It's definitely the most common question I get asked: "So, how do you make all this stuff?" It's a complex answer to a simple query, and it's also an ever changing process. In an ideal world, we'd get massive factory runs done of everything so that we had a dozen in each size and colour. That's the easiest way - though also the costliest and potentially the most wasteful. Can you imagine if a certain style or colour bombed sales wise? There's be a big mountain of unwanted clothes left over.
If I were to describe our manufacturing process, I would say it's strategic, nimble and ridiculously labour intensive. Personally, I find production fascinating. It's all about knowing the skills and assets of others who help you put the million and one steps together in the right order.
We're fortunate to have a fully equipped studio (ergo: too many sewing machines), where we do our development, prototyping and small scale development. By this, I mean cutting out every. single. piece. of fabric by hand. Ciel, our technical designer extraordinaire, comes in a couple days a week to do the more complex pattern drafting and sewing.
For example, with our ShowStopper shirts, I do the cutting and initial piecing together, Ciel does the collar and facing, and then hands it back to me for buttons, button holes, hemming, pressing and final quality control. Each one gets put on the mannequin to make sure it hangs right.
Complicated? Absolutely. But we have our little system that allows us to test out ideas without making hundreds of units. It also means we can easily accommodate custom orders. Obviously it wouldn't make sense to make a hundred and ten Copperlux shirts by ourselves - we contract out the larger runs to a local garment factory. They do amazing work, and after the occasional eye roll at our crazy ideas, they'll make sure they come true. We also contract out fabric printing locally.
Tina hand makes every single belt in her workshop ("LeatherLand"), from the cutting to finishing the edges with local beeswax (obnoxiously local, I know!).
We're also conscious of waste. Getting a start in any textile manufacturing business means a lot of mistakes, and our snobbiness in terms of quality prohibits us from putting sub par pieces on the shelf. But something in me just couldn't handle throwing nice fabric in the garbage. For instance, some of our Copperlux shirts got slightly misprinted. We repurposed the fabric into some really nice copper printed headbands (on the site soon!). They're the most fabulous use of garbage I've ever seen.
So, we try to keep our most popular sizes and style in constant stock - but hey, Murphy's law, people love to order what we don't have! In that case, we make to order.
So there you go - every product we make has been duly fussed, hummed and hawed over, and now you know more than you ever wanted to about how we "make our things."