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Meet Elbert Chang of LAmade in The Fashion District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elbert Chang.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My parents, Jack and Georgia Chang, are immigrants from Taiwan who moved to Los Angeles in the 70’s chasing the American dream. When they first started their careers here, they had to work seven days a week to make ends meet. My mom had a design background and always had the desire to design her own clothes. They soon realized their dreams and opened a clothing store in the early 80’s that had 2-3 employees working with them at the time. She did all the design for the clothing and my father sourced all the manufacturing with factories in DTLA.

As the business started growing, my dad wanted to help other immigrants pursue their own American dream. He decided to open his own clothing factory to create more job opportunities in 1988. As the manufacturing business started to become profitable, we launched our own brand “LAmade” in 2004. We are blessed and grateful for the past 15 years to make the great quality clothing we have always been known for.

I am Elbert Chang and currently on board as CEO. We want to take this foundation and grow into a business that wants to do more than just make a great product. We realize that in order to make a true impact in our community, we need to instill a strong company culture. We do this by embodying our LAmade Mantra so we can inspire others – from individuals to other companies, and eventually to our community.

The LAmade Mantra is not only our core beliefs but is to us what it means to be LAmade. We live and breathe by our Mantra every day as we make each piece of garment with pride and joy:

Live and Love your life
Appreciate who and what you have
Make a difference
Aspire to Inspire
Dream big and never stop
Explore and experience every day

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
While doing any business in LA can be challenging due to the rising cost of labor and overheads in the city, it seems to be more so within the fashion industry.

The garment industry is very labor intensive. Minimum wage has more than doubled since we started 14 years ago.

This is also the reason that many large corporates or chain stores outsource to factories overseas for cheaper labor in order to maximize their profits. Unlike some businesses, we are against practicing fast fashion. There are plenty of reports on companies who pay unfair wages and/or overproduce cheap garments that result in waste harmful to the environment. We pride ourselves in our ability to keep fashion ethical and hope more can join us in this movement.

Despite that roughly only 3% of garments are made in the USA today, we continue to believe in the importance of keeping manufacturing jobs in our hometown and providing employees with a living wage so that they can continue to support their families locally. We started out by making everything 100% in L.A. and will not stop doing so until the end.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the LAmade story. Tell us more about the business.
We specialize in designing and making timeless everyday essentials with an LAmade twist. These classic pieces are made from the finest materials cut, sewn, and finished by our makers of the highest levels of skills.

Most of our garments go through a process called “garment dye”. In general, garment dye is a more expensive, labor intensive, and difficult process for production. However, we have mastered the process throughout the years. Garment dye goes through an industrial wash and launder process which pre-shrinks all the garments and makes them extremely soft and comfortable to wear. Our Tees fit perfectly the first time you try them on and will not change in shape after multiple washes. We believe these are the characteristics and steps necessary in making a high-quality garment.

A friend’s colleague once came up to me after learning that I worked at LAmade, and was really excited to share about her favorite tank purchased from LAmade 7 years ago. She wears it all the time because she is obsessed with the quality and fit. Unlike her other garments, she said her LAmade tank looked and felt the same after multiple years of washes which cost her a little more but was well worth her investment in the long run.

Another customer also recently reached out to our team, asking for one of her favorite top that she originally bought at Anthropologie 13 years ago. She wanted to check what we had in stock for her size so she could buy them in all the colors available!

These are all the inspiring little stories that help us go on regardless how difficult it can sometimes be. We are proud to be 100% ethically made in our Los Angeles family-owned factory and are extremely grateful for the love and support of our employees and customers. Without them, we would have never made it this far and can continue to keep jobs in our own hometown.

What are your plans for the future? what are you planning for- any big changes?
I see the future of LAmade as continuing to:

– inspire our community through our mantra
– inspire the women (and now men!) who shop with us by the manufacturing of quality, elevated basics
– inspire the people behind our brand – the designers, the cutters, the sewers, the finishers by starting to offer personal and professional development opportunities
– inspire ourselves to strive towards more sustainable practices by increasing our environmental efforts

We are honored to have collaborated with like-minded people in our hometown of Los Angeles. They are inspiring companies or individuals that we have worked with in the past few months who are chasing their dreams and truly making a difference in our community. We believe in building these meaningful relationships and spreading the awareness of locally ethical made goods. Whether on a big or small scale, we believe that we all have the power to make a positive impact to the world we live in.

We’ve partnered with Susan Komen in Los Angeles for the last two years in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and plan to continue working with her to help find a cure.

We partnered with local influencers on the start of our #iamLAmade campaign to kickstart this year on what it means to be LAmade.

We collaborated with Sorah Yang, an individual who is chasing her dream of dance and choreography in Los Angeles, while also spreading awareness of ethically made clothes in Los Angeles.
https://lamadeclothing.com/blogs/news/lamade-x-sorah-yang

We collaborated with COMUNITYmade, a shoe company that prides themselves in making their shoes locally and giving back to the community, on our up and coming Holiday shoot.

Pricing:

  • Price range for a Tee is anywhere from $26 – $75
  • Price range for a Dress is $33 – $119

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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