Making it in London
Once designers have found the fabric and the trimmings, the next decision is to source the manufacturing.
While Britain is no longer the manufacturing tour de force it used to be, garment factories can be found in pockets across the country, providing the opportunity to source both volume, small runs and sampling production. In this article we focus on London-based Plus Samples, the first garment producer to exhibit at Textile Forum.
As demand for a top quality clothing make increased, particularly from start up London designers, Nailya decided to set up Plus Samples in 2010, from a small studio in Neasden and has recently moved to larger premises in Willesden. “We set out to work with ‘difficult’ fabrics and style features that are often too complex for other factories to handle; we like the challenge,” explains Nailya, who specialises in men’s and women’s soft tailoring, soft separates and lightweight silk and jersey fabrics.
As the business has grown Plus Samples now offers pattern cutting and grading, as well as producing first samples to runs of 200 garments. “It is often not just as simple as taking a designer’s pattern and fabric and thread up the sewing machine and turn out a sample in a few hours,” says Nailya. “We frequently have to sit with a designer and interpret their designs to make it possible to produce it, advising on fabric and style detail. While sample making is one of the most expensive of processes it can save money in the long run, provided, of course, it is produced by a technician with the relevant experience to anticipate and correct unforeseen problems. “Good communication with the designer is important as is attention to detail, coupled with a wealth of technical knowledge.”