Inside Fit&Supply with Owner- Courtney Michelle
Fit&Supply creates some of the best quality garments in the United States. Fear of God LA, Wil Fry, Odd Future and G.O.O.D music are among some of their clients they do and/or have produce for. So if you didn't know that before, now you know who makes your precious Fear of God LA. I had this opportunity to ask the owner, Courtney a couple of questions about her business as a clothing manufacturer.
"My name is Courtney . I'm a super regular person trying to follow my own dreams . I own two companies . Fit&Supply which is a product development and management company . I basically bring peoples ideas and visions to life . They present their vision and their creative direction their story , and i make it real . Sourcing the materials , getting prototype samples and patterns made, fittings, I determine the construction and quality of the garment , etc…. from concept to creation, until they have the collection complete and ready for sales and photoshoots.
LA Makers is a manufacturing facility . cut sew, quality control, ship …. you have to come with your fabric , trims , markers, patterns , and PO for us to mass produce the style you need .
There is a lot of steps that go into building a collection before you can manufacture it . Fit&Supply is pre-production consulting and development through hands on execution . La Makers is just a factory that is open to anyone whom is ready to mass develop and has all their ducks in a row …"
When did you start Fit&Supply, and how has that experience been for you?
"I started Fit&Supply just after the 08’ recession smacked america in the face … The company I was working for decided to not ride out the recession and cash out before we started to suffer. After that I was just chilling trying to figure out what was next had a little money saved and honestly was on unemployment …trying to be frugal living on egg whites , mapping out my driving so I didn’t waste gas, smoking half a cigarette at a time , worried as hell where was I going to work , how bad is this recession going to be .. all my homies in “ the industry “ that still had jobs & were working in house for brands started hitting me up , explaining mad people were getting laid off on the development team , and begging me for good pattern makers, fabric mills, manufacturers . I realized that I spent a lot of money and time in trial and error building my network . I worked with a lot of shitty pattern makers, wash houses , cutters etc. before I found the best . So I felt my time and money spent doing all that was worth something .. at first I just started giving my contacts away … then I realized I could legit start a consulting firm with this knowledge … Then there was the other side of it …. I knew a ton of small brands that needed help . but when your a small brand you can’t afford to have a production manager , a sourcing manager , a sample coordinator .. and all the other roles that go into developing the product, the payroll to have that team would kill the brand … So I launched Fit&Supply, a retainer based program that took you through all the stages with a powerful network to create your collection … so instead of having a huge team on payroll in the middle of a recession, you pay a retainer for the duration of the time in which you need help and support … and it worked out .. so here we are today ….. "
How is it working with designers like Jerry Lorenzo and Wil Fry? -just to name a few
"Its cool .. I mean its different when your in my shoes , rather than when your the kid on the internet or instagram… I don’t view these People/ Brands the way the rest of the world does .. to me they are just good dudes I work with that had a dope vision and i got to be apart of it . You know their success came with their brands growth and by branding themselves through the process . So when i met these people . They were just like you and me . Regular people with an idea … their ideas just happened to get a lot of visibility and be super dope and the world grabbed hold of it … I'm very grateful that I have been able to work with all the brands I work with . I think I tend to forget about how the world views everyone cause I’m just in my little bubble over hear working with my crew making clothes … "
I noticed on the Fit&Supply Instagram that you posted pictures of the Yeezy Season 1 show- In particular the vest. What is the story behind that?
"There is not a major story . Obviously I work for a lot of people in that network and quality is really my thing . So the involvement I had was basically construction at the highest level possible. On pieces that are very stylist and specific , I find normal sewers and manufactures really have a hard time catching the vibe .. so its not abnormal that when there is something very specific that it comes down my pipe line for quality and development . Might as well come to me and get it done right than try a million people . thats all . "
What is the most challenging thing as a clothing manufacturer?
"Trying to explain the process. If you don’t do this shit everyday . You don’t get it . Production is a beast . Designers and creative directors.. they don’t get this side of it .. so its a challenge to try to explain things , and the hours … I mean I grind from like 5 am to 8 pm daily , now that I’m getting older I can feel this job taking a toll on my body .. its a challenge … but I know this shit is dope .. and I know I’m so lucky to be able to do this .. … I’m grateful for the challenges though .. I know there is a lot of people who would like to be in my shoes."
Since your company makes so many different styles of clothing, has it changed the way you dress?
"Not at all . I have always been crystal clear on myself . and my vibe .. truthfully .. before I opened the factory .. I cared more about how I dressed .. but when you own a factory .. you start to want to be comfortable cause your literally running all day … my friends tease me now that Mon-Friday I’m in uniform ( Oak Sweats and an acne tee with Nikes or new balances or golden goose on rotation) … and on the weekends Courtney comes back out. I love my kimonos, heavy leather , vintage levi jackets, and my Prada chelsea boots ( that I can’t find anymore ) I have had to have that boot resoled and cleaned so many times over the last 4-5 years LOL . … Its funny people used to question how I dress .. and I don’t think I dress ab-normal .. I think I’m pretty fucking normal .. but I have always loved boots, and drivers .. I love pointing silhouettes .. I mean I’m short and pudgy ha and I’m cool with that honestly . but I have to be mindful not to wear really round object, wear more tailored and pointing pieces to kind of even myself out if you will LOL … I’m always going to do me .. I don’t wear anything I make , to be honest … I look at that shit all day long .. I don’t want to wear it . I love it , admire and respect it .. but I’m over it by the time it becomes cool , because I spend so much time looking at it . "
How has being located in LA effected your business?
"UMMM... I mean .. the garment district of LA is an import place to be if your developing product .. so I mean being here provides business. i imagine there isn’t a lot of brands looking for my service in Lincoln Nebraska if you catch my drift , I mean I’ve never really thought about it … to me I’m a Cali kid .. this is home … I don’t know any different to compare . "
If you have any advice for people style wise, and or looking to design clothing, what would that be?
"Style wise , be yourself , style isn’t something can can be taught or learned its feeling, its an emotion . its a thought process.
For the kids wanting to start a brand. its a risk . follow your dreams but please be smart . it cost a lot of money . Starting a brand is like sitting at the black jack table with your rent … you might loose … "
Special Thanks to Courtney for taking time to answer some questions, and for killing the garment game!
Follow her @Cmox2 /@fitandsupply!