For part of the year, we seem to spend more time in the production studio at Fashion Enter in London than anywhere else. There are meetings, toiles and prototypes, cutting, fittings, checking and more checking. It’s a fascinating process, a little nerve wracking at times, but thrilling too.
The design process that begins in the Longstaff Longstaff studio, goes through months of development to become a garment that changes how you feel the moment you put it on. Starting with a piece of heavy weight paper and a collection of tools and equipment from brushes, sponges, rollers and scrapers to scalpels, straws and bleach, the print design suddenly comes to life once it is on the silk.
The production world is quite different from time spent in the art studio. Technicalities dictate production speed and timing – how to cut the pattern pieces most efficiently from a length of fabric, cutting all the silk in the same direction so that the sheen matches, finding natural mother of pearl buttons that are the right size, shape and colour. We use a beautiful shade of smokey white, which picks up on hints of blue and purple.
Longstaff Longstaff garments are made individually rather than on a production line. Each skillful seamstress or seamster makes a garment from start to finish, often specialising in a particular style. With the patience of saints, the dexterity of surgeons, and the construction skills of engineers, they are our heroes.
After almost a year of development, a rail of silk waiting to be worn…