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How to Start a Techwear Brand: Part 6, Pattern Please


It's probably around the end of April 2015 at this point. I’m feeling quite conflicted about moving forward after my sit-down with someone from the industry. However, all that is about to change when I see the final sample of Garuda’s first pants (Sipahi Pants). I’m ready to go all in. This is probably because when I was starting I was remarkably bad at stepping away from the design and analysing it critically without attachment…

Pants sample

It’s been around 2 weeks since my first visit to the workshop, I’m heading back there to pick up the second sample of the pants now. 

I take a seat in the office once again and wait for the pattern maker to bring me the sample and pattern. She comes in and we chat for a bit, mainly about how challenging they found the design to execute. She offers some advice such as “try to be more vigilant about how many layers and folds of fabric you’re incorporating because obviously, the machinery can only handle so much”… I say “sure” thinking to my self “yeah whatever show me the sample let's do this!”.

She gives me the sample and almost instantly I ask her to leave the office so I can try the sample on and have a moment alone with it. I put the sample on one leg at a time (that's right, I'm just like you) and approach the mirror… “god damn Suhail, you’re the man” I think to myself. Cut? Nailed it. Pockets? Nailed it. I take a couple of photos on my iPhone 4, switch back into my APC jeans, and call the pattern maker back in. I think the best business practice is to probably act cool and not show too much excitement, I do the complete opposite of course. 

pants illustration

Then I ask to see the pattern because after the mishap discussed in part 3, that’s what I’m most interested in. The pattern maker pulls it out and walks me through each section, to both her and my surprise I understand it instantly, barring one question about why the crotch is curved the entire thing makes perfect sense to me. Bear in mind this is the first time I’ve seen a clothing pattern for something I designed myself ever, call it talent, call it luck call it gods plan, whatever helps you sleep at night. 

At this point I ask her word for word “so making clothes is just joining 2D pieces of fabric to make a 3D item?”, she had a blank look on her face and fumbles for a second and replies “well there’s more to it than that, but yeah I guess you’re right”. 

Okay, lets sidebar for a second, 5 years deep I recognise that I boiled the art of making clothes down to a ridiculous degree when I made that statement. Of course like any other skill, there are levels to this. I’m average at best in my own eyes, I can by no means produce a pattern or design on the level of Comme Des Garcon, but what I’ve also learned 5 years deep is that sometimes you don’t need to know everything. Sometimes all you need is the knowledge to move forward until the next roadblock then rinse and repeat. It's not about having all the answers, sometimes you don’t even have to have all the questions, you just have to find a way to move forward.

pants illustration

Back to storytime: I make the payment for the sample and pattern, and head off on my merry way, before being stopped and asked “Do you need grading too?”… Oh god… “you mentioned grading last time but what does that actually mean?” I reply… she answers "Grading is how you produce different sizes". Considering I just blew half my paycheque on these pants I tell her I’ll pass for now and get the grading done when I come to drop off the next design for sampling and head off. 

Two samples down, filled with confidence I smoke a cigarette in the car park and start plotting the next design to drop off. Then I remember my conversation a couple of weeks ago about margins and pricing and decide I need to have a conversation with myself and make a few crucial decisions about how Garuda will operate and sustain itself. Find out how that all went in part 7.

<- Part 5 / Part 7 ->

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