On Monday I’m going to Gloucester for one of my favourite blogging activities; I’m off to watch my very own bespoke shirts being made. I now have quite a stash of How It’s Made features in the vault (see them here), from field trips to the Dr Martens factory, the Chanel embroidery workshops, the Smythson bookbinding workshops and – one of my most visited posts – the Hermes handbag workshop just outside Paris. It’s always an amazing treat as I love getting insider access to these places and geeking out at all the processes.
As it happens, next week is also Fashion Revolution Week (24-30 April 2017), which means there are global activities happening to put the spotlight on how our clothes are made (and by whom). Now in its fourth year, Fashion Revolution was set up by Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro to help consumers become more mindful of their fashion choices following the collapse of the Rana Plaza. In London the activities include a new programme of ‘Open Studios’, such as embroidery workshops to upcycle your clothes and a Christopher Raeburn tote customization workshop and studio tour.
Raeburn’s studio (above) is in the old Burberry factory in Hackney and it’s a really interesting, industrious set-up. Rayburn is a lovely fellow too and always up for a chat so if you’re interested in how to scale a sustainable business or just in his design process, he’ll be able to answer your questions. As Open Studios curator Tamsin Blanchard says: ‘Open Studios is an opportunity to shine a light on a group of emerging designers – and some established trailblazers – who are finding alternative ways of producing fashion that is mindful of the planet and its resources.”
The following week is London Craft Week, which again is a fairly new event that seems to have grown overnight. The long list of activities includes Smythson and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust’s daily craft demonstrations, Mulberry’s handbag making demos, Meissen porcelain painting at Asprey and watercolour pigment making at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.
If you’re obsessed with artisans and craft, this is an amazing opportunity to see many of the skills in action. Some events are paid for and ticketed, some are free but you need to book a place and others are just a case of showing up. Start planning now!