Made in Colorado: Front Range fashions making their mark in apparel industry

"Made in Colorado," a FOX31 news special, airs Saturday, June 22 at 9:30 on KDVR.

DENVER — We’ve all seen those T-shirts and hats sporting the iconic “C” from the Colorado state flag. People all over the world love wearing clothes that come from or represent Colorado. But state flag T-shirts are not the extent of our contribution to the fashion world.

Turns out, Colorado has a budding apparel industry with manufacturers all over the state churning out clothes worn around the globe.

Just visit a warehouse near Denver International Airport and you’ll see a crew cutting, sewing and silk screening shirts, dresses and pants. American Made Apparel Manufacturing is one of several clothing manufacturers that call Colorado home.  For 18 years, they’ve been cranking out clothing for budding designers on the sewing room floor.

“They’re in the middle of sewing up some production pieces for a local business owner who happened to develop her own ‘tween wear, so a lot of boutiques carry her stuff now,” Sunny Kim, the company’s president, told us, describing designs being made for a brand named Olivia Lee.

Maybe it’s not Milan or Savile Row, but believe it or not, Colorado has a vibrant apparel industry.

Saturday at 9:30 p.m., FOX31 is taking a look at clothing dreamed up, designed and — in some cases — made in Colorado. From the LoDo store where they create western shirts worn by everyone from pop stars to politicians, to the foam footwear firm headquartered in Niwot that sparked a shoe sensation. They’ve sold 600 million pairs all over the world. And that’s no Croc.

It isn’t always easy creating fashion in Colorado.

“It’s kind of a rare find for us to be here still and surviving all these years. We’ve been here since 2001,” Kim said.

Shipping costs, rent, wages and finding skilled workers are all roadblocks. But at places like American Made Apparel Manufacturing, they had a dream.

“We took over this business and then just kind of ran with it. We were just freshly graduated (from college). Had the bravery and the gumption to try and do this on our own at that young age,” Kim said.

And now, with every shirt, dress and pair of pants they produce, they’re putting Colorado clothing on the fashion map.

“I’m not sitting here outsourcing to overseas. This is our one location and we really want to cater to the local market and feed the local economy, hire from the local people. And so I really feel like that’s important,” Kim said.

Join us for a fun look at Colorado couture, celebrating the past, present and future of clothing here in our state. “Made in Colorado” airs Saturday, June 22 at 9:30 p.m. on FOX31.

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