Aha – so it’s a Monday morning in the middle of the English summer and I arrive to work as always, on my bike. However on this particular morning things are slightly different – I appear to have taken a bath on route. April showers have been stubborn this year and stayed with us thus far and no more so than this morning. I often wonder to myself how many people would pick me out as the fashion designer on route to work…? I ride a mountain bike, not a vintage beauty avec basket and the floral summer dress is replaced by mismatched lycra shorts and reject t-shirts from my brother or boyfriend. I race (slowly) around cars, through the biggest puddles and over the biggest bumps and often provide myself with a running commentary. It is the best way in the world to get to work and I love it, despite having to change ALL of my clothes twice a day from our incessant “April” “showers”.
Monday mornings for us always includes a catch up, de-brief and general planning session for the week ahead. Ben, my brother, who also happens to be the MD of the company lists off all the things that we were supposed to do last week and didn’t and what are the main priorities of this week moving forward.
Our list this week consists of the following :
AW12 production timetable
Grading of Patterns
Print samples – when will they arrive from the factory?
Printing prices – Ben to speak with the factory to discuss
Research into product development – Charlotte to spend time on this afternoon
Confirm dates and time of sample sale
Confirm trimmings and quantities
We are working with Anthropologie at Port Eliot Festival In July doing printing workshops.
Organize workshop program.
Create samples for people to learn from.
Buy equipment for the workshops.
There are plenty of other bits that we discuss to do with business and sales but they are not to be my focus this week so I won’t divulge.
So I set off by talking to our fabric printers to find out when we are to receive our production lengths and also the samples for the new season. “Sometime this week” was the generic answer so I make a note to chase their tails tomorrow.
I then discuss all things sample sale with Beth – our studio manager who is leading the project. We pick styles, trims and quantities and discuss factory options (we are using left over fabric from previous seasons). I am pitching for the one in CROATIA! Lets see….
We are in the midst of production HELL at the moment and are finalizing all of the trims and fabric to be out with the factory this week. Unfortunately the buttons that we ordered are the wrong size (grrrr) so we have to reorder. Fortunately after conversations with the factory, this will not hold up the target delivery times.
As we use a CMT factory (Cut, Make, Trim – basically they sew it and do not source anything for you) it means that we have to internally manage everything from the fabric printing to finding the right type of zip. The only thing they provide is the thread and the plastic bags for packing. This makes for a huge amount of organizing and micro management. Its tough and time consuming and we all look forward to the day when we are big enough to have a factory that will take some of this off our hands! For the meantime its one of the major projects running in the studio so will be a main focus of my diary.
Before we can start production of the garments we have had the factory sample every silhouette as well as garments with placement prints. We have signed off the first batch of these, apart from one dress in which the fit is slightly off. When these are completely signed off we will move onto grading the patterns (making the silhouettes in all different sizes e.g 6,8,10,12,14) I am hoping to do this tomorrow.
After a morning of admin, the afternoon is fun. I move onto designing and developing the collection. This afternoon I am specifically working on a cotton day dress that is inspired by a fan / rug that I saw in India – naturally.