Last month we told you about Tom Hutchinson and his Kickstarter pitch to turn his graduate collection into a new business venture. Well, we are incredibly excited to reveal that not only did Tom make his target, he surpassed it by several thousand pounds! Now the hard work begins as Tom and his business partner J.J embark on their venture to bring the Obtineo range of products to the market over the next few months.
Every element of the range is hand-crafted in the U.K by skilled craftsmen, from glass-blowing to the felt detailing, which today seems quite challenging to achieve, and will certainly set Tom's designs apart from the mass-produced wares we see on the high street today.
It does seem though, as Tom forges a path with his first collection, the attitudes to manufacturing techniques and material use is shifting.
There is so much in the press about the fashion industry and conditions of workers abroad, and producing garments for pennies, to be sold for not much more on the British high street. It does seem that many retailers are slowly returning their manufacturing hubs to our shores, not only bolstering our wavering economy, but elevating the quality and standards, both ethically and from a construction point of view. So much so, that we, as consumers are more prepared than before to spend that little bit extra.
Another designer duo who have consciously and successfully set up their manufacturing in the U.K is London-based jewellery designers Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, also known as Tatty Devine.
Having started out on a small scale with just the two of them, and a store of Brick Lane, the popularity of their pieces grew incredibly quickly.
The cheapest and easiest way to get the number of pieces they needed to produce, was heading to the factories of China, but this didn't sway the designers, and they took the more costly approach to set up workshops in London and Kent. This not only meant employing the locals, it also meant that they could stay as close as ever to the design, and making processes that inspired them in the first place.
The responsibility for today's new designers is to challenge the process of manufacturing, and not loose that feeling of hand-crafting something special. And not in an arts and crafts, make do and mend sense, but to embrace the U.K's rich and varied skilled craftsmen and women, just like Tom and J.J have done…