In the second in a short series on British manufacturing, Drapers speaks to private label pattern and sample-making design studio Atelier StudioLab.
The studio only opened its doors this year, but has already amassed a number of customers from emerging designers through to high street retail names. We speak to creative director and pattern cutter Irena Stankevica to find out why the business has been a success.
How has business been since you opened in January?
The business has been doing extremely well. We have doubled our team in less than five months in order to meet the demand, with plans to grow even further. We have a variety of customers from individual bespoke orders up to designers, established brands and corporate accounts.
What services are you providing for your customers?
At this stage we have three sides to our business. Our bespoke department works closely with customers to realise specific designs, from wedding dresses to bespoke menswear and suiting.
Our pattern and sample making department has been created for designers and brands. We accompany each of them at different stages of creation. For some, we start our collaboration at the sketch stage, and with others we work towards creating the samples from existing patterns. We also handle small to medium size production runs for various brands.
We have also introduced a corporate department, where we work with the customer to ensure that the designs reinforce their own branding. One example of this is the uniform project that we have created for environment-focused Green Power Conferences, which wanted strong designs that were produced locally. We also work with companies involved in Fair Trade.
What are they asking for?
Each customer comes with different fabrics and designs in mind, but there are few trends in fabric that we observe. For some designers natural fabrics are everything. We work with lots of different types of organza and silks, for example. Those fabrics are extremely challenging and require a lot of skill in order to adapt them to the designs.
We also have noticed an increase in manmade fabrics, even for the most exclusive designs. Recent advancements in textile product offer exciting new fabrics to work with. Manmade fabrics also adapt easily to even the most eccentric of designs.
Some of our customers also want to use sustainable fabrics. We have recently created a few items from a natural fabric made from corn starch, for example.
In general people are trying to experiment more in their fabric choices, designs and finishings.
How do you plan to grow the business?
Currently we are following demand and growing organically with it. We are developing different projects to diversify what we offer, but our main focus is giving each customer our full attention.