How T-Shirts Are Made In America | From The Ground Up

today we made it into downtown LA home
of the fashion district where creative entrepreneurs brands and businesses come
to shop and sell the latest styles now whether you guys are consumers or
actually in the fashion industry chances are you’ve seen rolls of fabric like
these which actually go on to become the products that you wear now virtually
every brand and business gets their start with a simple t-shirt crew neck
and hoody and more importantly is a very interesting fact is they don’t actually
manufacture the products themselves in fact a lot of the times are being
manufactured in large facilities so as a consumer you need to know that you have
the option and the choice to impact the world at large
by the businesses that you’ll go on to support so in this video I want to peel
back some layers and actually show you guys how products are created on a mass
level and I thought it’d be really interesting to start with how these
fabrics are actually made cotton the most popular fabric in the world is
created from the ground up before being made into the fabrics you wear it begins
in the field where it has grown and picked by industrial equipment and
shipped to be processed during the processing stage the cotton is cleaned
up removing impurities and then the soft fluffy cotton you see becomes a strong
fiber the process here is designed to create combed and ring spun cotton that
has a softer feel this type of fabric goes through an innovative spinning
process that’s designed to thoroughly soften and straighten each fiber the
strands will then tightly knit and woven together to create a raw fabric that is
now strong enough to be worn next time you’re choosing a shirt take a look at
the fine details to see this for yourself
once the fabric is completed and then gets transported to a dye house where
the fabric is dyed to the color specified by the manufacturer the
process we’re showing you here is unique to Bella canvas which is the largest
cutter and dhyryam apparel in America we take you guys inside of the state of the
art facility to show you what it takes to make quality apparel for millions of
people all over the world as you see once this fabric is dyed it gets
transported as these fabric rolls which are then laid out across large
cutting tables the fabric is stacked up to a hundred and fifty layers before it
being mass cut inside of this factory they cut three million units a week and
I personally always wanted to see how these machines layout the fabric so
let’s take it out for a spin what’s the worst that can happen so right out of
the gate there’s this machine here and it has like all of these different
settings and I see this little this thing so I could just move this and it
works I’m going to reverse though huh let’s let’s crank this thing up but the whole thing my privado I messed up this fall
I dig I think I did a bad job that’s that’s that’s bad huh – push the button
there that is odd this buddy right here tightens up the rope
shameless crap okay I’m gonna try it again how much right right
you know at first glance these machine seemed to move themselves but what I
found out is that it actually requires some skill in order to tighten the
tension of the fabric as it’s being laid out the faster you go the faster that
trigger fingers got to be in order to keep up once the fabrics are laid out
the cutting machine arrives to cut the fabric in the shape of the required
design this is the cutting machine that essentially takes all the digital
patterns that are created during the design stage and they input it into the
software which allows this machine to just automatically cut the panels which
are then shipped to the facilities where they’re going to be sewing right here I
don’t know if you guys can see the screen but it’s literally showing you
where it’s going to be cutting next and as it’s cutting it’s actually vacuuming
the entire operation so it vacuums that in order to make sure that the seal and
the fabrics lay very flat so there’s no differences when it’s actually cut these
robotic cutting machines ensure every single piece is cut precisely as it
follows a designer’s blueprint keep in mind not every factory has something
like this these machines make it possible to get a consistent fitting
shirt every single time once the panels are cut they are placed on carts and
move to the next part of the process and so just wanted to take you guys behind
the scene here as we as we show you guys where this fabric is
going before it’s being sewn and it got my boy Brett got the man see
right over there but guys an interesting thing that we saw here is as you can see
right here these are actually not moving so it makes you wonder how is that
moving right so I wanted to show you guys something really quickly here in
between these lines here there’s actually lasers so there’s a laser
guided system that actually brings the fabric as soon as it crosses a path it
activates the new beams here so let’s check this out
moving not moving and moving haha check this out go check this out
bring the camera a little closer moving not moving and moving yeah this is how
the fabrics are transported in masses in order for them to be bundled and finally
cut so what oh you would have thought these
two crashed right now but they didn’t because of the way that everything is
being automated and I feel that automation in the sewing process and in
the manufacturing facilities such as this that’s based in Los Angeles with
American workers it’s it’s the way well it really is the way of the future and
companies like Bella canvas are able to still produce a USA strong while being
able to sew in different countries and put out a quality product so this is the
way that things are moving and like this fabric let’s get moving over to the
bundling stage we can show you guys how that works
so these fabrics back here as you guys can
is the bundling machine so it’s it’s making sure that the fabrics are safe as
they’re being transported to the next facility which actually does the selling
them investing into these types of logistics allows them to keep a quality
product from the beginning all the way until it’s done the scale of this
operation is huge guys and as you guys can see from the forklifts to the
cutters to everybody that’s that’s a part of this operation it really is
something that requires a huge investment in the production as well as
the logistics and the team behind it thousands of people are employed here in
order to get this to actually work so you could imagine that it’s it’s easier
to cut corners than it is to do things right so when a company invests in doing
things the right way it really makes a difference in the market and it really
makes a difference in the world with rap fabric ready to be transported these
containers play a logistical role in transporting materials needed for
various parts of the production process globally these containers travel and
carry mass quantities of gray’s goods which come from all over the world
which are then dyed in an eco-friendly way in Los Angeles a fun fact is that
the USA China and India produce over 50% of the world’s cotton this business
chooses to die unprocessed fabric in Los Angeles in order to reduce the
environmental impact commonly associated with Daiya fabrics in other parts of the
world once they are cut and dyed the majority the production is transported
to Central America where they are sewn up and shipped back to the US a
fulfillment center since we know how fabric is being dyed and transported for
production we are wondering how they ensure the sewing factors are taking
care of their people and environment we spoke with Xavier to get the details you
know Bella canvas is making sure that every factory that is part of our supply
chain is 100% certified by ara which is a certification that is granted to
companies that are fully in compliance with labor laws and regulations in the
different countries where we operate the efforts that we made to make sure that
you know the workers that are part of our supply chain are being treated
fairly not only in terms of other compensation also but you know all the
social benefits that they receive recently we were approve also to become
a participating company with the Fair Labor Association which is like at the
gold standard for our industry we are in the process of certifying the entire
supply chain is a it’s a lengthy process and it will take some time but
eventually the company will be fully activated with the VFL a North America
is made up of multiple Latin American countries and although sewing also
occurs outside of the USA Bella canvas promotes a USA strong initiative which
employs thousands of workers in the USA while also producing a line of apparel
that is made here in the Los Angeles facility so as you guys to see right
here in this sewing factory they have literally over a hundred and fifty
employees skilled employees actually sewing the t-shirts in right here as you
guys can see on this stack these are the cup panels we were showing you guys
earlier more importantly I just wanted to share with you guys some of my
thoughts in and some of the things that happen in the factories such as this the
skill that’s required to actually do a job like this so this is my man Felix
right here and I won’t I won’t disturb his work that much but as you guys can
see it requires very skilled thought so with that being said a lot of workers
actually only do one part of every garment which then goes on to the next
person to complete it and funny enough to show you guys like how difficult it
might be my brother actually over here my brother actually knows how to sew and
we were discussing like hey are you okay so you’re already making excuses do you
think you can do it or not alright so Felix get a mpirica ladder
como la so this machine is like it’s this is a Pegasus w6
and it’s very beefy so they have two needles so right out of the gate we see
that there’s there’s a reason why workers are actually focusing on one
task so there’s a lot of little pieces to the garment and if you were to try to
sew everything yourself you’d probably screw up the entire shirt or a won’t be
as efficient so my brother Caesar here is is skilled in this if I were to try I
would have probably lost my finger but look at this guy he’s actually doing it what’s going on here guys you’re holding
up my line we got it good thank you guys for bringing us behind the scenes here
and our that my brother slowed down the production line now you have to get can
yeah but but overall you guys seem to be running a really tight ship how many
units do you think about the canvas is producing on on any given day so about a
week we’re showing about three million units three million t-shirts so the
average of about 600,000 teachers per day oh yeah that’s crazy
but what would you say is like is one of the things that the workers here need to
have in order to be successful in this career how many years have they been
sewing for so some of these people have been working with us from the beginning
so about you know 10 15 years they’ve been here it’s people that I come here
every day they’re being they’re been here ever since at the beginning you
know what type of fulfillment do you think
they find in the sewing do you think they need to have a passion to work in a
factory like this you definitely have to you definitely have to enjoy it
but as you can see everybody comes in here and everybody’s pretty happy you
know not sad faces yeah yeah it’s definitely something that it’s part of
our culture now you know we’re a big family
what’s the products are sown they undergo a quality control process that
ensures every t-shirt meets their test it’s pretty crazy to see that there are
real people working on every single t-shirt that you wear so this is one
that passed the test right here yeah this is one that can go out to a
customer yeah definitely ready to go and I think that’s the beauty of like what a
lot of people don’t get to see is the fact that even though things are being
mass-produced there’s real people are like handling
you’re populating it and there’s real love that goes into it or a real passion
you got to have a passion for sewing and you got to have a passion for this
industry in order to stay in it with what 15 years yeah so it’s a lot of time
and energy that goes into one garment and it’s a lot of people that handle
that one garment yeah it’s about from the beginning to
the end there’s about 13 13 people that but you know the teacher goes through
into it’s completed not counting people into distributions in there yeah
literally hundreds of hands are going into the making of your product that you
get at home and I think a lot of time we do miss the fact that there is a
personal touch to every single garment you guys whether it’s mass-produced or
whether it’s this is could be considered handmade I mean it really is because
somebody’s making it with their hands so with that being said I wanted to leave a
little note here you think I can leave a note in this box yeah there’s like made
with love regardless of whether the finished garments come from their
Central American manufacturing facilities or in LA they ultimately
arrive at the fulfillment center where they are responsible for organizing and
shipping to distributors and brands all over the world many entrepreneurs and
small businesses rely on Bella canvas and suppliers like them to stock t-shirt
blanks that can use to sell their designs now this company doesn’t stay in
business by simply selling random designs and a bigger challenge that they
also have is the fact that they’re selling to customers of all shapes and
sizes so design wise they have to cater to a very large market so
want to go ahead and actually show you guys the behind the scenes of what it
actually takes to design for a mass markets for millions of customers all
around the world and we’re actually going to see how they choose the colors
that are guaranteed to sell through to a large audience let’s check that out man
right out of the gate so this is where you guys do fittings yeah this is our
fit room we spend a few hours a week in here with models and styles and we just
make sure that the styles fit on our base size models the best the best we
can interesting what is so like as I walked
through here I felt like my equilibrium was almost off because it obviously
there’s a sound panel but we’ll the purpose for a sound panel enjoy cool
well no this is actually the Ellsworth Kelly from 1956 it’s a sound barrier
yeah he’s a California abstract painter it’s actually the exactly just absorb
sound like so we’re not bouncing around the room and little easier to tolerate
each other I thought I had like a real like I thought it was a real pain I mean
I don’t think I’d be behind a glass door if that were the case of a real pretty
cool so this is where you guys fit your models because you guys designed for
millions of people different body types all right we did we tried right you try
we’re trying our very best so so how can you walk us through how how you are able
to do that we want to fit on multitude of body shapes and sizes we’ll start
with a base size size medium men’s for instance for a unisex t-shirt 3001 we’ll
start with our men’s medium he’s our basic block and so we start
fitting on him when we have it tuned up the way we like the way it fits the
drape performance will go on to the next size so we’ll fit eventually a full size
run so if there’s a small all the way to like 4 XL let’s say we’ll fit every
single size yeah so we’re trying to take those silhouettes into consideration so
you mentioned earlier that you like to work directly with the manufacturing
team so as a design director how does working with the manufacturing arm make
sure that what you guys are creating is going to be something beneficial for the
world at large working on the ground level just getting to the factory we
have a communication line that help is build product the delicate design
programs that we have we try to make sure that there’s no pieces in between
our sewing and our brains or the to the design vision and the sellers are kind
of on the same page we develop fabrics and samples we send them back and forth
until we alekhya them exactly the way we see them fit in a production setting and
that’s important to us so that’s part of the reason we have that connectivity
tissue between sewing and the design vision is that we close the gap on all
the pieces that would go wrong by seeing each other in person by working together
as a team so far as that this is super detailed process they are very
meticulous about what they do and the whole team is here to make adjustments
in case there’s anything to be done so this isn’t the first sample set that
they had to actually fit this is actually a rendition so what they’re
doing is essentially making sure that it all goes to spec before it hits the mass
production okay so we’re just gonna run through the specs again really quick and
like for instance the shirt I’m wearing this is actually one of you guys is more
later styles so this is something that you and your team came up with yeah so
what what what inspires you for new designs and how do those like how do you
guys kind of maybe make sure that they stay in the market for a while versus it
just being a trend yeah this might be a trend you know it’s a raw edge
transcends like I can’t say this will be in the word forever is very scary
fashion forever don’t really jive certainly so what we’ll try to do is
what I like to see is like make the very best styrofoam cup that you can see at
every single coffee station forever without it leaking it’s keeping its heat
all those other components that the Styrofoam cup would have but ours is a
basic t-shirt we can dress it in skin it in different ways that speak to
different trends like raw edge seam work or pockets out to the side or however we
want to address it the core block that you see is our crewneck sweatshirt which
we feel very comfortable selling to a large community people can buy them
print on them embellish them in that market but in this case they can buy the
normal crew of pullover with raw edges everywhere it’s
may get slightly more trend forward or fashion forward it’s not enough to have
a great designer fit today as consumers we need to ensure that our purchasing
decisions do not support things that are unethical and oppressing others
that’s where businesses such as these are raising the standards by not only
giving people an amazing product but by being transparent and doing things
differently from how they treat their workers to the green initiatives in
place that are minimizing the environmental footprint on the other
hand there are real problems happening around the world with apparel
manufacturing the constant drive to compete on price in order to sell
garments for pennies on the dollar as a resulted in producing in unsafe
environments where buildings are failing and chemicals are being spilled into the
environment the way your favorite products are being made today will
drastically affect the way our world looks like tomorrow now as we wrap up
this video I hope you enjoyed the process that we shared and how to shirts
are made in America as you guys can see this operation is huge and the brands of
businesses that you support also go through a process like this now the ones
that are just getting started the ones in your community that friends and
family are be are actually creating are able to leverage resources such as bela
canvases infrastructure to actually make their brands and businesses without
having to spend the millions of dollars that is required to do something like
this but more importantly as a consumer you have the power to choose the way
that the products are being created you see where you spend your money is what
ultimately is gonna dictate what the market and businesses such as these
create so next time you go shopping or next time you’re about to consider a
brand keep that in mind and more importantly if you guys enjoyed this
type of video I highly encourage that you guys hit that subscribe button right
down below and turn on post notifications for the newest episodes
coming to this channel this is episode 1 of a series that we’re starting in 2020
and I’m pumped to show you guys more things and more importantly to continue
to educate and inspire and empower entrepreneurs brands and a community
such as yourself so I appreciate you guys I’ll see you on the next one

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