Modernplum evolves each season from a single or group of related creative sparks. Examples could be the forms of spring or fall foliage, the cool blues of the winter sky and sea or simply the texture of wood grain on the house down the street. Our workspace is set both within a densely populated urban area and expansive green space, so the environment offers a varied assortment of creative references.
Once an idea takes hold, we are sketchbook bound to work out forms, color relationships and proportions. During this development phase, we consult our "idea board" which is an ongoing collection of swatches, notes, papers, and images taken from magazines, books, movies, and small collections like shells, dried flowers, and even rubber bands.
Next we make tiny samples of our ideas. These are sometimes sewn, but sometimes they are made from pins and tape. Here is when fabric gets really important. The exact hue that will both blend with our existing pieces and express our collection idea is selected. We select our fabric from many sources. Fabric quality, origin, and overall personality are at a premium. We use linen and other natural a supplier in New York City who has long relationships with linen mills in Northern Europe.
Once we know everything about our new item like dimensions, fabric selections and sewing details, we will have a few made in full size our sample sewers in Chicago. These samples are used to make sure that the product is fully resolved, and in photographing and selling the collection.
fabrication and production
This is the last step. We practice a combination of small-scale factory production (100 pieces) in our American-based factories in New Jersey and Chicago and workroom sewing in Chicago and Detroit for smaller quantities depending on the product.
During sewing, we manage the process with facility visits and one to one interactions with our sewers. Both these production methods ensure that our focus is on accountability, community, and quality. We like to think that these steps infuse the final product with the soul of a maker which is subtle but makes all difference.