Design, sourcing, development, prototyping and finally sampling. Our plan is always on-time, but the delivery of the samples is mostly out of time.
Lockdowns, strikes, freight price-hikes, BREXIT customs controls and the occasional courier that skips our address for a day or two, means more often than not, we must drive to our factory to pick up the last samples.
And that’s before the prep day and the day of the photoshoot. Leading up to it, we have another parallel wave of castings, studio or location bookings, hair and make-up, photographer meetings and decisions from what colour backdrop we should use to what train the team should take to our location shoot.
Our first photoshoot took place May 2016 in London and our tenth one in Surrey Hills on June 2022. Twice a year we go through the same process and twice a year the anxiety levels never seem to abate. If it’s not a transportation strike, it’s the hottest day of the year. If it’s not a broken leg, it’s the lack of heaters. We’ve had birthdays, anniversaries, or days before baby deliveries during some of these photo shoots.
What looks glossy, effortless, and copacetic in front of the camera, is rarely more than a couple of sentences away from a cry-laugh or the infinite use of f words as both verb and adjective. One-minute Teenage Dream, the next Endless, Nameless (the 1991 live version).
And then the shoot starts. Five hours after we’ve woken up. Steam, match, outfit, pair the accessories, correct the hair, do it all over again. 80 or so times, switching lenses, cameras, sound to make each shot better than the last one. And to think this is the culmination of a 9-month team effort and the hight of fun in a year were
chasing orders, payments, factories, and late mills’ deliveries is the norm,
gives you a dose of pragmatism and perspective.
Despite all that, shoot day is by all accounts the most exciting and rewarding day for us. Not from a narcissistic point of view. Not by a mile. It’s exciting because we see for the first time our cerebral inspirations expressed and materialised into unique yet wearable clothing. We can pinpoint with surgical accuracy the moment we asked for a specific gauge on that polo on a busy Tuesday afternoon 5 months ago and we now see it in flesh, on the flesh. Or we can remember the time we had that idea on using a crochet knit we saw on a pair of old fingerless cycling gloves, into an oversized polo top, thinking it will look odd, but it looked cool and unique.
And the best part?
When one of our models speaks about how smooth and nice it feels on the body, after they’ve walked or modelled for far more recognisable and luxury brands than ours, a week ago.
That right there puts a smile on our face. Every time.