chapter 1.

communal sewing table

Our studio in Mumbai is like an open-kitchen for production. Designers, customers, tailors, and masters all exist and thrive in the same little space bringing the concept of ‘farm to table’ to life.

We use the reference of the open kitchen because the food industry has made more progress than the fashion industry, in terms of customer awareness and demands dictating better production standards and healthier supply chains. Fashion still lacks open communication between retailers, brands, designers, producers and farmers—so that it is not just a ‘squeeze’ game.

We believe visibility of production should be volunteered by brands as an industry standard or at least on an e-commerce level, like a portal, if not physically. This serves as a fantastic opportunity to communicate with the customers and appeal to their new desire to learn: how and where things are made?

chapter 2.

takumi approach to tailoring

The age old Japanese practice of Takumi artisan training involves learning by seeing and doing, to get to the next stage of mastery. Stages of mastery are essential to ‘maker’ growth and satisfaction (is what we have learned from the ten years of experience we have with our own tailoring atelier).

At our studio, frequent cutting, pattern-making and imagination workshops are embedded into our production schedules. In addition to this we always have two masters tables, even though we only have one master, the other table is to give the tailors a rotating opportunity to play assistant master.

Imagine spending 8 hours a day repeating the action of stitching one pocket on a shirt over and over again. Workers are reduced to machinery; yet huge investments are made towards smarter technology. Is it time to start investing in human intelligence again?

chapter 3.

open kitchen for clothes

Obataimu literally means, ‘overtime’ in Japanese factory speak. We re-interpret the word through a future lens, as the ‘extra-time it takes to marry pleasure with productivity. Currently production systems are assembly lines, designed around robotic efficiency and basic labour standards. They are not designed around upward mobility, learning, fun or growing skill sets. Fashion production is not designed as a communal sport. Why?

Weaving and sewing are traditionally communal activities, like cooking and eating. We added the yellow table top to create a sense of optimism gathering. Work space design and culture is given so much thought at a corporate level, but really missed at production levels, showing a lack of care for those on the lower end of the chain.

We designed a communal sewing table for our tailors to face each other and did not prescribe any rules. Interestingly enough, we found not only do we often walk in on laughter, but they were just as productive and in fact quality improved because they watch, help and guide one another.

chapter 4.

after hours at the factory

After hours at the model factory could be used for music events, gatherings on consumption and unrelated discussions too just for fun, as a way to create community a few times a month.
Our space is designed as transform in different ways to accommodate various production, design and extra-curricular activities. Something about being in a cosy space of making and research seems to give a thrill to guests and inspire them.
If we had more space we would have extra machines and pattern making tables for independent makers to come and co-work with in a material library of specialised textiles and an array of colours.

We need a New World
That is our Old World
But through the Eyes
Of a New Lover.

We are all how we breathe
How we sleep.

How we make,
How we use,
How we re-use.

We are all what we eat,
What we read,
What we listen to,

What we do
What we won’t do.

We need to actively explore alternatives.
We need to cross-pollinate,
Pause and Invent Again.

No cloning, No fixed maps,
No vamping for likes,

No gold-rush for more
Just for the sake of more.

The Fabric of Our Little Community
Will Grow.
Stitch by Stitch,
Tree by Tree.

At the Epicentre of
Disappointing Global Politics,
Exposed Legends, Diluted Dreams,
and Pillaged oceans:

is Consumption.

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