They are a husband and wife best known for their outstanding consultancy services. Now Roberto and Colleen Crivello of FDS are also involved in the manufacturing side.
Federation Design Studio, or FDS, a three-year-old full service creative consultancy based in New York, takes its motto “Commerce and Creativity” very seriously. As its two co-owners, the husband-and-wife team of Roberto and Colleen Crivello, point out, they will help clients create products that end-users will buy but said goods must also be innovative and of the highest quality. “Our version of newness is not craziness. It is newness that will sell,” explains Roberto. Colleen adds: “We had someone come here who said, ‘I just want to do some crappy little bag. Can you just turn that out for us?’ And we said, ‘Um, that’s not we do.’ We just can’t put something out there that isn’t 100%.”
The studio’s services have always included brand narrative development, creative direction, design (for progressive apparel, accessories and textiles), development and design for retail, trend forecasting and sourcing for clients but now it is offering a new one: production–and actual Made in USA production at that.
In September 2013 the Crivellos officially partnered with a factory owner in El Paso, Texas to create FDS Factory at his building. A 50-50 partnership between FDS and the Texan, the facility specializes in making premium leather and wovens for menswear, womens’ wear and accessories and is particularly adept at producing jeans wear. It employs 35 people and can produce up to 5,000 jeans and 10,000 pieces of leather per month.
“Since we opened our factory last September you cannot imagine the names–I cannot say them because we never name specific clients–but they are some of the biggest American companies and they are coming to us saying that they want to push the made in America movement. The Made in America is going to be a huge, huge happening,” says Roberto. He adds: “What we are offering is a premium service. We are not just sewing Dickies pants. We are sewing a premium product. When we partnered with our guy in El Paso we had to teach them [what to do] and now our product is on par with all these Italian and Japanese factories.”
He says that FDS Factory now works with about a dozen clients and while he’s keeping their names–and that of their business partner–confidential to protect their privacy, he does say “the biggest fabric mill in America is working with us to develop all their salesmen’s samples” and that there are a few Japanese brands on board that appreciate the Made in America aspect. He adds that the facility “is full for the next two months.”
While FDS Factory does not have onsite capacity for washing, printing and embroidery, those steps are carried out at other nearby plants, which helps keeps the turnaround time for prototypes as short as one to two weeks. Prices are “extremely competitive” adds Colleen.
Roberto, who began his career in the 1980s working at the legendary Genius Group in Italy and later went on to found DDCLAB, a now shuttered consultancy that also designed and produced its own men’s and women’s collection, says adding manufacturing to FDS’ menu of services was something of a business no-brainer since it now allows the company to act as a full service vertical operation that can handle everything from design to production. “We get things done whether it is design or manufacturing,” he says proudly. “We make things happen.”