Top 30 Under 30: Congrats Alexander J. Soler

Congratulations to our founder! We always remember you for all your hard work!

Alexander J. Soler, the original founder of Urth Apparel back in 2013, was recently recognized as one of Fashion’s Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs by Apparel Magazine.

We couldn’t be more proud!

Top 30 Under 30 Alexander J. Soler Urth Apparel's Founder Page 1.png

Transcript:

ALEXANDER SOLER

Creative Director

Urth Apparel LLC

Something happened

on the way to pursuing

his career in medicine:

Alexander Soler’s passion

project became a relentless

mission. With one sewing machine in his dorm room at

Harvard, Soler started creating his own fashion line. He

loves medicine, but is also very drawn to art, technology

and sustainability, and interested in the ways they can

intertwine. (Plus, “medical school doesn’t allow you to talk

about Murakami’s art,” he quips.)

Because he already had some experience working in the

field of organic food, (and an undergrad degree in business

administration from UC Berkeley), Soler had some insights

into how crops of all types could be damaging to the earth,

and he wanted to grow a business that did no harm, while still

offering sustainable product at “conventional” prices. That’s

a pretty big goal for a medical student, but Soler is quite a

determined person.

“I’ve seen some people work hard in my life, but few as

hard as Alex,” says Urth executive director Robert Portal.

“He is the first one in and the last one out.” But that’s just his

character, he says. “He is humble enough to build a great team

and treats each of us like family.”

Urth Apparel wasn’t Soler’s original plan, yet what started

in a dorm room five years ago has grown into a business

spanning three continents and hundreds of customers. Urth

Apparel, which helps other businesses bring their designs to

life with sustainable sourcing and manufacturing services,

initially expanded to a factory in Irvine, Calif., and then one

in Lima, Peru, and added a design and product development

office in Italy. A yarn spinning facility and textile mill are also

in the works in Peru, which will make Urth almost completely

vertical. (Soler hopes one day to own his own cotton fields.)

Soler expects tech to revolutionize fashion and

thinks that very few apparel companies have yet to

harness it effectively. “We’re going to see the complete

democratization of fashion design as the technological

revolution continues: 3D design, fabric printers, a data

boom. The individual will dictate what they want to wear.

... Textiles are getting ‘smarter’ and technology is going to

change the way we interact with our clothing.”

Urth is trying to keep up with the curve. The company is

chock full of scientists and textile engineers who will “take

on any garment,” and serves a range of clients, from high-end

retailers in Europe and North America to smaller boutiques

and start-ups. “We can do everything from one to 100,000,”

says Soler, “and we give every customer and product the same

apparelmag.com NOV/DEC 2017 15

quality and precision, whether it’s 30,000 units or 300 units

per color per style.”

Urth Apparel is about sustainability of planet — organic

cotton, safe dyes — but it’s even more about sustainability of

people. The most challenging but also best part of the business

is the human element, Soler says. He sees each employee as

a valuable individual and crucial member of the team with

much to offer. “A lot of people think a t-shirt is made entirely

by a machine, but it’s not. It’s humans. It’s the precision, quality

and commitment of the people.”

Soler says he learned a valuable lesson from one of his

longtime product developers, Martina Cafaro: “You can’t

pay people to care.” So he seeks passionate individuals, and

he’ll take it from there. What does that look like? It’s training

people to sew, it’s giving loans for families in need, it’s

providing daycare and even living quarters.

When Soler launched the business in Peru, he traveled four

hours each way on a city bus with his workers to understand

the struggle they went through to get from home to work and

back, and then set up a private bus to save transit time and

give them more time with their families.

He may be under 30, but Soler has managed to learn the

secret to strong companies: it’s the people. “Anything can

come from anyone, anywhere, anytime,” he says. What’s

needed, he says, is to free people from the stress of meeting

daily needs, to give them an opportunity to take ownership of

the business, and to give them space to pursue their passions.

On every level, “sustainability has to evolve in this

industry,” he says. “Suppliers will have to care, and they

don’t. Outside of the tiny bubble in the highest ethical or

entrepreneurial circles in fashion, there’s not a lot of regard

for doing things the right way. We feel the sky is the limit and

we won’t stop until we get there as a team,” he says. For Soler,

a quote from Peruvian military hero Francisco Bolognesi

Cervantes best sums it up: “Lucharemos hasta quemar el

ultimo cartucho — We will fight until the last cartridge!”

— Jordan K. Speer

The Entrepreneur Series

Hi Ürthlings!

Welcome to our Entrepreneur Series! These posts will share some key elemental information so you can become the master of all garment! Exciting isn't it? We love seeing our clients succeed and we want the same for you!

*Should you have any additional questions, we also offer consulting services so you get all the ammunition you need in order to take that first step!*

Fashionably Ürs - 

 

 

How to Start a Fashion Brand 101: Build a Great Team

 

Creating a fashion brand is unlike creating any other business: you have a passionate creativity that dreams a dozen per minute and you know the people from LA to New York would wear your design.  The question is?  How do I make my new product become a reality?

 

With the advent of social media and today's "always-online" tech toys, the stimulation doesn't stop.  All the imagery we see and everything that surrounds us only fuels that creation.  Yet, since the majority of us do not cut and sew fabric everyday, we don't know where to start, leaving us to feel:

 

What good though are all those creative visions, without an amazing team who can help you make your vision become a reality? 

 

As obvious as it may seam, we all need a team. No matter how skilled, you need a special team of special human beings. Now, the question begs: what kind of team?  

 

Whether it is by hiring staff, outsourcing to an expert, or choosing a vertically integrated factory, you need a team behind your brand.

 

To develop a simple line, you will certainly need a product development team that covers the roles of a:

- Fashion Designer

- Technical Designer

- Sourcing Agent

- Pattern Maker

- Cutter

- Sample Sewer

- Quality Control Specialist

 

Rome wasn't built in a day and most of us can't build our team in one day either!  So, while you work really hard to launch your new venture, consider these options to help you surround yourself with a winning team.

Don't worry. There are options:

  • Find a Full Package Manufacturer - They will handle all steps for you, from A-Z like a one stop shop.
  • Go to Your Local University and Hire a Young Up and Comer!
  • Post Job Listings online to build your team of specialists.
  • Contract out your work on an hourly or part-time basis to independent contractors. - Just make sure they love what they are doing as much as you do!  Otherwise, your project might just end up another sales item on their quickbooks!

Whatever the choice, you need to begin building your team today!  Build the best team you can find and always remember to work alongside you team, not in above or below:

 

Hire smart people not so you can tell them what to do, but for them to tell you what to do! 

 

Good luck and go for it!  Start your brand today and watch the dreams come true, if you're willing to put in the hard work! 

Ü Knitting Initiative - A Collaboration with a Peruvian Artisan Artist

December 5, 2017

Hello Urthlings!

Today I interviewed the founder of the newly established Ü Knitting Initiative and she gave me some amazing information regarding her cause. Read on below!

Teresa studied sociology in school and loved artisanship.

She has widely participated with designers and textile engineers all over Peru until deciding to settle in Puno.

Teresa, through her experience and contacts, has been carefully organizing over 300 women specializing in artisan products making a wide variety of products to be exported.

She endures the brutal conditions year after year at 3,800m above sea level, all to make this network grow!

At the moment, she works with about an average of 30 to 50 women who come from a different background in different communities associated with manual labor for different companies. Teresa helps training them and to give the technical development and general education since they come mainly from farming communities where they either had no desire to learn a new trade or they worked for multinationals who did not share any training or information to promote their well-being.  

 

The following picture shows Teresa with her son and some of the products she has made. This showroom will be revamped and have an area in our new 2018 Showroom being established here in Peru.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 5.12.13 PM.png

 

Part of the new initiative from our part and hers is to promote the well-being of women in the industry as well as empowerment of learning a new trade. We found this avenue, thanks to our clients' interest in knits and women's rights, so we thank them for being a part of it!

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 5.12.26 PM.png

Here you can see Teresa performing a training session with her collaborators.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 5.12.34 PM.png

We look forward to keep collaborating with Teresa and her wonderful cause!

 

Cheers! 

A Gateway to Sustainable Manufacturing

Welcome to the blogging world of Urth Apparel, your one-stop shop for all your apparel sourcing, product development, and production needs. Our mission to help you drives us everyday:

 
Making quality, efficient, and environmentally sustainable manufacturing easy and accessible to designers big & small.
— The Urth Team
 

You’re about to enter a new world as you launch a new brand or continue to grow your business.  We hope this blog and all of it’s future posts provide you with insight, wisdom, and knowledge that help you succeed in the world of apparel manufacturing and sustainability.   

Check back daily for new tips & tricks that will help you become the next best-selling brand or, at least, a greener citizen of our global community.  

Thanks for following us and supporting our mission.  We look forward to helping you!

- The U Blog

Follow Us Today