Reinventing Fashion Manufacturing: How ARGYLE Haus and Houman Salem are Transforming LA’s Fashion Scene

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From its early days as a denim and surfwear hub to its current status as a leading force in contemporary design, Los Angeles has played a pivotal role in global fashion. Today, the city is a melting pot of high-end couture, streetwear, and eco-conscious labels.

Yet, it’s not all glitz and glamor – LA’s fashion scene has its challenges, too. Local manufacturers and fashion entrepreneurs constantly wrestle with overseas competition, rising costs, and changing consumer preferences.

Conversely, the rise of digital platforms and a renewed appreciation for locally-made goods have presented fresh avenues. ARGYLE Haus of Apparel, the brainchild of entrepreneur Houman Salem, is right in the center of attention.

Salem’s foray into fashion was far from conventional. From spearheading a number of brands and owning a lingerie store, Salem dove head first into fashion manufacturing. Reflecting on his early days in the industry, Salem reveals that the intimate apparel sector proved to be cost-effective for him.

“My store became unprofitable because I was buying and selling products from other suppliers. Simultaneously, other big brands sold the same goods at cheaper prices,” he shares. “This prompted me to think about what I could do differently.”

The result was ARGYLE Haus – a venture born both out of necessity and the desire to bring something fresh to LA’s fashion industry.

Taking the production process upon himself, Salem hired a team of pattern makers, designers, and seamstresses to create a collection for the store. However, he encountered yet another issue that’s stubbornly plagued the industry for decades: finding a suitable manufacturing partner.

As he visited various factories, Salem was frustrated by the cost overruns and mismanagement he observed. Frustrated but inspired by the potential of local manufacturing, he took matters into his own hands by establishing the ARGYLE factory – an endeavor imbued with a ‘made in America’ philosophy.

“It was about revolutionizing a declining industry while showcasing the true potential of local manufacturing,” Salem reveals. “Overseas manufacturing is common in the fashion industry, yet it’s detrimental for the industry and the overall economy.”

The benefits of keeping manufacturing locally are manifold. According to Salem, many tend to overlook the costs related to shipping and customs clearance, for instance, which can quickly add up and turn into a financial nightmare for budding entrepreneurs.

Simultaneously, staying close to one’s supplier provides a tremendous competitive advantage. “The fashion industry is always concerned about designs being copied. But if you’re near your supply chain, you can create and bring your product to market faster than if you were working with other countries,” Salem says.

Cost-effectiveness is only one reason behind Salem’s support to keep production domestic. This motivation primarily stems from the fact local manufacturing not only gives the economy a boost, helping businesses, regardless of size, to flourish, but it also creates plenty of new job opportunities.

Yet, ARGYLE Haus hasn’t only reshaped the perspective on local manufacturing but has also brought it to the digital age. Recognizing the potential of online platforms, Salem took an industry that was traditionally offline and gave it an online presence. This integration modernizes the fashion manufacturing landscape, making it more accessible and efficient.

As part of this digital revolution, motivated to help aspiring entrepreneurs take their first steps in the industry, Salem launched LA Fashion Startups, which helps anyone who wants to move away from the typical 9-5 grind become a designer and take control over their time and income.

Since its inception, this initiative has launched hundreds of different brands. “We take care of everything from design and website launch to packaging, effectively launching entire brands within four months.”

Yet another distinguishing aspect of ARGYLE is its customer-centric approach that goes beyond manufacturing. The team has honed their ability to fully grasp a brand’s vision and translate it into products that resonate with consumers. “Every design, stitch, and piece of fabric is carefully selected to align with the brand’s identity.”

Over the years, ARGYLE has become a go-to resource for anyone interested in breaking into the fashion industry. With a roster of 30-60 clients at any time, the team continues adapting to the trends, whether it’s the shift towards relaxed or workout-ready apparel.

This adaptability has placed ARGYLE Haus at the forefront of LA’s fashion renaissance. As Salem says, “We listen, we understand, and we create, and we will stay committed to helping the industry thrive.”

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