Regina Weir and Rosa Thurner
The business model is nothing new: See a void in the market and fill it. But the concept of Factory Girls, a fashion incubator created by Regina Weir, 34, and Rosa Thurnher, 39, is something no one else in the Southeast has done before—and it’s nothing short of groundbreaking.
The duo, both Atlanta natives, was introduced through Weir’s brother and immediately hit it off. “I didn’t go out seeking a career in fashion, but I always had an interest in it,” says Weir, a New York University grad with a degree in public policy and urban planning, and whose parents have been in the garment manufacturing biz since 1989. Thurnher got her fine art degree at The University of Georgia, then spent a decade in management, merchandising, styling and visuals for brands like J.Crew, Armani Exchange and Bill Hallman. When Thurnher started freelancing for designer Abbey Glass, she saw the struggles local designers go through to take their brands to the next level in the ATL—and she wanted to do something about it.
That’s where Factory Girls comes in: Launched last December, the hub provides support and resources (think seamstresses, pattern- and sample-makers, workspaces, and sewing machines) so local designers can craft their latest looks and collections all in one space. “We wanted to create a reason and resource for high-end designers in the Southeast to continue to create locally,” says Thurnher. Their current member roster includes Glass and Megan Huntz, plus outside clients who come and go, with plans to bring on two more in the near future. Want to get in on the action? The team offers multilevel classes in sewing and garment construction with new classes hitting the lineup this month.
“The ultimate goal,” says Weir, “is to create an economy around local high-end apparel and be able to change the perception of Atlanta fashion.” Plus, “we also want to be a voice for Southern fashion designers and to make it possible for local designers to remain in the South,” adds Thurnher. And with plans for more workshops and expanded programs in the future, hometown pride never looked so good. @factorygirlsatl