MADE IN NYC // A Factory Thrives in Greenpoint
By Bob Bland
With Dynotex Ltd Owner, Alan Ng
Dodging traffic across McGuiness Blvd in the industrial section of North Brooklyn was worth the effort to visit Greenpoint Design and Manufacturing Center, the granddaddy of all NYC’s incubators. Incorporated in 1992, this visionary group of repurposed factory buildings are home to over 300,000 sq ft of industrial space, 100 small businesses and 500 artisanal workers.
Inside the Factory
We had the rare opportunity to tour the apparel manufacturing operation of Alan Ng, whose company Dynotex Limited was founded 13 years ago in the Garment District of Manhattan, and moved to GDMC in 2003. Dynotex is a good choice for independent designers who need small runs because they provide quality woven & cut-and-sew production, cutting, patternmaking and grading- all in one 5,000 sq ft
facility. Throughout the interview we could tell that Mr. Ng is proud of his employees and facilities,answering every question and demonstrating totally transparency while walking us through the garment making process. Designers should allow 8 weeks of lead time and order 100 pieces per style for the best pricing, though smaller orders and rush jobs are accepted, as time allows. The biggest advantage of producing locally is that easy communication & ability to visit the factory floor ensures that designers
can make better fitting & higher quality garments that are true to their original intention.
Fashion is not an automated process, and whether in a Brooklyn sample room or a huge Shenzhen factory, every aspect is done by hand. To produce locally at a competitive price, “…the designs have to be novel, and everything has to be high-quality,” said Mr. Ng.
The public transit system is crucial for manufacturing workers, who might be traveling from outer boroughs where housing and living expenses are less costly, to the factory. Dynotex has struggled with this in the Greenpoint Design and Manufacturing Center, which is only serviced by the G train. They even arranged shuttle buses to the factory for a while, because Greenpoint transit is so difficult. The Labor Department of the US government does strict examinations to ensure quality work conditions,
reasonable hours and wages, and no one can bring work home. One of the biggest challenges is the overhead- because of regulations and high NYC rental costs, $.21 of every dollar goes to the government. Despite these difficulties, Dynotex has thrived- retaining 65% of the factory employees for eight years or more. Based on my experience, this is a much better turnover rate than most design houses.
Why Buy American?
"People still buy clothes made in Italy at a much higher price [versus made in China]," said Mr. Ng, and that statement raised a good point: why exactly should people buy American, and how do we build “Made in America” back into an internationally-loved brand? Our fabric selections are usually much better quality, and the process is artisanal, not mechanical. NYC designs are often cutting-edge, our graphics & street style unparalled. But we can’t just rely on the consumer to look at the label and
buy locally because it’s “the right thing to do”. As an industry, we can cut waste and make apparel manufacturing in NYC affordable by only producing the most interesting and sought-after designs, on less frequent production cycles, taking the time to educate buyers, retailers and customers on what a USA-made purchase really means and why its so valuable.
About Dynotex Inc:
236 Greenpoint Avenue
Building #6 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Phone: (718) 532 9068