Today's action for Fashion Revolution Week is all to do with transparency within a brand.
Traditionally, lots of the behind-the-scenes stuff in fashion is not visible to the consumer. This was something that started with the growth of luxury brands who could more easily justify the high price of their goods by maintaining an air of mystery regarding the creation process. This mystique creates a wedge between maker and wearer, and has led to an increasing disconnect with what was previously widely-known knowledge surrounding the art of making clothes.
This disconnect paradoxically also allows for the undervaluing of goods, making it far easier for fast-fashion brands to charge next to nothing for the clothes they produce. If people are less aware of what is involved in the clothing manufacture process, they are also less likely to question the cost - both high and low.
For this reason, slow-fashion advocates around the world are calling for increased transparency. We want to know where our clothes were made, who they were made by and whether that person was paid a fair, living wage for their skilled work. We also want to know what our clothes are made of, where the fabric was grown, spun, dyed and woven and the correct way to care for that fibre to prolong its lifespan.
Transparency is one of pocket's core principles. I firmly believe that in order to re-set our understanding of the true value of clothing, we must regain an understanding of how it is made.
I wanted to take the opportunity today to give you a brief visual tour around the studio where all pocket pieces are made. pkt HQ is based within a shared artspace complex in Bates Mill - Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Once a woollen carding mill, the space now houses many different creative practitioners, designers and makers.
Every part of the pkt production process happens in-house. I have a design area with a desk, laptop, moodboard and production planner.
Next to this is a clothing rail which is used to display all the latest garments, samples and mock-ups, as well as storing all the patterns and blocks I use. Across the room from the rail, I have a set of shelves for all the fabric currently in stock, books & files, vintage paper patterns and a box with fabric samples from various suppliers.
I have a press station set-up next to my trusty Juki machine.
And between the design and construction areas is a cutting table where all the patterns are drafted, graded and cut. I also mark up and cut all the garments here.
The studio is still a work-in-progress as I only moved in last year. I've been unable to go in since lockdown started, but I'm itching to continue with the set-up!
The thread & tool wall is the most recent addition, and I'm in need of more shelving to house new supplies too. It'll all happen, in good time.
All in all, it's a lovely space to work in. It's light, warm and full of echoes of it's rich textiles history. Working in a communal space is also really nice, since self-employment can be lonely sometimes. So it's great to feel a part of the artistic community within the mill.
I invite and encourage external visits too, so you can see where your clothes are being made and get a feel for the process. So if you're in the area and fancy stopping by, drop me a line!