics, gowns, crop tops and pants were the highlight for the show — and a few saris were also featured in the collection.
Known for giving international touch to her costumes, Gupta, 27, the daughter of actress Neena Gupta and cricketer Viv Ricahrds, said, “I wanted to do something that woman, who travel can wear them. My collection is about a woman, who is well travelled. No matter in which part of the world she is, she can always wear them.”
“It is about [an] upbeat boss woman that is so synonymous with New York. I did a big range this time. I also used a caricature print, which is inspired by 23-year-old actress Athiya Shetty walked in the show in gold-print white flared trousers and a black crop top paired with a cape.
“It definitely depicts a confident and comfortable girl. I love Masaba’s clothes. They have a lot of personality and I have always been a fan of her collection,” Shetty told PTI.
“This is the first time I’m officially wearing Masaba. So, it’s really special and she described it perfectly. You can see in her each garment they have their own story to tell,” she said.
Gupta is known for her extraordinary and quirky prints like the lipstick, cow and camera print. This time she used caricatures inspired by Mithila paintings from Bihar.
“It’s more structured this time. The quirky, fun bit is only one print that we have done about these caricatures. It’s not as edgy as the stuff in the past but more classic,” she said.
But what stole the show was a tribute to designer Rodricks.
“I just wanted to pay a tribute to him because he has been so influential in my life,” she said.Read more at:short cocktail dresses
French-Lebanese designer Ingie Chalhoub has closed a busy Arab Fashion Week with a collection inspired by American pop art icon Andy Warhol.
Her models strutted down the catwalk in pleated skirts and blouses and disco-style dresses and jackets, all in a mix of bright red, fuchsia, blue and black.
“My design is all about the Parisian chic woman who is travelling all over the world,” Chalhoub told AFP after her show at a luxurious Dubai hotel.
“This collection was mostly inspired by an exhibition I saw in Paris from Andy Warhol and as I’m very fond of him I wanted to take back his drawings and his paintings and to make out of them some fabrics and some designs,” she said.
Chalhoub says she designs the prints she wants on her fabrics “very carefully”. “I play a lot with the fabrics and I play also on the print,” she said, adding that among her favourite combinations is matte crepe with the contrasting brilliance of satin.
Palestinian designer Jamal Taslaq’s show preceded the closing act, featuring gowns in traditional Palestinian patterns as models walked out to the music of Lebanese composer and oud player Marcel Khalife.
Italian designer Giada Curti also presented a colourful Spring-Summer 2017 collection with floral prints and stripes.
In its third edition, the fashion week presented more than 20 collections from more than 10 countries. The show shed light on designs by Gulf women, such as Lamya Abedin from the United Arab Emirates, Alanoud Al-Attiya from Qatar who refused to appear on stage or camera, and Jeans Couture by a Saudi mother and daughter duo. It also presented the first ever Emirati model, Rafeea al-Hajsi.
Organised by the Arab Fashion Council, which represents the 22 countries of the Arab League, the week aims to attract fashion-conscious women from the Gulf, as well as luxury buyers from Russia and China.
Alina Cocci, who came from Milan to attend the week, told AFP after Chalhoub’s show that she found the Arab designers “amazing”. “They’re very particular. They have this oriental touch that we Europeans don’t have, so this is something interesting,” said the Italian, who works in the fashion industry.
She did however criticise the “organisation” of the event, with shows being delayed for at least an hour-and-a-half every day, adding that unlike in Paris and Milan, Arab Fashion Week has attracted a limited audience.
Russian artist and fashion illustrator Alena Ogden said that “it’s very different from other countries,” with more evening gowns on display.
Designers showcasing their pieces at the Dubai show “know their clients very well, the Arab women, so that’s why it’s all … gowns (that are) so bright, shiny, and extravagant but not much street fashion.”
Asked if she had Arab customers in mind when designing her collection, Chalhoub insisted that “today there is no such fashion that is only for the Middle East or only for Paris. With the Internet … fashion is becoming more and more global.”Read more at:formal dresses online