Closely Crafted: How to preserve and sustain artisans in the American fashion industry

Fashion that’s “Made in America” accounts for only 3% of all apparel sold in the United States.

Closely Crafted Nonprofit organization. Celebrating Locally, Crafted Luxury Goods, Cultivating Community Awareness | Honoring Impact | Preserving Quality; For generations to


Designer Gigi Burris O’Hara is taking a stand for American fashion. With her new nonprofit, Closely Crafted, the designer is setting out to preserve and sustain artisan craftsmanship in the American fashion industry. The organization is dedicated to cultivating the wellbeing of artisans by focusing on contributing to jobs, advancing sustainable workflow and supporting local communities across the United States. The organization’s goal is to begin educating the public on the quality and importance of American craft while ensuring brands who produce in America are supported with interest from the public consumer.

The organization comes from a personal place for Burris. During the pandemic, the millinery designer witnessed the closure of many of her NYC-based factories, including a 30-year old Bantam leather factory she had close ties to. Recognizing the job loss and economic instability for talented artisans, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Burris has already garnered great support from notable fashion figures. Board members and special advisors for Closely Crafted include Maxwell Osborne, Alexandra O’Neill, Natalie Chanin, George Esquivel, Julie Gilhart, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Kay Unger, Bailey Moon and more. She has also connected with a community of brands that support American craft through their businesses, including Christy Rilling, Christopher John Rogers, Brandon Maxwell, Laura Kim & Fernando Garcia of Monse, Edie Parker, Patricia Voto of One/Of and more.

To support the announcement, Jonathan Cohen – a friend of the brand – will encourage fundraising efforts by donating proceeds from the latest release of his “Flower Shop” featuring an exclusive hand-woven basket vase. The nonprofit already has a series of activations planned for later this year, in addition to partnerships with independent retailers across the United States, such as The Webster, Mcmullen, Hampden, and Vermillion.

In the long term, the organization has goals to sustain the industry through talent acquisition, apprenticeships, and workforce training, in addition to expanding their footprint beyond NYC, starting with Los Angeles, Texas, and Alabama.

“Our aim is to inspire the next generation of creators to pursue a path towards skilled craftsmanship, and to sustain the industry of local production in a way that fosters job stability,” said Burris O’Hara.

“43% of businesses in the NYC garment district are female owned. A majority of the artisan workforce in the United States is made up of women. We imagine a world where craft can continue to be inspired by all genders.” Visit for more information and to get involved.