RESEARCH TO RAIL: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE ABLE LABEL FOUNDER KATIE ELLIS
Many people we speak to are curious to know the process we’re using to take The Able Label from design to dressing at home. Our Founder Katie gives us a behind the scenes peek at how the product is lovingly made and brought to you.
The real secret to The Able Label’s innovative designs – you! Everything starts from you, the customer. Numerous focus groups are created and carried out to really understand what is needed and desired from the range. Until this is clear, we cannot move forward. This is why before The Able Label launches, a whole year has already been dedicated to understanding exactly what people need and want from an adaptive clothing range before any design work commenced.
12 months prior to anything hitting the rails, we begin the season. From attending fashion shows and watching catwalks, to reading industry articles and going on shopping trips, we note key trends in colour, pattern, silhouette and fabric.
From key trends, a story is created for the season by our wonderful design team. They create moodboards and colour palettes to convey the story, which is used as inspiration to begin initial sketches. They will also consider the feedback provided to ensure key needs are met on each garment. This is how we are able to create fashionable yet functional clothing. The customer and attention to detail are at the heart of everything they do.
“Attention to detail is at the heart of everything they do.”
There will be several sketches completed before we select the best to take forward and sample. At this stage, our garment technician will work closely with the design team to create size specs which detail all key measurements. The sketches and size specs are all put into a technical specification ready to brief to our manufacturers in Portugal.
Sampling and Trials
Our manufacturer will create samples based on the technical specifications. Before we go into production, it is crucial to test the range through further focus groups and wearer trials as we want to be certain that nothing has been lost in translation from our initial feedback. With this feedback in mind, we carry out fit sessions on our fit model to make amendments. Another sample will then be made following these amendments until we are completely satisfied we have the perfect piece.
Testing and Production
Once happy with the samples, we then test them to ensure they pass key requirements to industry standard including colour fastness, spirality and pilling. Once we’re confident that all testing is approved, we can then give the go ahead for production commence.
“Once happy with the samples, we then test them to ensure they pass key requirements to industry standard.”
Shipment and Shop
Our quality controller will visit the factory to ensure the highest standards of quality are maintained before any order is shipped to our distribution centre. This is when The Able Label’s range is in-stock ready for you!
So, there you have it. The process from research to rail!
Here’s some feedback from two individuals involved in wearer trials - Michelle, an Occupational Therapist and Su, who had a stroke twenty-four years ago which resulted in a fixed flexion leaving use in only one arm:
“Clothing is stylish, comfortable, high quality, good value for money and enables independence”
- Michelle, London
“I love the clothes as they are pretty yet practical”
- Su, London