Behind the scenes at STUDY 34...

January blues, hidden entrepreneurs and a new book for your reading list

January blues, hidden entrepreneurs and a new book for your reading list

It’s a new year and, I’ve decided, time for a new concept for the STUDY 34 blog.

As I often encourage people to take an interest in the story behind their clothes, I feel I should be writing more about what happens behind the scenes of STUDY 34 and what it’s like to run an independent fashion label. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

So here goes…

January is dark and slow in most offices and it’s no different at STUDY 34. But the lack of activity makes it a great month to reflect on the previous year and plan for the next.

The end of 2017 bought the exciting news that STUDY 34 was in a book… yes, a real one that you can actually touch and buy in a shop. Flip through to the resources section of ‘Dress [With] Sense’, produced by Hong Kong based NGO Redress (Thames & Hudson) and you’ll find STUDY 34 cosying up to Stella McCartney. Not a bad place to be…

Despite the quiet, January is a design heavy month. All the new jumpers that will come out in the autumn have to be imagined, sketched and sampled around now. While retaining the focus on versatile wardrobe basics made responsibly, 2018 will bring new colours, necklines and fibres to STUDY 34 customers…

redress dress with sense book ethical fashion

Dress [with] Sense, Thames & Hudson

But there’s so much to do before then!

Working backwards from launching a style, you have to think, based on customer feedback, what the new design should be, what it will be made of (which fibres to use and where they come from) and how the customer will wear and care for it. It must be designed and costed with both the label and customer in mind. A sample must be made and tested by wearing and washing it. I must decide what colours and sizes the new design will come in and place the order for production. I need to calculate production time and start thinking about how, where and when it will be photographed as well as how, where and when it will be sold.

You have to be almost always thinking ahead when trying to grow a label.

Robin Roth, CEO of Traidcraft recently echoed this at the launch of Traidcraft’s new Hidden Entrepreneurs Campaign this month by saying entrepreneurs must ‘always look to the future but remember to always come back to today’.

traidcraft women business fashion entrepreneur

Traidcraft's Hidden Entrepreneur Campaign launch panel

I was pleased to be part of Traidcraft’s panel marking the launch of this campaign last week. The campaign focuses on helping entrepreneurs who have the ability and the willpower to succeed in business, but do not have access to the necessary opportunities to do so. What drew me in particular to the campaign was its focus on gender equality: ‘Talent, determination and potential are not determined by gender – but opportunity often is. The barriers women face – like limited access to education, legal discrimination or just what society expects – mean they are often the most hidden of entrepreneurs.’

Discussing the different challenges women running businesses face around the world was a prominent and interesting part of the discussion.

You can read much more about the campaign here

As January draws to a close and a lighter February approaches, samples will arrive to be tested, decisions on shapes will be finalised and the quest towards developing a better fashion industry will continue at STUDY 34.

To paraphrase the author Bob Proctor, if you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.

Have a happy February,


p.s. Sign up to my new mailing list here to stay up to date with what’s happening at STUDY 34. Otherwise from May onwards, following the introduction of new GDPR regulations I will no longer be able to send you any news!

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