Making Masks Gives Purpose To New Fashion Team

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Bobby Ahn, President/CEO of New Fashion
Bobby Ahn used to be a dentist, with a dual degree in DDS/MBA, when he took a year off hoping to turn around the family manufacturing business.
This year, New Fashion is celebrating its 42nd year in Los Angeles. Despite its long history, this is not the first time the factory has been rocked by economic struggles. In 2000, the family was forced to briefly shut down the LA facility until they adapted the business. They started offering full package denim and included design, pre-production, technical design, quality, working capital, and finished goods shipping.
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In 2007, New Fashion experienced its highest year of revenue. That was until the recession hit. They were forced to pick up pieces again, but this time with lessons learned from 2000, flexibility, product diversification, and resourcefulness.
The pace of the COVID-19 crisis forced New Fashion to shut down within a matter of 24 hours. Bobby had to furlough 90% of his employees on the Friday ‘Safer at Home’ began. Pre-Crisis he employed 70 people, sewing operators who had been with him 10 years plus. Since being deemed an essential business with the capability of producing protective equipment, he has been able to reopen and bring back 36 of his operators. Here is where flexibility comes back in. The fashion apparel business has come to a standstill. But if Bobby can get his factory’s mask and gown capacity up, within 2 to 3 weeks he may be able to bring back all his employees plus more.
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Different from previous struggles, New Fashion is now motivated by a greater sense of purpose. “Everyone is on the same page, there are no additional pressures from suppliers, lenders, or employees. Everyone we work with understands we are all in this together,” said Bobby. The staff knows “the product they are making now has an extra level of importance. It’s not business as usual.” They know it is “critical that we get the product out as quickly as possible.”
Before New Fashion’s mandate to make protective equipment, there was an “enormous amount of fear and uncertainty.” The new mandate has made the sewing operators extremely happy to be “able to provide such an important service in addition to going back to work.” There is a sense of relief.
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Bobby’s one year off from dentistry turned into 20. Here at Lucky Brand, we are honored to be part of the journey with Bobby and the New Fashion Team making non-medical masks. And we are excited to offer protective masks to our customers and community to slow the spread. Stay safe and healthy!
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