The latter half of my forty years experience in the fashion industry has been devoted to working with fashion startups in London and throughout the U.K. I work with many complete novices on a limited budget. This is a small but significant sector within the clothing industry that is extremely vulnerable and very neglected. Without expert help and mentoring from the beginning, 90% of these businesses will fail within a year. They will fail mostly through very basic, costly but avoidable errors .
PHONE – 07905-965-305
EMAIL – firstname.lastname@example.org
STARTING A U.K. FASHION BUSINESS
This is a great time for starting a fashion business in the U.K. The GB brand is very strong and I believe that we are about to see a resurgence of small businesses generally. Most of my clients use U.K. factories for production despite the extra cost involved, because they want to market their products as “Made in Great Britain”. And I will always strongly advise using domestic production initially.
It can be really exciting to begin a Fashion brand with your own label and to see your designs come to life. But it can also be depressing to have those designs ruined by bad pattern cutting or bad making and to see all your hard earned money go down the drain. My job is to ensure that you avoid these pitfalls and to advise how to spend your limited money in the most efficient way.
“To get rich you need to be making money while your asleep”
You dont need to be able to draw fancy pretty sketches to be able to design. As long as you have an idea that you can get across somehow in pictures and words, or by using ideas or fits from existing garments, then you are a Designer. You need to put your idea down concisely on paper in images and words, no matter how bad the drawings. In order to avoid mistakes it is a good idea to provide garments that illustrate the sort of fit that you require too.
If you find this process daunting, we do run a short two hour, one to one workshop to guide you through it. Just bring along all your ideas, inspiration and garments. We will then sit down with you to understand what you really want and to produce working sketches of your ideas.
Patterns need to be made professionally by Pattern Cutters who are very experienced in the specialist field that you are entering – A jacket pattern MUST be made by a Tailoring Pattern Cutter. Menswear patterns MUST be done by a Menswear Pattern Cutter. Childrenswear MUST be done by a Childrenswear Pattern Cutter. That is not to say that they have to work exclusively on that product, just that they must be very experienced in that field of pattern cutting. I regard myself as a specialist in a number of different fields of pattern cutting, but then I have been doing it for a long time. And if I dont consider myself adequately experienced I will know someone who is.
Samples also need to be made by very experienced Sample Machinists. As long as they are experienced they should be able to cope with most jobs if they have the necessary machinery. It may be that you could save some money by having the factory make the sample as they will have to make a factory sample at some stage anyway. Often the factory will insist on having a sample before they make a sample though. And they will need very precise information otherwise your samples will probably be made incorrectly.
When it comes to Production it is essential to choose the factory carefully, provide good professional patterns with clear information and key measurements. The factory need to make a production sample that you check and measure. If the sample is perfect then this is what you use to compare the production with. If there are small changes that you need to make, then attach a note to the garment with these changes. It is important that the factory knows that you are not going to accept anything below par. If the sample is not perfect and you do not make it known, then the factory know that they can get away with an even lower quality than the sample. If you note a few flaws then they realise that they will have to up their game in order to get the job and to get paid at the end without costly repairs or returns. It is then the factories job to stick to your measurements.It is essential to keep a very close eye on the production, carefully checking at every stage.
I believe that unless there is very good reason, all work should be undertaken within the U.K. rather than abroad, where it may be much cheaper initially, but may well turn out to be disastrous.However difficult it is dealing with production in the U.K. it is far more difficult and hazardous dealing with production abroad. Stories I hear from Clients about production abroad are both laughable and tragic. It is far better to learn initially by working with factories in the U.K. keeping all your mistakes small and then at a later stage consider reducing costs by sourcing from abroad.
If you have already had a go at designing and producing a collection of clothes, I can pretty much guarantee that you have already experienced problems with the patterns, the samples and the factory production. If you went abroad for your production then you will have experienced it in spades. By far the most important part of my job is the free expert advice I can give to small fashion startups. If you just want some independent advice without having to pay for my reassuringly expensive pattern cutting services I will be happy to help if you give me a ring. While an initial consultation is free and with no obligation I do also offer a more extensive consultation service, either based on an hourly rate, or a one off annual fee.
PHONE – 07905-965-305
EMAIL – email@example.com
We provide a number of one day and half day workshops for fashion Business Startups. These are invaluable workshops for both complete novices and more experienced fashion people. Please check The London Pattern Cutter for details. Workshops we offer include :-
- FASHION BUSINESS START-UP ON A BUDGET
- CREATING A TECH PACK
- MAKING AND GRADING YOUR PATTERN
- QUALITY CONTROL
- MAKE YOUR OWN PATTERN
- START A FASHION BRAND
- BECOME A FREELANCER