“Do you make all of these clothes?”
So I thought I’d share with you a little overview of how your clothes are made…
All the styles for Astor + Tyne collections are my original designs, dreamt up in my head at random times / places. Sometimes while I’m driving I might see a brightly coloured flower, or an old building and that can lead me off on a tangent for a style, or something as literal as people walking around and getting a feel for the shapes or overall vibe of what they are wearing. My favourite thing to do is see someone from a distance (I have pretty poor distance vision, even after laser surgery) And if I only get the slightest glimpse of them / what they are wearing I consciously look away and fill in the blanks in my mind as to what I would like that piece to look like. It never is anything like I imagined once I get a closer look – but I’m always happier with my version and then make sure I draw it before I forget! :D
I start out with the sketches I have for new styles and consider what fabrics would be ideal to use for them. Lucky for me, my fabric wholesaler is just around the corner, and I’ll go into a meeting with her with my ideas put together on a spread sheet.
Plenty of time is then spent reviewing and tweaking to pull together a story of styles that can be worn together. The right fabric must be available in the right colour in order for the right top style to be worn with the right jacket or pants etc, so lots of juggling of ideas happens at this stage!
I used to draw up all the patterns myself and grade the pattern pieces in to all the different sizes, then cut out the pattern pieces from pattern card (killer on the carpel tunnel!) But now, thankfully there is computer software that does this job sooo much more efficiently than what I ever could! So I send all the specifications and detailed drawings to my pattern maker – I have one in Adelaide and one in Melbourne.
Then the first samples are made in Adelaide by one of my lovely machinists. These ladies have amazing skill and knowledge, and the many different machines needed, and again, are so much more efficient than I would be if I were to make up the samples.
Once the samples are all approved for fit, fabric suitability and style I send them off for a ‘production run’. I work on small quantities for each style as I’m a boutique sized label, and the wonderful teams I work with are amazing at keeping the standard high on small run collections. I have a team in Adelaide, a team in Melbourne and a small team overseas that all have specific skill sets and machine set ups. The majority of the styles in my collection are made by the team in Adelaide.
I’ll be featuring each of these fab sewers in future blogs, so you can ‘meet the team that made your clothes’.
Until then it’s back to the drawing board – quite literally – for me!