Apparel manufacturing hub to train workers

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
The Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center will move into the third floor above workwear retailer Carhartt Inc.'s flagship Midtown store to train workers in apparel manufacturing, says Tony Ambroza, senior vice president of marketing for Carhartt.

A nonprofit focused on Detroit's emerging clothing manufacturing industry is moving into workwear retailer Carhartt Inc.'s flagship Midtown store.

The Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center is taking over the third floor of the Cass Avenue retail location to train apprentices in sewn trades, combining traditional skills with new technologies. The approximately 12,000-square-foot space also will benefit a worker-owned pilot apparel manufacturing facility in the coming months.

Dearborn-based Carhartt is providing the space for the initiatives at no cost. The company also donated 12 apparel manufacturing machines that the sewing center values at $113,000 — more than the two sewing machines with what Carhartt began producing overalls in 1889.

Perhaps one day the workwear retailer will partner with the apparel manufacturing hub for articles of clothing, said Tony Ambroza, Carhartt chief brand officer.

"By all means, our product team will work with them if we can make them on the third floor and sell them on the first," Ambroza said. "To be able to develop this as a center for excellence in this world is a fantastic accomplishment, and we will work with them to ensure they are successful."