I went quiet again. A story was unfolding, some new developments kept me offline and life took an interesting turn. I’ll come to that, but first, let me tell you about this jacket.
Back in spring I posted a few different shots of a few different outfits, which may or may not have looked strangely similar in style and proportion. This is because they’re actually all the same garment, a jacket made from a pile of remnants of double sided technical denim, kindly donated by my wonderful friend Mel over at ByBrown. The writing had been going pretty well but I’d reached a point where I needed to step back, do some more research and let everything incubate for a while. I decided it was time to revisit some of the designs I was working on last year.
A word about the fabric, which is wonderful to work with. It’s crisper than cotton denim, robust and very wearable. Mel’s made some lovely pieces with both sides (including my trusty crash pants) but I thought she missed a trick for not producing any reversible garments. The challenge, though, is that each side is very different in character. The “right” side is a deep matt indigo, almost purple, and the “wrong” side is best described as silver. A reversible design needs to show the best of both worlds.
I wanted to use the resilience of the fabric to create something that would wear like armour plating. With this in mind, I cut a separate shoulder section which reverses at the neckline, partially lined the “wrong” side in black and added elastic at the hem and cuffs. The sleeve section can then be worn over or under the armhole, or even around the neck as a collar. One jacket, too many ways to count.
So I was out and about in this versatile number when I happened into a particular high-end bicycle equipment shop, like you do on a Saturday afternoon, where I happened to be served by a young man who was kind enough to pay it a compliment. Thanks, I said, I made it myself. Really? He’s made clothes too, in fact he’d trained at an English coat maker. We chatted for a few minutes about seam bindings and sewing machines and went our separate ways.
At this point, I’d more or less given up on any prospect of ever turning this into a viable business, but our conversation left me thinking. I went back to the shop a couple of weeks later and asked him if he’d mind meeting for a coffee and talking production. Sure, he said.
We had our first real conversation a couple of days before my last post here. Today I’m packing up my office in downtown Amsterdam and moving into a factory space close to the river with my sewing machines and my new business partner. The guy I met randomly in the bike shop, who said something nice about my jacket, turned out be a fashion graduate, a craftsman with some serious chops who’d come to Amsterdam from the UK because he wanted to make something too. And that, good people of YLF, is why you haven’t heard from me in a month.
UPDATE!! And I've landed. Packing went without a hitch at the weekend, almost everything has been moved and it's not even lunch time. As you can see, I've traded the balcony for a solid factory floor and a workspace in full daylight with bonus miniature mural. Now the fun starts!