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The Behind-The-Scenes of the AYSHA NY Hustle

When a brand like AYSHA NY makes a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and supporting the struggling Garment District it needs to do every step in-house. “Made in NYC” versus made overseas requires a daily, dedicated hustle. When a brand produces overseas, factories there take care of all the trimmings -- it is a one-stop shop. But with so many major fashion brands fleeing the midtown garment center to cut costs and minimize efforts in wake of COVID, garment workers are losing jobs.

AYSHA NY is determined to be part of the Garment District’s comeback story. Creative Director and CEO Aysha Saeed takes you behind-the-scenes for the inside scoop on what it takes to carry out the tasks required in her commitment to leading a sustainable fashion brand from the initial design conception to the sewing of the final button.

“Being in New York was and still is a dream for me and many people around the world. I was one of those aspiring individuals before I moved to the USA. This city has provided me so many opportunities and has allowed me to live out my dream of building a fashion brand. Now it is my time to give back to this glorious city that is going through tough times. Here is a snapshot of what it takes to truly be a Made in NYC brand.” 
- Aysha Saeed

8:00 am

Finish my first cup of coffee and fire up my laptop to check emails from our European fabric mills as 80% of our fabric comes from Italy. I need to respond to them asap before Europe is off to lunch.  

9:00 am

Head out to AYSHA NY’s Garment Center Studio. On my way, I listen to a fashion industry podcast and catch up on news in general.

9:30 am

As I walk to my work Studio from the N & R subway stop to 35th and 8th Ave, I pick up my second cup of coffee at a local breakfast shop. I avoid Starbucks (or any other big brands in general) because I want to support local mom & pop businesses.

10 - 11 am

At my work Studio I continue to read/respond to emails, following up with clients and other admin matters.

11 am - 12:30 pm

Finish my first cup of coffee and fire up my laptop to check emails from our European fabric mills as 80% of our fabric comes from Italy. I need to respond to them asap before Europe is off to lunch.  

I look at our production at various stages, such as:

- Fabric laid out on a 20 ft-long cutting table, ready to be cut. I make sure that the “marker” is placed in the most efficient manner to lessen any fabric loss.

- Garments going through a sewing machine.

- Inspecting the completed garment waiting to be steamed.

It makes me happy to be able to inspect and control all aspects of production so closely, ensuring that each garment will be produced with the high standards that our brand has set forth.

1:00 - 2:00 pm 

Since all local factories shutdown for lunch, I make sure I get out of their way before then. They all eat lunch together….almost like a family. Many times they cook for each other and share their food. If I am caught up doing work at the factory during their lunch hour, they offer me lunch too….so sweet I must say. As I am leaving Donald’s factory, his wife always hands me a kid-sized carton of apple juice :)

On my way back from the factory visit, I pick up lunch…...yes I eat lunch at my desk while checking social media.  

2:30 pm

Time to stop by the zipper store to pick up zippers that got cut based on our measurements. We don’t buy pre-cut zippers, each zipper gets cut to our measurements. For example, our signature “Blousette” does not take standard sized zippers, each zipper size changes as we go from XS to S to M to L, etc. Sure, it’s a painstaking process to keep track of all these measurements, but it has to be done. Even a ¾” length difference makes a significant difference in fit and look.

3:00 - 3:30 pm

I work at my Studio with our pattern maker and approving samples. Many times I try on a sample to see overall fit, make changes, etc.

4:00 pm

Before local stores shut down, I head out to the Grading company to talk to Ian and drop off final patterns with grading instructions. Ian will work with his team of 8 and grade to size: XS, S, M, L, XL. But I need to tell them how much to jump from one size to the next. Again, we do not follow industry standards, we follow our own specs that work for our customers.

4:00 pm

On my way back, I stop at an embroidery store to check on “AY” embroidery production on velvets. Since embroidery is permanent, Danielle won’t go further with the production until I sign off on TOP (top of production).

5:15 - 6:00 pm

More admin work at the Studio that includes following up with local suppliers for trims like ribbons, lining and smocking to ensure delivery is on time. If any of these trims are late, our entire production gets put on hold, which is a disaster I need to avoid. So each day I follow up with various suppliers to catch any delays, which allows me to adjust production schedules as needed.

6:00 - 6:45 pm  

Check in with the social media and digital marketing team working remotely.

7:00 ish pm

Start heading home. As I walk through the Garment Center to the subway, I pat myself on the back for sticking it through. 2020 was such a difficult year, but I am persevering. I am staying true to my commitment of Made in NYC.

Producing fashion locally does not only ensure a high quality end product, but also ensures AYSHA NY is playing an active role in bringing back the glory of NYC Garment Center. Today I worked with 9 to 12 different business….all are small businesses like myself. Because of me, they all got business and continue to do what they love. And because our customers buy AYSHA NY, I continue to do what I love. A full circle moment, as I step down to catch the N & R subway home.

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