Nonprofit of the Month: FABRIC Tempe

The Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC) Tempe is a fashion-focused space that provides everything from training and guidance, to innovative industry resources and manufacturing options that enable creatives to develop their sustainable fashion businesses domestically. 

The public social cooperative enterprise works primarily with private industry, local government and nonprofits to support apparel entrepreneurs. Last year, when COVID-19 struck the U.S., the organization quickly pivoted to help support those struggling most with the realities of the pandemic. As a result, FABRIC partnered with local donors, including the Flinn Foundation, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy, Tempe Innovation Development Association, Thunderbirds Charities, BHHS Legacy Foundation, Silicon Valley Bank, PCA Skin, AZ Community Foundation and AZ Bio, to transform its space into a hub for manufacturing PPE when pandemic-related shortages were widespread.

Recently, FABRIC and those operating within the organization’s facility during the pandemic–including AZ Fashion Source, Falcon Engineering, Wulff Contracting, On Point Manufacturing and Katchina Apparel Manufacturing–have collaborated to make 500,000 FDA-approved, reusable, level 2 and 3 isolation gowns for medical professionals, which can be worn and washed 100 times.

“With 500,000 gowns produced to date, the reusable gowns have kept 50,000,000 disposable gowns out of landfills,” says Sherri Barry of AZ Fashion Source and cofounder of FABRIC. 

Beyond the sustainable successes and the ability to support medical professionals, the advanced manufacturing efforts have also helped to provide hundreds of essential manufacturing jobs. Additionally, proceeds from the gown sales made by AZ Fashion Source have been donated back to FABRIC Tempe. 

Long-term, the organization aims to build upon this work in a way that establishes Arizona as a modern fashion industry capital by creating a tech-based, sustainable, closed loop ecosystem that attracts and supports direct-to-consumer apparel brands. 

For more information, please visit www.FABRICTempe.com.

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