Tag Archives: fashion

Fashion in the age of technology

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Met Gala took place in the city last week. The theme for this year’s costume institute exhibition “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” focused on the intersection between handmade haute couture and pret-a-porter fashion.

Traditionally the difference between haute couture and machine made centred around hand made and machine made however in recent times that distinction has become blurred as both have embraced the techniques of the other.


Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 15.43.17

The distinction between haute couture and prêt-a-porter has become blurred in recent years.

The exhibition itself showcases more than 100 pieces of fashion, both haute couture and ready-to-wear. Techniques such as lacework, embroidery and pleating are placed along side machine-made designs with laser cutting, thermo shaping, and circular knitting.

Singer Taylor Swift co-chaired this years' event.

Singer Taylor Swift co-chaired this years’ event.

Many of the invited guests to the benefit event dawned the red carpet in ‘futuristic’ interpretations of the theme. Beading, metallic and armour designs played a large role in showcasing what is to come in the fashion industry as technology advances.

The idea of technology and its ever changing influence on the fashion industry is something that has been extremely topical in recent times.

The innovations taking place at the intersection of fashion and technology are extremely transformative. In many respects, the fashion industry today bears little resemblance to that of a decade ago.

This concept of fashion in the age of technology is something we have been incorporating into our daily work practice here at Clutch Made. From the manufacturing of products to the selling of our services the technological advances with in the fashion industry have allowed our company to grow from strength to strength.

It is an exciting time for the industry and we look forward to seeing where technology will bring Clutch Made next.

How to Make a Handbag in the USA: Step 2

How to Make a Handbag in the USA: Step 2

Here comes the fun part of making a handbag. If you are keeping up with our posts, this week we discuss the second step on How to Make a Handbag in the USA. This step is all about conceptualization and design. When you reach this step we discuss your vision, who you are and what you are looking to design.

Your Vision: A vision is necessary for designers. Your vision could be what inspires you. What do you visualize when you think about your dream handbag? A great way to help you identify those key points is to create a vision board. A vision board helps you organize and conceptualize your wants and goals. 


Your identity: After identifying your vision and what you would like to achieve, it is time to identify who you are as a brand or designer. Why is this important for design? We want to help you design for a tailored audience. Who are you making a handbag for? What sort of of image are you trying to perceive? A great example would be Clutch Bags NY. Clutch NY is a collection of handbags designed by creative director, Laura Dotolo. Clutch NY handbags have a classic, utilitarian style that reflect the heart of NYC. It is important to note that the main focus of a brand other than its product is its audience.  

Your design: We want to make your vision come to life! The design process is the first step that will lead you to the sample of your handbag. Now would be the time to email or call us at 800.208.1840 and set up a design appointment so we can work with you to design that handbag. Maybe you need ideas for your handbag and are not sure what size, color or zipper it should have. Don’t worry! We are here to work with you during the entire design process. We will help you to formulate all your dimensions, details, hardware choices, functionality and materials for your product. 


Stay tuned next week to learn how we help you with the next step of the process: Sourcing..or as we like to say,  “the secrets of our sourcing powers.”

Blog post 1

The Guide to a Handbag Designer’s USA Manufacturing Timeline

Scenario: Let’s begin by assuming you are a handbag design and are in need of a “handbag designer’s USA manufacturing timeline.” You are manufacturing from a good sample that is properly sourced with readily available raw materials. All you have to do is manufacture, right? Let’s leave steps 1 and 2 for another post and jump right into manufacturing!

The “how many and when?” question is at the heart of the manufacturing process. After working for  seasoned clients, with years of productions under their belt, I’ve learned it’s really about “Just In Time “ logistics. The idea that you can deliver your product to the consumer “just in time” before you have to pay for it is really the best way to structure the inventory supply for your business. This strategy does require some experience and an ability to predict demand. Keep in mind that it can be less expensive to make a product at certain times of the year due to factories’ seasonal demands.

Now that you have a saucy mix of decisions, here are some of the more basic considerations. Let’s use handbag manufacturing as an example:

1. Make sure your factory has reviewed your sample and given you a written quote on production and delivery time frames.

Have all materials on hand at the factory on the agreed upon start date. It’s easy to over look that last piece of hardware but don’t do it! When you have a missing piece of hardware discovered at the last minute and your lead time for getting it from Italy or China is 3 weeks you now have lost your spot in the factory’s production schedule; not to mention you have a very unhappy factory who is a lot less likely to give you a good quote the next time they see you walk in the door.

2. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! Inspect factory work at key times in the process.

Does the handbag have the lining sewn in properly just like your sample? If the lining is not being done correctly you have to catch that before they put the rest of the bag together or you have to rip it apart to fix it. This can put you at risk having to purchase more raw materials in the process which changes overall costs and timeframes. Your acceptance and final payment upon delivery from the factory is binding, so be sure the product conforms to the agreed upon sample or you’re on the hook!

3. Deliver your finished product to the client.

It should be packaged, insured, and shipped in an agreed upon fashion. C.O.D. being the watchword for all but your most trusted clients. Make sure you know when your client really needs to receive the product and ensure you under promise and over deliver. You don’t want product that needs to be received for a trunk show or Holiday event showing up late. You won’t get a lot of repeat orders that way. The key to profitable manufacturing is repeat business.

For new brands and aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to test out a new product, the considerations are different. Here I always recommend much more extensive product development and market testing as well as small batch manufacturing. We work with startups on branding and a proper online presence, as consumers want to see the brand’s “story” and message online.

It is exciting to see new ideas come to market. As a Made in USA manufacturer, I am proud to be part of a new wave of American designers bringing back manufacturing to the USA. Made in USA really does mean quality. We hope all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there are able to make the dream of quality Made in USA products a reality.

We are hiring at Clutch Made.

Laura Dotolo is the Principal of Clutch Made (www.clutchmade.com) based in Manhattan’s garment district. Ms. Dotolo is a Manhattan factory owner as well as a long time designer and stylist for the world’s finest brands. Laura helps brands large and small develop, sample and manufacture accessories in the USA.

Clutch Bags Accessories take over Apparel.

A firm believer of making a shift from the east to west in terms of craftsmanship, Laura Dotolo talks about the past, present and future of Clutch Bags accessories and making accessories with Clutch Made.

Clutch BagsClutch Bags NY commenced for a budding niche market that doesn’t get appealed by the boom of loud and gaudy designer bags. How has the journey of the brand been so far?
The journey so far has been very eye opening. Every day I discover a new   perspective about our brand and product through our overwhelming diverse clientele. Our varied consumers pay a lot of attention to quality, which helps us improve every day as a brand. This journey has been a complete experience so far.

The brand image of Clutch Bags NY  harps on the fact that it is a pure New York inspired outcome. How are you incorporating that in the designs or the aesthetics of the brand?
The brand revolves around the lifestyle of a fashion conscious individual living and breathing the city life of Manhattan. We have bags, which easily mold into every outfit that you plan to wear in the city, from a utilitarian mailbag that can be carried for work to a fancy little wedding bag that you can adorn to enjoy the evergreen nightlife of New York.

Clutch BagsThe designs reflect the importance of detailing and precision, what are your main sources of craftsmanship?
As I said earlier, our products are very quality oriented. That’s what our clients love about us. To keep our standards always high we import some of our hardware from Italy. The processing of leather is one of the key features for our detailed driven products that also make us unique and a step closer to luxury.

“Manufacturing in the USA made easy”. This statement is not very common amongst fashion brands in the states. Do you see yourself as making a shift from the traditional Europe and Asia craftsmanship
Yes, we definitely see ourselves as a brand making a change/shift in bringing craftsmanship back to USA. With time, renowned fashion brands have experienced the degradation of skilled artistry in the East. We as a brand would rather pay more for the labor and other factors behind the creation of our products than lower the quality. Manufacturing in the USA has become one of our strongest USP’s and we want to make it more concrete as the brand progresses.

Clutch Made USA Accessories

Clutch Made USA Accessories

A service provided under Clutch Bags called as “Clutch Made”. What is this initiative.
Clutch Made provides design and manufacturing services to individuals and brands looking to source and produce in the USA. We branch out to various young and upcoming designers through this service and help them make their brand stronger in terms of design, marketing and business. It also gives us a chance to work and experience what the budding talents have to offer to the fashion industry.

With the whole fashion world taking leaps in different and extreme directions, do you think consumers are going back to being primitive and shifting back to classic pieces?
I definitely see a massive shift in the concentration of accessories in comparison to apparel. Earlier accessories used to be an add on to what the main outfit was, whereas now people dress according to their accessories. They are playing the role of a canvas of style for an individual, on which you can paint or draw something new every day.

New York Street Style

Do you follow the current trends of Womenswear Accessories or do you follow your own principles?
I always follow my own principles. New York is like an undying source of trends and styles. By observing the styles adorned by different age groups, you can make out what is going to be coming in next season and what is not. For example, the age group from 15 to 19 years is always new and experimental. They are the age group that always brings this shift and change in every season.

 What qualities do you see in your Ideal client?
My ideal client is educated, urban, independent, well versed with fashion in terms of design and style and a woman who is always on the go. The most common quality amongst all my clients is that they always know what they want, very firm and decisive.

Commercial vs Contemporary? Your take.
Neither. Timeless, classic.

Clutch Made ServicesWhere do you see the brand in the next 5 years? Do you plan on expanding to other potential markets?
 As mentioned earlier, I want to expand and explore with Clutch Made in the span of 5 years. Clutch Made is a platform for us to work and collaborate with the new talent. As a brand we also see ourselves drawing inspirations and tapping the Asian and European market.