So, you have a dream.
To start a fashion brand.
With no experience.
And not a hell of a lot of money.
You have all these amazing design ideas.
You want to learn all there is about running a new fashion business.
You want access to the same high quality services the big brands have.
You dont know where to start. Who to trust. Where to go.
And you cant even sketch.
You sound like our typical client.
Forty Years In The Fashion Business.
My name is William Johnston. I created The London Pattern Cutter in 1984, so that every fashion startup could have access to the same high quality advice and services that the big brands had – At an affordable price. And with confidence.
I believed that both the pattern and the pattern cutter were the essential keys to success for any new brand. The entire process of getting a design from sketch to production was overseen by the pattern cutter.
The pattern needs to fit perfectly. It needs to fit together seamlessly. And, essentially – It needs to be right first time. If you want to find a good Pattern Cutter, ask a sample machinist. They know, because they have to assemble the garments from the patterns.
The pattern cutter liaises with the designer, the sample machinist and the factory. They need to have all the answers.
I have worked with some brilliant pattern cutters over the years. The very best were not just great pattern cutters. They knew the fashion industry inside out.
They had total knowledge of pattern cutting, sizing, fabrics and garment construction. They always had the answer to your queries. And they knew everyone in the business.
A good pattern cutter knows when a pattern looks right and knows instinctively how to correct a garment just by looking at it on a body.
I have been in the fashion industry for over forty years, having worked for some of the most iconic British fashion brands, such as :
JEAN MUIR – JOHN BATES – JAEGER – ALEXANDER McQEEN – ALEXON – ALL SAINTS – LEWIS LEATHERS – VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
My first full time job was in 1976, at Jaeger Tailoring . This provided me with an excellent grounding in pattern cutting for mens and ladies tailoring. It also taught me the supreme importance of fit, balance, accuracy and care for detail.
I went on to work for a variety of top U.K. fashion companies as a pattern cutter, grader, sample machinist, garment tech and QC.
Freelance Pattern Cutter.
My learning only really began once I became a freelance pattern cutter in 1984. As a freelancer you really do need to know everything there is to know about running a fashion business.
Your clients rely on your knowledge and experience to guide them through the process. By necessity I had to become skilled in every aspect of the clothing industry.
In menswear, ladieswear, and childrenswear. Tailoring, sportswear, swimwear, underwear, lingerie, denim, leather, corporate wear.
As a freelance pattern cutter, not only did I have to be skilled in all areas of pattern cutting, but I also had to be able to cut and grade every type of garment, make samples, do costings, complete garment spec sheets, source fabrics, trims and factories, control production quality, and manage entire projects.
Although I started out as a ladieswear pattern cutter, and became especially skilled in ladies tailoring, I became more interested in menswear.
Menswear Pattern Cutter.
I had a love for all types of menswear, especially tailoring, sportswear and underwear. Any type of functional menswear really. I love the functionality and logic of menswear.
I even participate in some menswear forums that go into great detail about the minutiae of styling and vintage garments. This is a mans thing that is verging on autistic in nature.
Men have a very different view of fashion and clothing than do women. Generally for us, detail is important, whether for formal wear, sportswear, or casual wear.
I became known first and foremost as a Menswear Pattern Cutter, and have taught menswear pattern cutting at the world famous Central St. Martins College in London.
I have always been a keen sportsman, very interested in all aspects of fitness and ergonomics. I am a fully qualified fitness instructor, specialising in circuit training and indoor cycling.
I developed a keen interest in all types of activewear and functional garments. My early tailoring background mixed with my knowledge of ergonomics has helped me a great deal in being able to develop specialist garments for many different sports.
Those sports include : Swimwear; Football; Rugby; Boxing; Rowing; Cycling; Weight lifting; Horse racing; Yoga; Fitness; etc.
Launch Pad For Startups.
Over the years, i have worked for hundreds of top fashion designers, high street clothing companies and new fashion startups.
While I enjoy the immense variety of work involved, maybe the most rewarding part of the job is working with the small startups.
The whole process of bringing a design to market can be a minefield of potential problems. Each one of these problems can prove disastrous to a new business without professional guidance from someone like myself.
Design Through To Production.
Over the years I have worked as a Pattern Cutter, Grader, Garment Technician, Sample Machinist, Bespoke Tailor, Project Manager and Clothing business Consultant, so I understand every process involved from the design to the final production and beyond.
While I spent the first part of my career as a ladieswear Pattern Cutter, and while I am still very skilled in womenswear, in recent years I have become more interested in menswear.
And all the various niche areas of menswear such as tailoring, sportswear, denim, underwear, uniforms, shirts, workwear, vintage, leather, etc.
As I have an extremely strong foundation of pattern cutting skills and knowledge, each of these specialist areas are relatively easy to pick up.
The beauty of working as a freelance Pattern Cutter is that you get to work on an immense variety of projects.
There are very few people in the clothing industry with my comprehensive range of skills – In all aspects of Menswear, Ladieswear and Childrenswear.
While I personally do all the menswear patterns, I also work alongside other specialist Pattern Cutters who will do some of the ladies or childrens patterns.