Silver Arts Award: Day 6 Summer Fashion School London

Where do the top designers go to get their samples made?
I walked over 17,000 steps today, much of it in the pouring rain, to find out.

Silver Arts Award: Day 6 Summer Fashion School London

Karl and Rachel don’t have a fancy website, they don’t do social media, and their sewing room is a tiny space in an industrial unit, near Battersea cats and dogs home.  Called Sienna Couture, all the top designers like Christopher Kane and Vivienne Westwood and department stores like Harrods, all go to them to get their samples made.  They are the best in the industry, but are also very modest, discrete and professional.  And they were very kind taking time out to explain their work, from pattern making, designing, working with very tricky fabrics from chainmail to rubber, as well as transforming 2D sketches into stunning ballgowns ready to wear.




Rachel showed me some of the clothes she had recently made. One took over 200 hours to do the embroidery on the bodice. It was all sewn by Rachel by hand. Another long sleeve silk blouse was as beautiful on the inside as the outside. In the shops it will sell for more than £900.

Rachel demonstrataff5ab1e88e6b48bb6037b6597f768e2f6a8cf45.jpeged how to inserts a concealed zip and how to sew a french seam.  Two techniques she says are important to master if you want to make clothes well.  A fascinating insight to a world I never knew even existed.

The remainder of the day was spent back in the studio finishing off my shorts and working on my sketchbook.

Challenge: sew lace round the bottom of shorts

This was quite tricky because I had already made my shorts so had to sew round in a circle.  If I was doing this again I would sew the lace on before I completed the side seams.  Still very pleased with how it turned out.

905126f6e4293f053044bfe56744ee0983e728e7.jpegIn the evening Clare Burgess came to talk to us about merchandising. She has worked for Top Shop and managed a budget of more than £300 million. I had never hear of merchandising before meeting Clare.  She explained the role of the buyer, designer and merchandiser in the fashion business and why it is important.  I will write this up as a separate blog.


Evie Wildish

Evie Wildish

I've completed my Bronze Award and am now working towards my Silver Award. I enjoy art, writing, fashion and would like to become a designer in the future.

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  • Luke Taylor

    On 13 August 2018, 11:10 Luke Taylor Contributor commented:

    It's really interesting that you got to work with other people.

  • The Summer Fashion School London

    On 13 August 2018, 11:30 The Summer Fashion School London commented:

    Wow, this is like a piece from Draper's Record! You didn't miss a single aspect of the visit to Sienna Couture. Your article is Where do the top designers go to get their samples made? Full of information and honest - I love your sub title!' I walked over 17,000 steps today, much of it in the pouring rain, to find out.' We were drenched!

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