Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

When I visited Los Angeles as a guest of Jerome Dahan and Citizens of Humanity, the basis of the trip was to get a handle on just how denim is produced out there. The West Coast manufacturing  industry is an important part of the American economy, and it’s not until you step into these factories that you realise just how big it actually is. I love nothing more than getting behind the scenes to really understand how something is made, and seeing just how complex an operation it is to produce something that appears as ostensibly simple as a pair of jeans was an eyeopener.

We spent a day between Citizens’ four hubs in Los Angeles: their showroom, then the design and development building, and factory in the Garment District, and then out east at their laundry where they both develop new washes, and create the textured finishes of the jeans themselves.  (And in case that sounds dry, there were also ice cream sandwiches AND Pomeranians too.)

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

The scale of the design and development building is enormous.

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

So I asked Citizens to take me through the process.

STEP 1 SKETCHING
•       inspiration and seasonal direction
•       concept board with styles fabric and washes
•       designs sketched and detailed

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Side visit to Finance Director’s office for Pomeranian petting

Citizens of Humanity Pomeranian

Quite a prolonged visit to Finance Director’s office for Pomeranian petting.

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Then back to the shop floor

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

STEP 2 FABRIC SELECTION + TRIM
•        fabric review and selection
•        trim development
•        garment details reviewed and sourced

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

STEP 3 PATTERN MAKING

•        design details communicated to patternmakers
•        patterns made
•        patterns adjusted for unique fabrics and washes

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

STEP 4 CUTTING + SEWING

•        markers created
•        pattern pieces cut
•        garment constructed with design team direction and production capabilities

Here’s Goldsign founder and Citizens of Humanity partner, and all round denim genius Adriano Goldschmeid, explaining the process to the assembled editors.

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

One of the processes that fascinated me the most was the use of lasers to both rip and colour denim. Using pre-ordained guides, the lasers can distress, fade and rip in a matter of seconds.

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

They can also make a camo print like this (perfect for AW13):

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

And then in an act of genius,  before we headed off to the denim laundries for the afternoon, Citizens arranged for two LA food trucks to park up in the car park of the factory for our lunch.

Korean tacos

ice cream sandwich

Citizens of Humanity Factory Tour

Sitting outside in the warm California sun, eating ice cream sandwiches…can life get any better?

Sasha Wilkins

Part two tomorrow!

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5 comments

Reply

Completely agree, it’s a huge eye opener to see the amount of workmanship that goes into making items of clothing.
I’m really wanting an ice cream sandwich now! 🙂

Reply

Cool Haus – My Coachella Ice Cream Truck fav!

Reply

This is a brilliant insight into how a premium denim brand produces their designs. Fascinating to see those lasers in action… A huge health and safety issue for workers is where sandblasting is used to distress jeans, causing permanent and often fatal damage to workers lungs. Great to see Citizens of Humanity leading the way with clean, safe technological alternatives that produce amazing effects!

Reply

Looks like a great day with behind the scenes tour and last, but not least ice cream sandwich:) When I am going to the States in January, I think I will have a try:)

Carrymystyle.com

Reply

Oh, you were in LA? If you come again let me know and I’ll take you on a tour of the studio lot where I work and you can visit my (well, not MINE, but where I work!) TV show’s set.
Thanks for the insight on the denim lasers…I had always wondered.

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