From Urban Outfitters to ‘Good Morning America,’ this Philly designer is building an ethical fashion empire | Elizabeth Wellington
In 2017, while a designer-in-residence at The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, Amy Voloshin launched Voloshin, her rustic-meets-romantic women’s wear brand.
In designer Amy Voloshin’s Kensington studio, everyone was nervous.
A selection of cozy 100% cotton PJs peppered with dreamy celestial prints and evil eyes were going to be featured on the next day’s edition of Good Morning America’s Luxe Deals for Less. It would be for GMA’s Friday-before-Thanksgiving installment, and if everything went well, Voloshin and her team would have just three days to fill what could be thousands of orders of her ethically sourced clothing.
“We are excited but we are very nervous,” the 39-year-old mom of two said, her stomach all butterflies despite the Earth-goddess calmness she projected in a floor-length silk wrap dress she also designed. “We’ve alerted UPS. We’ve got the pajamas folded on pallets ready to go. This is big.”
Turns out she was smart to be prepared. The GMA airing brought in 2,000 orders. “We got the last of them out today," she said Monday. "It was crazy around here, but it was so worth it.”
Voloshin, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design who was once a designer for Urban Outfitters, oversees an emerging fashion empire. Not only do her fashion and lifestyle brands — Printfresh Studio, Printfresh, and her eponymous fashion label Voloshin — bring in $1 million in revenue, her husband, Leo, is a part owner and developer of Jasper Studios, where Voloshin’s 3,000-square-foot showroom and the rest of her companies’ office space is housed. Jasper Studios is quietly becoming the home base for local makers like candle company Dilo and streetwear brand Lovello Elizabeth.
The Voloshins built their company step by step. By investing in fashion, as well as real estate and having some control over the supply chain, their story is a local example of how American fashion has become less about runways and what is fabulous, and more about practicality and human connection.
After Amy Voloshin left Urban Outfitters in 2006, she started Printfresh Studio, a textile-design company that created prints for some of the nation’s largest big-box private-label apparel brands, including Kohl’s, Macy’s and Target.
"We would print the swatches out and send them to mills all over the world to make the patterns,” Voloshin said. This gave her the foundation for her ethical manufacturing — which she defines as using manufacturers that treat their workers well and producing smaller batches to save waste.
In 2017, while a designer-in-residence at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, Voloshin launched Voloshin, her rustic-meets-romantic women’s-wear brand. The sweet collection of generously cut dresses, flowing blouses, and perfect ankle-length trousers — in sizes small, medium and large, ranging in price from $98 for a T-shirt to $300 for a silk dress — were made to frolic through fields and traipse through farmers markets. (Voloshin has her pieces manufactured at facilities in India that she visits more than twice a year to ensure the workers are well-treated and paid a fair wage. And because Voloshin does so much business there, she’s able to negotiate smaller orders.)
That same year the Voloshins launched Printfresh, the lifestyle brand that sells candles, large diaries, and tiny journals covered in Voloshin’s textiles. The pajamas are a part of the Printfresh brand.
“It did grow organically,” said Voloshin who grew up with parents who owned an industrial design firm near Allentown. “But it’s nice to have control as in how the brand looks, but most importantly, we get to focus on our values like sustainability and making small batches of clothing.”
This holiday season, the Voloshins invited local makers to a pop-up holiday shop in Kensington in what is now the former space of Lululemon at 1424 Frankford Ave. Called Original Objects, it will bring together 12 businesses.
The goal, Voloshin says, is to spend every day working on her own terms while doing good in the world. Isn’t that what luxury is?
Voloshin is located at 2930 Jasper St., Kensington.