The Ash City Fashion Show Event
Last Wednesday, I went to Canada to visit the headquarters of Ash City. The event included a warehouse tour, fashion show, and wine and cheese reception. I learned more than I expected about the process that goes into to creating promotional garments so I wanted to share my new knowledge with you.
The warehouse holds a lab to test all materials for strength performance, color fastness, wicking, snag-resistance and more. Before material is even accepted into the warehouse, all fabric suppliers (most from China) must abide by Ash City's list of chemicals that cannot be used as well as a short list of colors, making importing fabric less of a stress. All tests are done based on American standards of 1 through 5 (5 is the best, 1 is the worst). All rejected materials go back to the fabric suppliers for them to dye again or rework in another way (for example, dye a red shirt black if color is an issue). The time it takes for a material to make its way through the lab is typically 24 to 48 hours, because the daylight simulation process can take from 20 to 40 hours. There is no material that leaves the warehouse that has not been tested and approved by the lab.
We had such an extensive tour of the warehouse that I do not know that I can do it justice in a blog, but I will hit the key points.
1. Ash City takes eco initiatives by recycling used water to water greenery around the property and using 328 watt sleep lights.
2. A whole section of the warehouse is saved for Ash City trade show booths.
3. About 9 million garments are stored in the Richmond Hill warehouse (5 million in Kansas).
4. The machines used to store and move packages in the 60" aisles are wire- and magnet-guided for safety.
5. Ash City decorates 22 percent of the apparel they send out.
6. Orders are shipped within 2 to 3 hours of receiving garments. All garments/orders are checked at least twice before leaving. Adjustments to sizes can be made in the warehouse if need be before the order goes.
7. The warehouse holds a lending library. Distributors can borrow up to 45 garments for 15 days. There is one of every men's and women's style in men's large and women's medium. Different sizes become an order.
8. The Ash City warehouse is the biggest building in Richmond Hill, Ontario. All fire departments and officials in the area have come in to familiarize themselves with the layout in case of a disaster, which probably makes it one of the safest buildings to work in.
The Wine & Cheese Reception
The Ash City wine event in Vegas is legendary in the industry so I felt lucky to attend one in the headquarters. I was able to meet and mingle with the president/CEO, designers, marketing and PR team, and other staff. Pictures of the wine and cheese spread are above. Check out the lovely etched Ash City wine glasses.
The Fashion Show
Ash City employees worked the looks on the runway, making for an energetic show as their coworkers cheered them on. Look here for more information on the line. The two main takeaways for me: mulberry purple (pictured above on the Barcode shirt) and cinched waists. While heather gray has been an industry staple for a while, I really love the Gravity I received in my press goodie bag (also pictured above).