For years, talented Atlanta fashion designers were met with a lack of viable resources when trying to produce their signature creations. That void forced local talent to seek facilities elsewhere in order to make their apparel dreams a reality. That’s where Regina Weir and Rosa Thurner enter—they filled that void by developing Factory Girls as a design incubator. Rosa’s background on the fashion retail side gave her insight into the buying aspects, while Regina’s years booking models gave her the insight from designers that helped her understand what it takes to get a designer’s label on a garment. Today, we’re thrilled to feature the Factory Girls as our FACES of Atlanta!
How did you come up with the concept for the Factory Girls?
We saw a void for resources for designers in the Southeast and wanted to offer support. We got counsel from two local designers who really informed us as to their needs and inspired us to want to help talented designers remain in the South and sustain and grow their lines.
Tell us your overall vision for this endeavor. Where do you want to see this go?
We would love to see a true community and industry for fashion thriving in the South. We hope to give a center of gravity to the industry through education, resources and job creation.
What type of resources do you provide for designers?
Product development, a Designer In Residence program, garment-based sewing classes and consulting, as well as showroom services.
Explain the Designer In Residence program.
Designer In Residence is a program that we created to give support and affordable workspace to promising designers. Designers apply to the program, which gives them workspace, machines and dress forms, as well as some consulting and discounts on services. In addition to talent and dedication, applicants must be able to work in the space full time and provide a business plan for their brand. The program is six months to one year.
What are some of the advantages of the collective studio environment?
Collective studios foster a sense of community and an exchange of ideas and resources. Also, the access to the best equipment and in-house pattern and sample makers allows for ideas to come to life more quickly and accurately.
Who have been your biggest mentors, and what advice have they given you?
Megan Huntz and Abbey Glass really gave us the inspiration, as well as informed us as to what designers living in the South need and are lacking. Essentially, they incubated our incubator! Regina’s parents have given us a tremendous amount of support, advice and access to resources that otherwise may have taken us years to gain access to.
What tips would you give a young designer trying to build a brand?
Know your market, learn to sew, make patterns, any skill you can do yourself will allow you to save money and not get taken advantage of. Designing is only a part of the job. You must be involved in branding, promoting, marketing, accounting, sourcing, production and sales.
The Factory Girls studio also offers sewing classes. How did you decide to incorporate education into your business plan?
We realized many people interested in design had no or little foundation in sewing and pattern making. We wanted to offer garment construction-based classes for aspiring designers and a place where students and working designers could expand their skill sets.
What’s been the public response to this curriculum?
Response has been great, and we will be expanding the program over the next year. And we hope to offer workshops and camps in the near future.
What fashion trend are you ready to see disappear?
Do you have any fantasy pieces on your “fashion bucket list”? Something you’d love to own or wear, even just once?
A Chanel suit
When you’re not in the studio, where can we find you around town either shopping, dining or hanging out?
Probably shopping—Henry & June, Billy Reid, Steven Alan, Young Blood, Bill Hallman, Peoples and the showroom at Les Nouvelles
Name three things you just can’t live without, other than faith, family and friends.
Beauty products, our Factory Girls team and beach vacations!
Thanks to Catrina Maxwell, as always, for the beautiful pictures in today’s article!