It is hard to become a living legend in your field of work. Seymour Jaron, after more than 55 years in the garment industry, has become exactly that. His motto states, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.”
Seymour learned the business the old fashioned way. Starting out in the late 1940’s, Seymour learned from doing, as he went from spreader/cutter to marker maker, grader, patternmaker and then production manager. The Korean War interrupted his studies, but upon his return he received formal training at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and graduated in 1966.
Working in New York City, the center of the US fashion industry, allowed Seymour the opportunity to learn from many of the finest designers and clothing marketers of the day.
In 1967, Seymour moved to Portland, Oregon to work as a Production Manager for White Stag, one of the first skiwear companies. He traveled the world setting up factories and improving production. Before “socially responsible” employee practices were in, he set up worker friendly plants in Puerto Rico and gave jobs to an entire village in the mountains of Columbia. He even integrated segregated factories in Georgia.
In 1976, Seymour continued his burgeoning career by opening SJ Manufacturing, a factory contracted by Levi’s, in San Francisco. He was instrumental in designing and producing the clothing for the 1980 and 1984 US Olympic teams, summer and winter. Merging style with revolutionary competition fabrics, the breakthrough line was a hit.
Seymour, an innovative force in performance and casual apparel, worked with a number of big brands including Levi, Nike, Talbots and LL Bean over the years. In fact, when Nike first decided to go into performance apparel, Seymour headed up to Portland to develop patterns and produce their samples in his factory. He has also helped launch the brand of many emerging companies, including Joe Boxer, Chi Pants, Jagged Edge, Bonobos Pants, Aimee Gowns and My Hip T.
Over the last few years, as the domestic clothing industry began to decline, Seymour turned to teaching. Hundreds of students from local fashion schools such as Canada College and the Fashion Institute have visited his factory. Currently, Seymour offers private consultation to up and coming fashion entrepreneurs hailing from as far away as Georgia and Florida. Seymour enjoys his time working with the successful designers of tomorrow and thrives in sharing his experience and wisdom that comes from doing, lessons that cannot be gained in the classroom.
You will enjoy reading From Mena to Seymour. Seymour retells in his own words many of the adventures in his life. It is fun to read, some of it is hilarious, plus it is an education into the garment business. You will learn much of what Seymour has learned in the way he learned it, through the unexpected events of life that just seem to happen to you.