This Fashion Revolution week, we wanted to highlight the many hands that are involved in making a garment and the importance of each and every worker within that journey, without whom we would not be able to do what we do.
For any business striving to be sustainable, there is a need to have full traceability and transparency of their supply chain, otherwise how can you appreciate the lifecycle of the garment, and the true cost associated with that.
Since inception, Riley Studio has always believed in radical transparency, and we are proud to display each stage of a product’s provenance on our website, for all to see.
So for 2022 Fashion Revolution Week, and as part of our wider Meet The Maker series, we are excited to introduce you to our specialist knitwear factory, Albion Knitting, and take you through the production journey of our recently launched Organic Cotton Cardigans, part of our latest Spring drop, where we celebrate the talented workers within Albion Knitting.
The journey of our Organic Cotton Cardigan
Entering our third season with Albion, one of the great benefits of working with them is that they are based here in London, less than nine miles from our studio, allowing us the opportunity to visit them regularly throughout the production process.
We went to visit them in March as our Green Organic Cotton Cardigans were on the production line, to see how everything was getting on.
Stage 1: Digital Programming
Every individual style has a different programme, its own DNA code, which the Stoll machine’s uses to knit the garment’s panels. This is the first step of the product’s journey. Sara does all the digital programming at Albion, a very specialised and unique role - it will make your eyes go square looking at the screen for too long!
Stage 2: Linking
After the panels of the cardigan have been knitted, they head over to the Linking team. Here Cloudy works on our Cardigans, an expert linker from China, where she connects the pieces together - so it starts to look more like a Cardigan!
Stage 3: Garment Tying
Once the cardigans have been linked, they head over to hand sewing where Julia works on garment tying - making sure there are no loose threads or holes. An essential role!
Stage 4: Mending & Fixing
Should Julia find any issues with the cardigans, they are sent over to Ceci, who mends any snags or unwanted holes. Her skills are becoming increasingly rare - doing invisible mends, impossible to see to the naked eye.
Stage 5: Cup Seaming
There are typically weaker points when knitting a cardigan, usually under the arm, so Albion have a specialist cup seamer, Alina, who goes over the linking to make sure it is completely sealed, to make sure it will stand the test of time.
Stage 6: Washing & Pressing
Once the Albion team are happy with the cardigans, they head to washing and pressing where Bow makes sure they are pristine before the final stages of production.
The final wash is an important part of the journey, to give it the luxurious soft handle.
Stage 7: Button Application
We have always been obsessed with buttons at Riley Studio HQ, so it’s no surprise that when Eleanor applies our favourite milk protein buttons we want to hang around and watch!
Stage 8: Labelling
Nargis takes over from Eleanor to add the branded labels onto the cardigans. We use a stitch machine which gives them more stability and allows the team to get through more in a shorter amount of time.
Stage 9: QC & Packing
Finally the cardigans are taken to QC and Packing, where they get a final once over to make sure everything is ready to be shipped. Watching Geni fold and pack a cardigan looked easy, so we gave it a go and the results certainly wouldn’t pass her QC! Turns out packing and folding is quite an art. One we will leave to Geni.