"I (we) made your clothes". Founder of Sew Co., Libby O'Bryan (middle) with Superstar seamstresses and long time industry veterans Rona Wetzel (left) and Edith Halford (right).
This is a guest post from Libby O'Bryan, our insanely fabulous cut and sew production partner and Founder of Sew Co. As part of Earth Day and Fashion Revolution Day, we are introducing the inspiring people who are a part of creating Ruth & Ragnar's made in the USA kidswear line. I'm not sure how else to explain it other than introducing this magnificent woman as the star who makes this all possible. Due to our mutual passion for sustainability, quality and ethical manufacturing, Libby and I found each other and she has taken this project on with devotion and dedication. For that, we are eternally grateful. Today we are so excited to virtually get to visit North Carolina as we follow "A Day in the Life of Libby O'Bryan."
"Greeting’s from Sew Co.!
Spring’s finally appearing through the gravel, steel and brick grounds of our factory here in Western North Carolina. It’s bringing fresh energy as we join forces with Ruth & Ragnar to develop their own line of 100% organic, 100% made in the USA and 100% transparent children’s wear.
Sew Co. was founded in 2010 by myself, Libby O’Bryan, in a response to the deportation of garment production and a desire to preserve the skill of sewing in our domestic manufacturing economy. After many years in NYC’s fashion industry and then pursuing an installation/performance-based art practice reflecting on that time, I felt it was imperative to make a meaningful impact. Oh-so-fortunately, I was invited to start my own cut and sew operation within The Oriole Mill.
A great inspiration for empowered labor and sustainable, high-quality production, The Oriole Mill in Hendersonville, NC would be a new home and a valued client. Sew Co. has grown to six employees (we’re still small!) and many interesting clients whose values align with ours - quality craftsmanship, sustainable resources, and valued labor. We perform sewn product development and small-scale manufacturing services. Perfectly aligned for Ruth & Ragnar’s mission.
Right off the weave floor and through these sound-proof doors, designed by my husband Brandon Pass, is my studio where I work on concepts, patterns and samples. A few weeks ago, I eagerly received a happily decorated package from Mikaela! filled with her collection of sample garments and spec-sheets.
After an initial review, Mikaela and I spoke over the phone to review each sample and her notes.
We’re planning to make the Legging skinnier, the Harem Pant baggier, the T-Shirt more chic and the Dress more versatile. Taking all Mikaela’s notes, I will make adjustments to our first pattern drafts and cut another round of samples from her super-soft organic cotton knit.
Working on a project with such integrity and true enthusiasm, is a dream. Skills I learned decades ago while studying at FIT, are providing me and Mikaela the tools we need to make a new future in the textile industry and for our children. Life is coming full-circle.
So, I’ll drive home through the mountains to Asheville for the night . . . .
. . . meet my sweet pooch on the front porch while finishing up a phone call . . .
. . . and make my 18 month old son Obie his favorite dinner of tempeh with hummus to dip, homemade sweet potato and broccoli puree, and strawberries for dessert.
After dinner I ask Obie to be my still-too-tiny fit model for the Ruth & Ragnar legging."