Satellite city is two months old now, so hopefully, you’ve had enough time to digest it and come up with your thoughts. I refrained from explaining anything as much as possible until now because I wanted people to form their own opinions. Now it's time to share how this all happened.
First, off I’d like to thank everyone that supported the collection via their preorders, orders and even just the people who participated in private viewings of the collection ahead of its release allowing me to verbalise all the thoughts in my head and hone in what I was trying to achieve exactly.
Multiple thought processes lead to Satellite City, some artistic some completely practical. I’ll start off talking about the practical aspects... there are insane supply chain issues in the world currently. We typically order fabric from our European suppliers and the fabric is produced and sent to us in around 7-9 weeks from the order being placed, this time we were told that the timeline would be approximately 7 months... well shit now we don’t have our bread and butter fabric till December what do we do?
Option 1 was to offer different and cheaper fabrics and continue making the same designs, but that felt like a huge "fuck you" to the consumer and me the designer too.
Option 2 was to offer different fabrics but change the whole brand approach at the same time, a far bigger risk but less of a "fuck you" to everyone involved. It would be like starting from day 1 all over again which was and still is scary. Only I can remember what I faced during the first few years of the brand's existence.
There were other options I won't bother explaining but overall option 2 made the most sense. It was the only option for me to push things further in a way that felt genuine.
So that’s most of the practical stuff out of the way now we move on to the artistic thought process. Since we’re starting again we can do essentially whatever we want. So the first thought was, let's drop all military references. Enough people are doing a great job at referencing the military, the state of the world is messy enough with all the violence going on and frankly, I'm almost 30 and have zero interest in dressing like a militant now. I just wanted to detach from that side of things.
So if we aren't going to reference the military what are we going to reference? Well, we’ve always referenced Indian garments in our designs so what if we just double down on that and make that the entire brand identity? Just take Indian garments and push them forward. We can reinvent the way these garments are cut and sewn and try and advance something that has seen little to no innovation in many decades.
Next up what's the format going to be? Should we do a collection or just continue doing monthly drops? I learned from my first ever drop that, initially it's important to release multiple items at the same time to allow people to understand exactly what you're going for. So collection it is, we can re-evaluate the format later on.
Alright, everything kinda coming together let's begin I guess? So I spent the next few nights (days were occupied by managing staff and workflow) searching my brain for the right way to cut these new garments. Because it's important to do this uniquely... before, our fabric set us apart... but now that we are on a level playing field in that aspect, we have to find another thing to be our backbone and give us pride in what we do essentially.
A few days passed and I had a rough idea on how to do the tops so we fired up CLO3D and gave it a whirl and it magically worked, so we began developing all the tops for the collection. The pants were always going to be harder, making cool pants isn't easy. Luckily I had a few unused ideas from years ago that we could finally implement. The ideas never made sense in the past because they aren't very fabric efficient, which would either waste our money since we used such expensive fabric, or we would have to charge way higher prices to make it viable. However, since our fabric price was coming down so drastically, we had some room to play with these old ideas.
A couple of weeks passed and I guess we had around 80% of the samples complete. Simultaneously I had in the back of my mind been making all the connections between the garments and ensuring cohesion and narrative. Everything was looking good. I learned a lot during these weeks.
The main things I learned that I would like to share are:
- For years I always let the fabric dictate the design because that was the nature of our work. For the first time, I was able to reverse that process and design first and find the appropriate fabric after that. I’m not sure how other people do this maybe that’s normal but for me, it felt different and, in a way, extremely freeing.
- Working on drops and a collection are two different things. When working on drops with 2 or 3 items a month, you tend to throw the entire pantry and kitchen sink at the garment. Overdoing a garment can happen so quickly that you don’t even realise it because you're hyper-focused on a small number of garments. Working on a collection on the other hand felt so much more relaxing and fulfiling, I was able to look at everything as a body of work rather than ‘I HAVE TO MAKE THIS 1 THING THE BEST THING’. Which again felt good.
- This whole experience reinvigorated my love for clothes again. I was becoming very formulaic in the way I designed until satellite city. There's a chance I was difficult to be around for the 2 months of satellite city development, you’d have to ask people around me for that information... because I was so consumed by what I was doing that I didn’t think about anything else for 2 months. Which to you may sound excessive but to me... I felt alive. It was amazing.
So we had a bunch of samples complete in random scrap fabrics and we knew our patterns and sizing was all gucci. The issue I ran into now was, we hadn’t had any of our usual imported fabrics for a few weeks, meaning we hadn’t sold anything... meaning we were depleting any and all capital we had. So how do we actually get the funds to put this thing out there?
So I decided to see if any of our loyal customers were interested in preordering anything from the collection in order to give us the funds to buy the final fabrics, produce, photograph and put satellite city out there. I started doing these private viewing video calls which would consist of me essentially showing the samples on a mannequin and explaining what the final fabric would be for each piece. The calls were around 45 minutes long each because I had a lot to say I guess. To my complete surprise, the very first call I did, the customer bought the entire collection outright, every piece.
I was working almost 14 hours a day during this period. Heres what those days looked like:
9:00AM – Wake up
10:00AM – Tailors and interns arrive
10:00AM to 6:30PM – Deal with them, coordinate tailors to work on pending orders or satellite city samples. Design collection with interns. Etc etc. And lunch somewhere inbetween.
6:30PM to 8:00PM – Relax and have dinner.
8:00PM to 1 or 2:00AM – Private viewings with clients (around 45 mins per call with a 10-15 min break between calls).
After around a week we had raised enough funds to purchase all the fabric/hardware we needed and we began production.
I’d love to explain the rest, but honestly the moment we began final production it was all gas no brakes and everything is a complete blur. One day we started production 2 weeks later we photographed, 1 week later it was out there.
The reception to satellite city has been overall solid, and I’m just happy people understood what we were going for based on all the messages I received about it. This has easily been the most fun ive had designing since I started the brand in 2015, and I am thankful for all the support people have given in any capacity.
That’s all for now, thanks again.