Apparel Prototyping and Design Solutions turns ideas into products
It’s housed in an unassuming metal building on Highway 29 in Pelzer. But the work of Apparel Prototyping and Design Solutions has been worn at Dabo’s Ladies Clinic, the Kentucky Derby and by actress and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon.
Founded by former employees of Clemson Apparel Research when Clemson University discontinued the program in 2014, APaDS works with entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into prototypes and products.
“They bring us a sketch, a drawing, pictures – something that helps them convey their idea to us so that we can turn that into an actual product that they can market and sell,” said APaDS Senior Pattern Maker Darlene Martin. “We work with anything that is a sewn product, other than bras and shoes.”
APaDS offers pattern design and making, digitizing, marker making and plotting, prototyping and samples. The company also produces fire retardant garments that are burn tested at universities and labs throughout the United States and Canada.
“We work with virtually every textile company because all those fabrics have to be certified,” said Elroy Pierce, APaDS owner and lead engineer. “When new fabrics are developed for Army combat uniforms, we make those garments here for them to be burn tested.”
Working with locals and celebrities alike, Martin says it’s always a thrill to see a pattern that she has designed in photographs or being worn.
“Back in 2014, Reese Witherspoon – when she started her company, Draper James – contacted us to develop their patterns, make prototypes and sales samples to show and to photograph,” Martin said. “We helped them through those first two years of development. It was cool to go on their website and to see the products and say, ‘Oh, I did that.’”
Another client, Middy N’ Me, produces custom equestrian style ladies’ apparel for riding and everyday wear. The company, which began doing trunk shows at equestrian events, continues to grow its following.
“We made 31 garments that were worn at the Kentucky Derby one year by different customers, so that was cool,” Martin said. “
Local APaDS clients include PRODOH® children’s clothing in Greenville, Snoozer® pet products in Piedmont, Paw Paws in Greenville, and new client, Pittypat’s Clothing Co. in Central. APaDS also does uniform repairs and nameplates for the Greenville Drive baseball team.
Additionally, APaDS has a division called The Fabrics of Life that offers handcrafted memory keepsakes such as bears, pillows and blankets made from a loved one’s favorite t shirt, team jersey or another piece of clothing.
Those with product ideas need only be able to convey them to the APaDS team, according to Martin.
“You don’t have to have technical packages to bring to us to have things developed,” Martin said. “We’ve had people bring things that were drawn on a napkin.”
For more information, visit apadsolutions.com.
Video produced by Garcia Visuals.