Thursday, 27 May 2010

Lets get inspired encore...

An insight into where the ideas for SS'11 are coming from this season

Old School Robots

Because you wind them up and they do funny stuff
Because they have fab details, contours and interconnecting bits and bobs
Because they all tell a story and have a history
Because they dance with me and Burt my dancing donkey

Copper and copper formations

Because there is a huge copper sculpture in a naff hair salon on my road and bizarrely I kinda love it
Because the shades and formations of copper are truly breathtaking

Boat and sail construction and materials

Because I live on an island and have grown up a water baby
Because the complex construction and materials used in boat building is a true art and utterly inspirational
Because my buddy is a sail maker and has the coolest workshop in workshop history

Again team, it's all about interaction over here and if you feel you can add to the inspiration mixing pot then fire your images over my way and ill pop them up...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Sharing the love

Some more contacts from other designers

So here is some of the information that has been sent to me so far. I will add it all to the menus at the side of the blog for you all to reference. Unless stated they have been recommended by people who have worked with each company. I have included notes on each accordingly.

If anyone else has more info they feel like sharing then please send it over and ill pop it up, but for now a MASSIVE thanks to all who wrote in. You are all super stars!

Fabric Printers

Print Unlimited

- ok prices, good result, and quick delivery

Factories / Production / Sampling

1. Acton Cut (sent to me direct from the factory)
Pattern Making / sampling / design development / production
Previous clients: Stewart Parvin, Richard Nicoll, Jonathon Saunders, Peter Jenson
Contact Details:, 020 3110 0127, 45 Churchfield rd, London, W3 6AY

2.I did my sampling with two workshops. I think it's a good idea not to put all your eggs in one basket! The first was with Nailya at contact details are nailya and the second was Kosa at The Workshop which is through fashion enter

The above 2 companies who did my sampling however will do production. Kosa only in the UK and Nailya in the UK and Lithuania.

3. Ribbon Textiles (Sent direct from factory)

4. 24 Seven Talent (sent direct from company)

London Based. Represent freelance Technical candidates: Sample Machinists, Pattern Cutters and Sample Cutters.

We are an out wear, denim and leather goods production company based in Istanbul - Turkey. We produce high end shoes, handbags, belts, small leather goods, documents bags/ messenger bags beside our high end denim and out fit productions.


1. I found everyone through going to Premiere Vision. It was the best trip I did and you only really need to go once to get your contacts. Most places will do small orders. Textiles Forums are also a great event to go to. The fabric place I use the most is Solsissbucol.

Apsara Silks (sent direct from the manufacturer)
Apsara Silks is a leading Silk Mill in India
Here we are capable of digitally printing on any Silk/ Wool & blends and can give you up to 16 Million colours a meter with no restriction on pattern sizes and shapes. Our In-house designing team is capable to deliver you sampling yardages in as less as four days.
We also manufacture high quality printed scarves

Packaging etc

1.Adastra Labels

Printers who specialise in labels, carrier bags, packaging etc for fashion designers.

2. Woven Labels Uk

UK based Label manufacturers.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Calling all felow designers...

So it has be increasingly apparent that many people / designers struggle to find appropriate fabric wholesalers, manufacturers, graders, pleaters, printers and dyers etc and there are few resources that provide this information easily (as previously discussed).

The only forums I am aware of are:


So I am here to ask today for you all out there to help everyone else. If you know of a good fabric wholesaler, manufacturer, grader, pleater, printer or dyer then please email me and ill put in on the blog.

As I am sure you are all aware a recommendation is worth its money in gold. If you can let us know what they do / produce that would be awesome and ill place the info on-line asap.

Happy sharing campers..

Monday, 10 May 2010

Reality Bites...

The Reality of producing a collection

So... like our adorable, smiling, fluff ball, goof of a Labrador who much to his quivering, knee shaking, unmanly dismay was taken by surprise this evening and bitten flush on his bare backside by some mean mongrel from down the road, I too have had my fair share of unwelcome surprises over the past few months.

How can you expect the unexpected...?

The most difficult thing for me so far has been juggling all aspects of the business.
Sales, PR, Marketing, Production...all equally time consuming and important whilst designing a new collection. I'm not gonna lie, it's tough. I have double the work load that I had designing the first time round and that was hard enough!

For me one of the biggest challenges is time management. I need to oversee production but I need to be designing at the same I use a factory in London or abroad to save money and gain knowledge of dealing with factories or do I use a local seamstress and pay more but be able to monitor everything whilst being close to the studio increasing time spent designing...? hmmm tricky...

What type of production/ factory is right for you?

As far as I can see I had 4 options:

1. In house - hire someone in to produce the collection from your studio.
- Can oversee closely progress and monitor at all times
- Time not wasted traveling to and from factory
- Good use of local workforce
- Expensive
- May not have the quality of a factory and the quality control
- Slow
- If they have a problem/ quit you are stuck

2. Small Units - I inquired at a local business that produces clothes for high West End Shows to see if they would be suitable to manufacture the collection.
- Small workforce and team means that you are not such a small fish in a big pond
- Quality control in place
- Experience dealing with small factory/ unit
- Save time if local
- Might not prioritize you if they get a big job on, leaving you behind schedule.
- Expensive

3. Factory in the UK - I have been mainly looking in London Suburbs as there are more here and of good quality. They are also relatively near.
- Great quality
- They know what they are doing and can help you with finishing options etc
- Quicker
- Less hassle and risk than overseeing In-House production
- More expensive than oversees
- Don't really like doing smaller runs and they really bump up their prices.
- You are not a priority.
- Time consuming if the factory is far away from you.

4. Oversees Factory - I haven't really looked into this as much as it is not really an option for me being a one man band I can't monitor it from afar without digging into valuable designing time.
- More cost effective
- Fast turn-around on larger quantities
- Often will do multiple tasks. i.e source fabrics and trims, grading, manufacture and distribute.
- Finding the right factory is difficult.
- Language barriers
- If things go wrong or you need to get something to the factory it takes a lot longer.
- People like brands to made in the UK and in an ethical way.

I had an email from the head designer of a small British brand asking me advice on their production. It seems they are struggling with their options too...below they detail their issues for us...

"Initially I sourced a CMT in * which seemed like the perfect solution as we are round the corner in * so I could drive down there easily. However, we found that despite their initial enthusiasm and warmth, they were really difficult to work with. They insisted that I simplified my designs and patterns and their finish was appalling. Despite pressure from me, the garments looked terrible – overlocking was unfinished so the garments would tear away at the sideseams, huge chunks would be cut from the insides and you could tell they had been rushed through. We continually had to send stuff back and were already receiving it hugely behind deadline.

We found that because of the small size of our quantities (150 per style, in some cases across two fabrics) they just didn’t take us seriously. Even though the docket was placed on time, we were dropped behind companies with more clout in their schedule. The final straw came this season when they cut one of our skirts on the wrong grainline and a whole batch of tops on the wrong side of the fabric and denied that there was a right side and wrong side to the fabric. I felt utterly deflated as all my hard work cutting patterns, sourcing fabrics from warehouses locally and ensuring the collection would arrive in time to stock our boutique seemed to have got us nowhere. In addition, they were really threatening in phone calls, to the extent where other people in the office could hear their shouting down the phone! We’ve just found it an impossible struggle.

We are thinking of taking the step next season of employing a production machinist in-house to produce the garments. For this we would create smaller quantities (which isn’t a problem) but over a greater number of styles. This means I can be more creative with my designing and can have a more direct control over the quality of the finished product. We will need to increase our prices slightly, but by stressing the fact that we manufacture the garments ourselves, we are hoping to get away with this."