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LA Factory Visit Behind the Scenes

Oct 06, 2015

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By Oiselle Designer, Nelle Horsley

Oiselle has worked with a few fabric partners and factories right here on our very own coastline since the beginning of the company. Los Angeles is considered the hub of the West Coast's garment industry, and Oiselle is proud to partner with businesses to make Oiselle product here in the USA. 

A couple of weeks ago, just as the leaves were starting to turn and the air first threatened rain, I escaped Seattle for the unwavering sun of Los Angeles.  I was traveling to LA to meet a few of our partners, see our garments being produced, and as with everywhere I travel, get some inspiration for the upcoming seasons! Take a look at my trip down to La La Land, I promise there's even a sneak peek along the way...

Buh, bye, Seattle! Trading you in for some palm trees for a few days, this bird has got to get her last rays of summer.

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First stop: our bra cup manufacturer! I came with the intention to visit the showroom, but I got the added bonus of learning how bra cups are made in their LA factory. As maker myself, I love to see the process of how things are made, so this was really fun for me.

Foam is laid out and cut into different shapes. Don't they look like cookie cutters? The more padded the bra cup, the thicker the foam!

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The cut-out foam shapes are heat pressed into their final form. The top of the mold presses down into the cup shape on the bottom. You'll notice that any cup is thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges- that is engineered right in to the cup to give you more coverage.

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Next- shopping! LA was a great source of inspiration for fun prints and colors. Even my surroundings gave me some ideas...

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This store had some awesome handmade swimwear. Bedazzled underwear, anyone?!?!

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I visited two different fabric companies. Finding a new fabric reminds me of trying a new food- you can't know if you like it until you taste it. This also applies to finding new and exciting fabrics for Oiselle- the best way to find new fabrics is feel it for yourself! Below is a photo from one of the showrooms I visited- imagine row upon rows of gorgeous fabric- some with exciting new technologies and performance abilities, and some Oiselle classics too- like our famous Lux fabric.

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Next, I visited the LA factory that makes some of Oiselle's bras. Below, you can see a sneak peek of our bras being made on the sewing machine! (In the background, you can see the big orange bundles of fabric. This is fabric that has already been cut out into specific pattern pieces, and bundled by size- waiting to be sewn.)

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Our bra factory in LA, and one of the many thread shelves to store every color imaginable...

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What's a trip to LA without stopping in Venice Beach? Gorgeous boutiques, and some great people watching...

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I was also able to see a printing technique we use in action. Sublimation is a heat- driven printing process where dye is transferred from a solid form on paper to a gas form onto the fabric.The result is precise, clear and vibrant art on fabric. Below, you can see the machine that sublimates entire rolls of fabric. The top roll is the paper carrying the artwork, and the bottom roll is the blank white fabric. The top and bottom roll are heat set together and the result is the middle roll: fabric with the sublimated art! 

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Paper rolls stored in the warehouse- so many patterns....

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Between the factory visits, meetings, and shopping excursions, I got a quick beach fix before I caught a plane back to Seattle. Thank you for the awesome trip, LA! 

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- Nelle

 

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