Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Mai

Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Mai

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Lifestyle, Manufacturer | 0 comments

In honour of Fashion Revolution Week we would like to introduce Mai, one of our valued sample machinists. Originally from Vietnam, Mai has lived in Australia since 1995 after closing a tailoring shop she ran for 15 years.Mai was recommended from a family member to take the big leap and move to Australia with the promise of good working conditions and pay.Once in Australia, Mai commenced working at a large fashion factory, and stayed loyal to this position for 16 years. This was a huge contrast to her small business in Vietnam, where clothes were measured from a body and then cut. In this 100+ employee factory, Mai learnt about technical elements of producing samples and manufacturing to Australian standards. Mai sees herself as very lucky, as once made redundant from her long time employment, she walked straight into a position at Sample Room. Julia recognised her experience and expertise quickly and hired Mai straight away. Now with Sample Room for over 2 years, Mai says the main difference between Sample Room and per previous position is that at Sample Room everything is done under one roof, where previously elements of development where shipped off-shore. This increased during her time there, when she started her first job in Australia the factory had 100+ employees, when she was made redundant this was halved.Here at Sample Room, we are huge supporters of Fashion Revolution Week and are glad we could share a snippet of Mai’s story. Our founder, Julia Van der Sommen cut her teeth in the fashion industry on the factory floor herself. So has a deep understanding of the importance of respecting the knowledge of her staff, regardless of the job they are...

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Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Sharon

Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Sharon

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Lifestyle, Manufacturer | 0 comments

Here at Sample Room we are proudly ethically accredited and value the importance of a safe and fair workplace. We have staff from all over the world including people local to Melbourne, creating a diverse and experienced team. Julia’s (founder of Sample Room) ethical practices are founded by the passion to respect the knowledge and skills people have. Coming from years of experience on the factory floor herself, she really understands the depth of knowledge and expertise the Sample Room team possess.We are very flattered to have been referred to as the “utopia of pattern development” by a number of people and work hard to keep this alive in our workplace.In honour of Fashion Revolution Week we have interviewed a valued member of our team, Sharon our Fabric Cutter.Introducing Sharon WickramarathneSharon has worked at Sample Room for almost one year, starting with us six months after arriving in Australia from Sri Lanka. Following the completion of a textile diploma in Pattern Making, he commenced his textile career in 1998 as a trainee Pattern Maker in a small factory where the main focus was school wear. This suburban factory had about 20 employees, and three short months after starting the traineeship his trainer went on maternity leave, which left Sharon to take the reins. The factory had strong safety processes, if a needle broke the staff would be required to return each piece of the needle or they would not be given a new needle to work with.From here Sharon moved to larger factories, where the buyers enforced approved conditions, keeping the factories to a satisfactory standard.Sharon noted that in Sri Lanka the textile industry is huge and there are also a large number of people to fill the jobs which can push the wages down, making it challenging to make enough money to support a family.The journey to Australia came with its challenges, mainly around language and also an expectation from employees to have local experience. So he was reliant on someone willing to give him a chance to build that sought after local experience. Six months into his job hunt, Sharon secured a job at Sample Room. With different systems and processes to what Sharon was accustomed to, his job role changed and developed shaping around the areas he excelled at.When asked what Sharon values the most about Sample Room his answer was “everything, it’s...

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FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

As part of our Fashion Label Launchpad program we have a group call with our Mentees to discuss challenges and questions they may have. It is also a great opportunity to chat with industry, and like minded people who are in the same position as you. Who knows what next great idea or inspiration will come out of the conversation! During our August catch up there were a range of great questions (and answers!) but let’s talk about the very first one “HOW TO CONTACT FABRIC AGENTS.”The reason I am choosing this topic, is because fabric sourcing is often one of the first questions we get asked when people first approach Sample Room. It is hot on everyone’s lips to say the least. Unfortunately we will not supply you with fabric. This would be an impossible task as there are 1000’s of fabrics and I believe that fabric should inspire your design process. This is far less frustrating than choosing a fabric that you can not find locally. We will however provide guidance in where to do and if a fabric is suitable.  So; how, who, where, what!? Let’s start with WHEREYou don’t need to find someone in your local state. If you choose the right agent and communicate your needs correctly there is no reason why you can’t use an agent interstate. Most fabric companies will have a local rep so please call and find out if there is someone near you. You could search overseas as well but keep in mind the shipping charges. To begin with, try not to think about having a fabric made up just for you as the minimum order qty will be out of your reach (often 20-60 rolls). Which leads us to HOWThis is the most important part. How you approach Fabric Agents and how you communicate your needs will determine your fabric success!I recommend the first contact made is via a phone call. But before you pick up the phone be prepared.Prepare yourself by:–Creating two moodboards; one for colour and one for styling- this is important to show the agent what you need  if you don’t know the names of the fabric-Detail, very specifically, who your target market is so they understand the price point and end look.-And, how will your target market be using your garment?-You might also like to find garments that use similar fabrics so show what you like.Have this at the ready and pick up the phone. Ok, so WHAT fabric do I need?Leave this up to the Fabric Agents! They are very knowledgeable, they ARE the experts in fabric. You can have a look through the range but if you give them an idea of what you are looking for from the above list then they will be able to suggest a variety of fabrics to suit.  If you follow the previously mentioned preparation steps they will be able to...

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