The past year has been one in which we’ve continually searched for beauty and hope; undoubtedly, 2017 has been a year unlike any other. As a company, our response to this year has been to look within and search for new meaning in what we do, to seek inspiration in the work of others, and—perhaps most importantly—to embrace opportunities to collaborate with others amid an environment when it has become more and more difficult to come together and merge multiple points of view.
Bldg 14., our manufacturing division, has flourished in the last year as we introduced our Core Club, a bundled selection of our favorite Core Essentials, in the spring. We launched our machine-manufactured Leisure Collection to great response. It was not only an expansion of Bldg. 14’s offerings, but also an introduction to new fabrics, like our 100% organic cotton waffle knit and organic cotton chambray from Sally Fox. Plus, our expanded manufacturing capabilities (and talented team) enabled us to expand one of our favorite collaborations, the Reclaimed Down Scarf made using repurposed Patagonia jackets.
Women were central to our design perspective this year, as we looked to friends and collaborators like Rinne Allen and Ashley Christensen for inspiration; we also found muses in Frida Kahlo, Anni Albers, Barbara Hepworth, and Lee Bontecou. Each woman’s style and artistic work found its way into our newest Collection in the form of new silhouettes, new stencils and colorways, and the use of woven fabrics. We also re-introduced an updated Bridal + Evening collection.
The School of Making offered a second year of the Build a Wardrobe project—with a new version to come in 2018. The design team also worked to offer our home sewers more design options and flexibility, developing new products and programming like the quarterly Design Bundle, Design Stacks, and custom textile paints. All of our notions were repackaged in more environmentally friendly options that use our fabric scraps. Natalie published The Geometry of Hand-Sewing and was honored to see that it was well-received by our at-home makers. She also launched a new Bluprint class on Swing Skirt Techniques and Construction, with two new classes scheduled for 2018.
The Factory Store and Café worked together to do even more outreach in our community, participating in local events like the College Street Farmers Market. The café expanded in several ways this year—increasing catering options, adding new menu items, like the popular Factory Burger, new salad dressings, and more seasonal vegetable dishes. We are also developing educational programming in the culinary arena, with workshops this year on knife skills, tailgating, pasta making, and a fermentation class led by Harvest Roots. We welcomed both Lucy Buffett and Jamie DeMent to celebrate their respective cookbook releases and we continued our popular Friends of the Café dinners, featuring Scott Peacock, Ashley Christensen, and Asha Gomez, and a Fall Harvest Supper with our café chef Ray Nichols. (We will be announcing our 2018 Friends of the Café lineup in January, so stay tuned.) Our First and Third Monday gatherings became First and Third Tuesdays, and we now also celebrate Antipasti Mondays as we continue to receive café visitors from around the world.
In September, we launched our new website and have, over the course of the year, streamlined our practices—cross-training employees, improving processes, and promoting efficiency. We have focused on celebrating our talented team’s work and encouraging team building.
We hope that all of you have found some meaning in our new developments, Journal posts, and innovations. As we continue to expand and honor who we are as a company, we are grateful for each of you. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2018.