Mentee’s Launch: The Feather Bird

Mentee’s Launch: The Feather Bird

Posted by on Jul 5, 2019 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Mentee | 0 comments

Our Mentee: Felicity Barras owner of The Feather Bird After finding a gap in them market, our past mentee Felicity Barras designed a range of gorgeous gender neautral children’s wear. Here is more about Felicity’s new label ‘The Feather Bird’ and time spent as part of Sample Room’s Fashion Label Launch Pad Program. What is your range about? The Feather Bird is a Melbourne based gender neutral children’s clothing label offering a range of fun and playful basics that can be worn by all kids. We are passionate about gender equality and the importance of facilitating this in children from birth. We believe that allowing kids to wear and play with whatever they want is an important step towards creating a more equal future for our children. The idea for The Feather Bird came about after we identified a gap in the market. We noticed that gender neutral children’s clothing typically falls within one of two categories: ranges using whites, greys and earthy tones, and the other featuring bright patterned t-shirts with feminist slogans and prints. Both of which we love, but we hadn’t been able to find a range of high quality basics that are comfortable, practical and encourage all genders to wear bright pastels…so we decided to make them! Who is it for? Our first range covers sizes 0-4. Made from organic cotton, not only will our clothes look great and feel soft on your young ones skin, but they are also gentle on the environment. We hope to see many young boys rocking our pastel pink and purple garments!     What did you do for a career before you started your label? Before starting the label I was (and still am) an Occupational Therapist working in brain injury rehabilitation. I am currently on maternity leave from this position and launched The Feather Bird just in time before the baby’s impending arrival! What is the biggest thing you learnt whilst working through the development process? The biggest thing that I have learnt is that there is just so much involved in starting a fashion label, and that’s where Sample Room has been invaluable. They make sure that nothing is forgotten and walk you through each step of the process. There is definitely no way that I would have been able to develop a range and launch without the support and guidance from Sample Room. What would you do differently if you did it all over again? I think the main thing that I would do differently is to back myself a little more, and just be more confident in my ability to design, launch a range and bring my dream to life. I was lucky that I had the encouragement of Julia and the team at Sample Room backing me and making up for my lack of confidence!     How can people buy your product?...

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As of today, we are changing the fashion industry forever…

Posted by on Jun 6, 2019 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How | 0 comments

  It has been five long years. PATTERNROOM.COM has been a dream of mine for a long time now. And there is a good reason why nobody has ever launched anything like Pattern Room before. Simply – it was hard. By no means have we been on an easy or smooth sailing road to lead us to launch Pattern Room today. I have lost count of how many servers we have moved to and then needed to upgrade once again, let alone website platforms that just couldn’t handle the mass that is Pattern Room. BUT we are there. PATTERNROOM.COM is live, housing 10,000’s of commercial-use-ready clothing patterns that myself and my team have individually designed, tested and perfected ensuring they fit a western size. We couldn’t be more proud of this feat. I really look forward to being able to facilitate new and established fashion labels to develop their range at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. For some, this will change their business model completely. For others, it will mean they can actually follow their dreams and launch a fashion label that they thought they were unable to fund. PATTERNROOM.COM is allowing me to also feed an inner passion to do something that matters. Something that has a positive effect on the environment, protecting this planet we all live on. I know first hand how much fabric is wasted in creating toiles and samples for custom developed patterns. From the fabric used in the garment to the offcuts. It adds up. So thanks to PATTERNROOM.COM one pattern can be sampled and perfected and then used multiple times without the need to be resampled. Furthermore – garments created from our patterns will actually fit a western sized figure. Meaning, clothes are far less likely to be purchased and then discarded due to a bad fit. And labels are more likely to sell their full production, again decreasing what ends up in the landfill. The ethical clothing movement has grown considerably over the last couple of years. And as our patterns are created by our ethically accredited fashion development house, Sample Room, labels using Pattern Room patterns have the opportunity to obtain their accreditation. So what is PATTTERNROOM.COM really all about? Here’s the rundown: An online catalogue housing 10,000’s of clothing patterns Downloadable and available in DXF, AI and PDF 0-2 weeks lead time Paper and card patterns available Sample making available We have tried and tested the patterns for Western fit   One question I have been asked is whether there is an issue of other labels having the same pattern. Think about it this way; we have over 10,000 variations of a t-shirt pattern. So not taking into consideration your fabric and design choices, it is VERY unlikely you will be able to identify another company using the same pattern as you. So whether you are...

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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 Wickramarathne Sharon 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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Today must be a slow news day. Fit Model Controversy!

Today must be a slow news day. Fit Model Controversy!

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Industry Know How, Industry Trends | 0 comments

This morning I have woken up to the controversy about fit models/receptionists roles within our industry. I believe that ignorance in many areas of life is caused by lack of education, so today it is my aim to provide some education, not only to those outside of the fashion industry, but also to those clients we work with every day, on the importance of fit models. Firstly, a fit model is not a photographic model. You will never see photos of a fit model in advertising. There may be numerous photos taken of your armhole, neckline or sleeve for the purpose of communicating pattern and fit issues but non require touch ups or make up. A fit model is solely for the purpose of fit and comfort and for immediate human feedback on issues that may affect the final customer (you) that cannot be obtained from a firm surface mannequin. I think we need to take a step back further in the process to truly understand the importance of this role, and why a company such as Lorna Jane would in fact need someone in this role, so much so that it may be the majority of their job description with some light duties in between, such as answering the phone. One of the first questions I discuss with all of our clients both in our mentoring program and as established companies is: who is your customer? Are you designing for an 18 year old or 45 year old, are they average height or tall? Are you trying to solve a fit issue that you have a problem with yourself such as big hips and small bust? Or are you just looking to fit to an Australian body shape in an industry of poorly fitting garments (see previous posts)? It is so important to establish this customer profile and more importantly to find a fit model that you can use for every fitting to ensure you are consistent in the fit of every garment in your range. With internet shopping on the rise it is essential that all garments in your range fit to a consistent measurement and shape to reduce returns and customer dissatisfaction. I strongly suggest that you do not fit on your own body. Unfortunately we are all very critical of our own body shapes and you will be not be able to look at the garment objectively. When choosing a fit model for your brand you are looking for the middle size of the size range. For Lorna Jane it is a size 10, so that when the pattern is graded up and down 5cm (made bigger and smaller) it will be the middle size of a 6,8,10,12, 14 size range. If you are working on a plus size range, that’s a size 18 model for a range of 14,16,18,20,22. They must have good proportions,...

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