As a small company, focused on creating timeless non-seasonal pieces, we don't run our business around the traditional fashion calendar.
Not because we have a relaxed attitude but because it's such madness for all involved. It's months from runway to store. So summer styles arrive in January and winter ones in August. The cycle goes on with sales and markdowns having longer selling periods than normal stock which so quickly go 'out of season' - the fashion season.
We're part of a much slower fashion calendar. I recently shared our approach with some local students. It's not so different, but it is closer to season and rather than being dictated by the fashion industry it's dictated by when our customers actual want their clothes.
1. Mood Boards
This is where we start. Twice a year we pin and stick customer feedback, new shapes, styles and colour trends we feel are right for us. We think seasonal but we don't think trend; we want you to wear our tees all the year round.
One of the colours we know we're missing at the moment is a classic grey marl. We have approximately a sixteen week lead time on new cotton so we're just finalising our new grey now to run across both womens and menswear.
Once we've agreed on colour and the styles we think we're missing our designers get their sketch books out and start visualising. These are the sketches that go off to our partners Green Cotton to start pattern making.
5. Patterns and Specifications
In a way this is the most important stage for us. We try our designs on as many people as possible. We know one tee can't fit all but we also know that a classic tee is timeless so should be as flattering and comfortable as possible no matter what your age or shape.
As a small new company we do have some advantages. We can be flexible and we can introduce our designs closer to actual season that bigger companies. But last week’s climate change summit highlighted the urgent need for much bigger change.
If we are going to make sustainable progress we need to slow down the whole pace of fashion. We need to find ways of reducing the wasteful consumption that the current fashion calendar creates. The end consumer may gain but look at the environmental costs and the hugely reduced margins for those behind the labels. But if brands and manufacturers start working together then perhaps there is an opportunity to change the pace of fashion. To start working to the seasons nature, not the fashion industry dictates.