Once the cornerstone of the industrial revolution, the United States’ textile industry began its steady decline in the 1990s, due in part to trade policies such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), which resulted in much of the clothing manufacturing being sent offshore to Mexico, and later China. Today, what is left in America is a high-end niche market dominated by successful companies such as Forest Uniforms, which manufactures its custom-made products in the Flat Iron district of New York City. Forest Uniforms’ ability to successfully maintain its hold in the marketplace can be attributed in part to its qualities as a fully vertical and highly specialized company. Serving department stores, hospitals, security firms, military schools, and other organizations in the New York City area and beyond, Forest Uniforms provides consistently high-quality products marked by enhanced customization to suit the needs of each client. Oftentimes, Forest Uniforms’ patterns are marked, cut, and embroidered one at a time, an unusual practice in these overly mechanized times.
If you are responsible for choosing your company’s uniform, a number of factors play a role in determining the final decision.
For example, make sure to choose uniforms that can withstand the conditions of the workplace. Do the uniforms need to repel spills? Who will be washing the uniforms? If left to the employees, you probably want fabrics that feature wrinkle-resistant properties. If the company washes the uniforms, then the fabric must be able to last through repeated industrial launderings.
How often will the uniform be worn? Alternatively, how many different people will be wearing the same uniform? Uniforms used for the short term may not need to be made of higher quality fabric. On the other hand, if the uniform will be worn repeatedly, or is expected to last through a number of employees, then durability will be an important factor. Make sure your investment in this category matches your long-term needs.
About Forest Uniforms: Located in the Flat Iron District of New York City, Forest Uniforms is the predominant uniform manufacturing firm in the city.
The idea of a soldier without a uniform seems alien to most Americans today, and indeed, the military uniform has been in existence far longer than our country. While some isolated examples of military uniforms existed in antiquity, the practice did not become common until the standing armies of the modern period were established. Prior to the advent of large national armies, the majority of troops were either retainers of a noble family or mercenaries, and standardized uniforms were not in use, although identifying standards or colorful accessories were often used to help soldiers distinguish between their comrades and enemies.
The modern idea of the uniform arose in the late 17th century, when Sweden’s Karl XI instituted a uniform code for his army. Early uniforms were typically designed to present an impressive display of force, but the fashions of the period frequently caused problems. King George IV of England, for example, clothed his life guard in such tight uniforms that they were unable to practice with swords. Here in the United States, the Continental Congress gave George Washington’s army the power to create a standardized uniform, but the money to clothe the entire military did not exist until after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. America’s armies have been uniformed ever since.
About Forest Uniforms:
Forest Uniforms has provided clothing for employees throughout New York City since 1986. In addition to uniforms for hospitals, airlines, hotels, and schools, Forest Uniforms has been proud to manufacture uniforms for military schools.
In the first part of our interview with an employee of Forest Uniform, we discussed what the company does and what distinguishes it from its competitors. We continue the conversation below.
Q: When you say you use “the best materials,” what do you mean?
A: We work with a wide mix of fabrics, from cotton-woven cloth and felt canvas to stretch fabrics containing up to 99 percent wool. We have also recently begun producing all-wool products for some of our most upscale customers.
Q: What is your production process like?
A: Highly individualized. We produce our uniforms one at a time and will even customize them for employees with unconventional body shapes at a customer’s request. Some customers like to order different uniforms for hot and cold seasons, and we are happy to accommodate them as well.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: The last and probably most important thing that sets Forest Uniform apart is our commitment to our customers. We recognize that we fill a low-profile, important niche in helping them develop their images, and we respect that role. We treat each uniform as more than just an order, altering, repairing, or reconditioning our products for length of their lives. That guarantee of excellence keeps customers coming back year after year.
We recently had the chance to sit down with a representative of Forest Uniform, the leading uniform manufacturer in the New York City area. The employee talked to us about what sets the company apart from its competition and why it has been so successful.
Q: First of all, what does Forest Uniform do?
A: We create custom-made, special-order uniforms for clients like hotels, hospitals, department stores, airlines, and sporting arenas. We have been doing it for more than 20 years.
Q: And what sets you apart?
A: We control every aspect of our production process. We are the only remaining vertically integrated uniform producer in the New York City area.
Q: Why do you think that is?
A: Well, the risks that go along with vertical integration can be pretty extreme. We have been able to handle them by using the best materials and employing top suit makers.
Keep an eye out for the second part of our Forest Uniform interview, where we will cover the company’s production process and the materials it uses.
Stay tuned for updates…