BTS: Haute Couture or Mass Production?
One of the questions I get asked the most - how do you actually make clothes??? Well, it is a very, very interesting process and it involves both haute-couture technique and mass manufacturing. Here’s how it works:
It all starts with an idea. A simple sketch drawn in my mind made from tiny little pieces of inspiration... Inspiration drawn from people that surround me on a daily basis, things I watch people do, clothes I see people wear, and nature... Long walks in The City admiring how comfortably modern architecture coexists with Victorian dwellings. Or losing yourself in the damp forests of Greater London in search of nothing but inner peace. And music. And feelings. Feelings. Feelings. And emotions I experience when receiving feedback from customers who wear our designs. Inexplicable. Priceless.
The sketch is rarely put on paper or translated into a tech drawing at this stage since I always create the first samples myself. Meticulously selecting the lines I want to see on a female body I drape the fabric on a mannequin supporting the details with countless pins often leaving it half way and returning back to the canvas mockup when it’s ready to be finished.
The canvas mockup is then fitted on a fitting model who helps me understand how it feels to wear the piece. The way it looks, the way it feels and yes, I like comfort myself, too. And it’s necessary for me to collect feedback from fitting models to decide which details need tweaking or adjusting so completed the piece is not just pretty but pleasant to wear, too.
This is the stage when the final paper pattern is created and a new sample is made in the actual fabric chosen for the final piece. It allows me to see how the fabric behaves when put together in the chosen material and how seams perform during cutting, sewing and steaming. The final sample is washed, dried and ironed - all as part of our quality control process.
Approved and finalised paper patterns of the new styles are sent for grading - the process of multiplying one pattern to fit different sizes. Since we are based in the UK we work with UK sizing. Once graded patterns have been made, those are sent to our London based partner manufacturer of womenswear and the process begins. We manufacture in small quantities which allows us to keep a close eye on the quality of the process as well as the quality of a finished garment.
Finished garments are embellished with finishing accessories if any, steamed, labelled and individually packed in clear packaging to keep them dry and clean. The entire batch is sent for storage in our workroom from where we dispatch our pieces to you by post.
As you can see, the haute-couture process is adopted in our sampling process. With the ‘mass-manufacturing’ approach being adopted in producing more than one piece. It’s been a pleasure to give you an insight into the behind-the-scenes world of our brand. Thanks for reading and we’ll catch up next week!
Yours, Zalina M x