Welcome to the Factory Tour. Here, we take you inside the manufacturing facilities of our favorite brands and reveal how the clothes we buy are actually made. Next up is Universal Wash and Dye in North Hollywood, California. Serving designer labels, streetwear brands and film studios for 30 years, it is also home to his high-end streetwear brand, Vintage Souls, founded by the owner’s daughter.
Self-proclaimed valley girl Danielle Brown grew up in the apparel industry but didn’t foresee starting her own apparel brand, especially not in the middle of a pandemic. It seemed inevitable.
About 30 years ago her parents opened what is now Universal Wash & Dye. It quickly became a go-to resource for many Los Angeles denim brands, including early staples like True Religion and Rockstar. (Washing and dyeing are what give denim its feel and color.) Much like Browns, the expansion of dye factories involved a bit of luck or confusion, depending on how you look at it.
“My mom started getting business from TV shows, movie sets and wardrobes and thought we were part of it. Universal “She didn’t even know we had a way into that industry..a thriving new sector of the business was born. Today, her mother, Margo Brown oversees all custom work for films and television. – Tour costumes for stars such as Swift.
It was also her mother who helped her business progress through the globalization of the apparel industry. Globalization has led brands to move manufacturing, including dyeing operations, overseas to developing countries in order to reduce costs. “what [my mom] I realized that in China, we don’t really have the same ability to make novel dyes,” Brown says.
The fashion side of the business is overseen by his father, David Brown, but current clients include gallery division Nahmias and, since October 2019, Brown’s own label, Vintage Souls.
A few years before that, Brown embarked on a different path in the fashion world. He was completely disconnected from the family business. In 2012, he launched his own online boutique. Things went well at first, but after a few years, competition in the mount industry made the decision to close the shop. Until recently, she ran her family business full-time and oversaw sales.
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“I feel like my life is over in providing services. I have always seen firsthand how difficult and challenging this industry can be,” she says. She therefore had some hesitation in starting her own brand, but she eventually got “tired of designing for other people all the time.”
“I was like, ‘You know, knitwear, I’ve never really done it, but I think you can understand it with all the connections we have through the dyers.'”
Timing alone compels us to tie Brown’s story to the ongoing “Nepo Baby” discourse. Growing up in her family-owned dye shop definitely helped her make clothes, but it didn’t. Enough to fund an entire brand. Vintage Souls started as a small side business selling her one-off merchandise on Instagram using special washes and dyeing techniques that manipulated the look and feel of vintage t-shirts. One day, Brown decided to design her own shirt from start to finish. This includes a custom her graphic with the phrase “Souls on fire” in rhinestones. Good luck came here.
“I had no sales. It was a little thing I was doing on Instagram. Free People emailed me. A buyer apparently saw a ‘Souls on Fire’ shirt on Instagram.” “She said, ‘It was so coincidental that I had to contact you.'” The retailer said. , launched a small test order of shirts that sold out in a day.
Since then, Free People has played a key role in helping Vintage Souls grow into a full-fledged brand. A retailer wanted to support a small, woman-owned business and asked if Brown could still produce. Manufacturing respirators allowed Universal Wash & Dye to remain an essential business.
From there, Brown grew the brand only as far as Free People’s interests allowed. “We just started making basics. We started with joggers, crewnecks, hoodies…” – All loungewear is perfect for your sedentary lifestyle in 2020. In October of that year, the brand presented its first collection. This caught the attention of Fred Segal, who bought the brand, allowing Brown to hire his first hire, a production manager.
Three years later, Vintage Souls was a team of three working out of an office attached to Universal Wash & Dye, and Brown focused on Vintage Souls full time. Campus-like operations almost always sign with a pink front door or the tagline “We dye it for you.”
The facilities themselves may not all reflect the casual appeal of a cool apparel brand like Vintage Souls, but through innovative laundry techniques, proprietary dye developments, and more, they literally bring such a brand to life. can stand out. Keep scrolling to find out what’s going on inside Universal Wash & Dye, as well as some of the freshest designs Universal Wash & Dye has to offer.
Here in the spray booth, garments are placed in inflatable molds and sprayed with dyes and other treatments. Brown begins the tour by showing how the special new “Crackle” design is achieved.
This pair of joggers have already received the first part of treatment. “We basically dye the garment and do it in one big batch. Then one by one, we basically dip it in clay. Then we hang it up, put it in the sun, Let it dry overnight, and when it’s dry, break it up so that the pieces fall off, and you’ll get these natural veins through the crevices.”
“Then spray another dye color over the top while the clay is still there, and it will seep through the cracks and wash it again.”
After washing the jogger pants, hang them to dry.
Here is the final result!
Reception area with undyed clothes.
Marble dye tank in use. “Basically, when you fill it up, it’s this thick, foamy liquid. Then you put the color you want in there, and it swirls. Then you take your clothes, soak them, paint We had to do it by hand before we got these.”
A vintage soul garment using the marble dyeing technique.
Garment dyeing machine in use.
Garment dyeing machine, open.
Stone wash machine (yes, with real stone).
A panoramic view of the washing and dyeing room.
Mineral/acid wash room with recently dyed clothes.
A new dye under development in the laboratory.
Coating/pressing machine. “We can do heat transfer…we did a really cool snakeskin print on top of the knitwear.
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