“You need to roll up your sleeves, but hard work does pay off in the end.”Louis Vasquez
Louis has been working in the garment industry for over 50 years.
He embarked on his career in the heart of the Garment District, joining a company renowned for fabric manufacturing. While his journey began on the production floor, an opportunity quickly arose in fabric production. Despite lacking prior experience in fabric development, Louis enthusiastically embraced the chance to learn more and underwent comprehensive training at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Through a combination of formal education and hands-on experience, he swiftly acquired the knowledge and skills required for success.
In a familiar tale, Louis’ employer eventually opted to relocate operations overseas. In response, Louis and a group of like-minded colleagues decided to chart their own course. Remaining rooted in the Garment District, they ventured into the realm of men’s belt production, achieving success for over a decade. By then, Louis had solidified his career, tied the knot, and felt the call of solo entrepreneurship.
“I wanted to do this on my own.”
By this time, Louis had solidified his career, tied the knot, and felt the call of solo entrepreneurship. In addition to men’s belts, Louis expanded his offerings to include womenswear, handbags, and other accessories. Former clients faithfully followed him, and soon, new companies joined their ranks. For many years, QA Accessories thrived in a large factory on 36th. However, the landscape shifted over time, with the impact of COVID further amplifying the transformation. Order sizes dwindled, as Louis notes, “We used to receive orders for 20,000 belts and 10,000 bags, but now it’s more likely to be 500 belts and 100 bags.” When faced with a doubling of their rent by the landlord, Louis recognized the need for a change.
Transitioning to a more modest factory, Louis remained committed to evolution. Presently, QA Accessories specializes in crafting handbags, buttons, buckles, and belts catering to a diverse clientele that spans fashion designers and military and police personnel. But, when inquired about additional services he offers, Louis lights up while elaborating on his consulting expertise.
“I have big hopes for the new generation of designers.”
With all his experience in the industry, Louis is eager to share his wisdom, forge connections, and provide resources. His passion for collaborating with emerging entrepreneurs stems from the opportunity to start at the very beginning. Louis recognizes that many newcomers find themselves at a loss when it comes to sourcing materials or navigating the intricacies of product development. It’s in these moments that they turn to him for guidance, seeking assistance in procuring leather, materials, and even pattern development. Louis walks them through the entire process, steering them towards the right resources to develop their products. He elaborates, “I just like to help people. Once I open the door to them, they continue to work with me, and it works really well for everyone.”
Louis firmly believes that, while the Garment District has significantly slowed down, the upcoming generation of designers will reinvigorate it shunning overseas collaborations in favor of local partnerships. For his part, Louis is doing everything he can to support these emerging designers, championing their growth and contribution to the industry’s resurgence.