Fashion Revolution - Who makes your clothes?
It was #fashionrevolutionweek back in March, and we shared on Social Media how we make your pieces and the things that we do to keep our company as sustainable as we can.
We are a brand that is happy to have beautiful stories in our closet and not skeletons. During Fashion Revolution Week I introduced you to the HUMAN BEINGS who MAKE YOUR CLOTHES. Every item of clothing you own has been through the hands of someone else at a machine, have you thought about that?
Most of our pieces are hand made to order in our studio in Brighton by my small team, this way we don’t make unnecessary garments and fill the studio with stock. But during the Summer months we are at our peak with orders, and to be able to keep up and keep you all colourful in the pieces you want, we have small batches of our most popular lycra pieces made at a workshop in London. They make the pieces to a really high standard and I am in touch with the managing director Siah the whole way through the process.
We cut out all of the pieces in the studio and here they are also all overlocked at the seams, then sent to Siah’s studio to be finished with fringe and trims added, using their special machines to cover stitch the edges. I’m really happy that even when we have to get work done outside of the studio, it is still within the UK, where we are able to maintain quality control and not have fabrics and boxes shipped thousands of miles around the planet.
Time to meet the Team in the studio!
Kitty is my right hand woman, and does a huge variety of jobs at L.O.M. Since starting as an intern in 2016 she has been trained to do so many different jobs and kills it at all of them. She manages all of the orders for a start, as well as cutting and overlocking all of our lycra pieces, packing and shipping, quality control, maintaining order in the studio and being my mind reader! It would be chaos without her! Every order placed with L.O.M goes through Kitty’s hands before it makes it way to you.
Ash is L.O.M’s main Seamster, if you have pranced around a field in one of our Lycra pieces, this guy has probably made it. With a background in couture sewing and a taste for the more macabre style, it might be surprising that he is the one putting the finishing touches to all your rainbow rave dreams, but its true! He has been a loyal L.O.M team member for years, and regardless of his taste for the darker side, Ash puts so much care and attention into all of our multi coloured madness, and has made 1000's of pieces that have partied round the globe!
Hannah has been with us for a year now, and is our kimono specialist! Making all of your sequin dreams come true. Knowing how to work with these fabrics can be tricky and time consuming, and Hannah has it down. During the colder months when less kimonos are required and you guys opt for more practical items of clothing, Hannah is making our dungarees and dungaree dresses! She has been a fantastic addition to our team, with an eye for detail and determination to make your pieces to the highest quality she can.
This colourful cutie, Sophie, is the newest member of our team, she began with us when I needed an extra hand to help us make the new collection, and now joins us occasionally in the studio. She specialises in all of our hand made pieces; harnesses, jewellery, hand sewing sequins and beads, and a very important job at L.O.M, our rainbow pom pom maker!
Hi! I’m Louise! Founder and designer of L.O.M. My role in the brand has changed a lot over the last year. I now split my time between the Brighton studio and my little Berlin office; it can be a tad hectic at times, but I am happy that I now live a life with relatively normal working hours, in a city that I love, whilst maintaining a connection to the country that we have most of our wonderful customers in, and still being able to provide jobs in the UK fashion scene.
I finally have the time to spend properly working on new designs and prints, organising projects around the world, replying to customers, keeping on top of the crazy amount of admin that comes with running a business and maintaining our social media channels and marketing.
When L.O.M started I was doing everything, it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get L.O.M to where it is today, and that would not have happened without my amazing team and supportive family and friends, and of course, all of you amazing customers. You believed in me and loved my art, I thank you from the bottom of my heart that you allow us to create for you, that you are willing to invest a bit more money into something that is made with love, care and attention, and that your money isn’t buying someone a second home or third car, but is enabling creative small businesses to keep doing what we are doing.
I have been given the opportunity to be sold by big name high street and online stores, but it would not have kept up with my values of having things hand made in the UK, knowing that people are getting paid properly and using sustainable methods of production, reducing our waste as much as possible and recycling our studio waste.
I started to design my own fabrics without any training. I taught myself how to use photoshop, create repeat patterns and form prints to sit with my collections. I wanted to design my own fabrics not only because I had the urge to create the imagery, but also as a necessity to have a unique selling point that other brands could not steal or copy. My print patterns have become the distinguishing feature of our designs, recognisable and automatically connected to our label. That is a true symbol of design success, and I am really proud of it.
When I began 5 years ago, I used photographs, which I then digitally manipulated to create a design and a repeat. As my skills and confidence grew I pushed myself to try new ways of creating designs and imagery. Last year I did a short course at Central St Martins which helped refine my self taught skills and develop new ones.
Waste and Recycling
In our studio, the most waste comes from fabric off cuts that can’t be used and go to landfill - I’m really happy this year that we have managed to find some solutions for this. Our sequin kimonos are very popular but they each have small offcuts to make them the right length, I have kept them over the years and incorporated them into my designs in my new collection, so now there is minimal waste from our sequin fabric.
I created some pieces that are designed with very small percent of offcuts, like our festival poncho, kimonos and tulle skirt. Our tassel cape is made with remnants from some Marc Jacobs fabric that I found. I also designed a few smaller pieces that can use offcuts of our Lycra to create as little waste as possible.
And now, with the reduced offcuts that we DO have, we donate to one of our freelancers Sophie Molyneux which she will use to fill her soft printed items for her projects.
We also try to recycle as much studio waste as possible. We end up with lots of packaging from ordering materials, fabrics, studio supplies and everything in between. We didn't throw away any of the packaging and decided this year to reuse it all to send out to our orders to customers. Thank you to all the customers who put up with our fugly packaging over the last two months! We have now used up almost all waste plastic in the studio by recycling it into packaging for your orders, and now we have moved onto this awesome packaging by @noissueco! ITS 100% COMPOSTABLE!! And still secure enough to ship your pieces to you safely. I know you loved our holographic bubble bags, but as fab as they were, we could no longer ignore that we were shipping out 100’s of parcels in heavy plastic and needed to switch to an alternative. We also got some of their eco friendly tissue paper covered in our logos! The paper is Acid and sulphur free which means when dissolved it yields a neutral pH, and the ink is soy ink, which is more environmentally friendly. The mail bags themselves can even be composted at home, so you could use it to hold food scraps and other compostable items until you are ready to throw them away! Magic!
It’s becoming widely known that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter after farming. Fast fashion is damaging the planet at an insane rate. We want to reduce our impact of this as much as possible. Don’t buy shit clothes that you will wear a few times before they are out of style or fall apart - and don’t think you are doing the world good by donating that crap Primark top to a charity shop, so many donations of these poorly made things end up in landfill. Buy things that you LOVE, that are made well. Yes they will cost more money, but they will last you longer and you will treasure them more.
Our pieces are more expensive than the high street, but there are reasons for that. We use the highest quality fabrics and have them printed at one of the best printers in the country. Everything is made in the UK and to a very high standard, with quality control checked throughout. We don’t regularly ship boxes and boxes of fabric and stock back and forth thousands of miles round the world. We make most things to order, so we don’t have dead stock and unnecessarily use fabric.
The photos of our fabric do not do it justice, but anyone who has bought a piece knows as soon as they touch it, this isn’t your average material. Our fabric doesn’t go see through when stretched, it barely fades and our pieces are so well made they will last you through several festival seasons.
Also, we might be a festival brand, but I want to encourage you to wear L.O.M all year round, don’t be scared to wear colours off the festival field, the tops and playsuits look great with jeans, the printed flares with a plain tee and you can dress the pieces up for nights out too! Make the most out of them!