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The Able Label clothes being designed to make dressing easier using a mannequin.

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.

  

Feedback

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.

 

Inspiration

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 East with love mood board 

Design

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.”

 

Technical Spec

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.

Fit session to make amendments on samples 

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.”

 

 The Able Label factory where our beautiful clothes are made

 

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!

 

The Verdict

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

Pretty patterns, comfy fabrics from The Able Label clothing

THE ABLE LABEL: MEET THE TEAM THAT MADE IT HAPPEN

We have been lucky enough to partner with some fantastic individuals who are expert in their industry as The Able Label builds up for launch. We invite you to meet some of the team who have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to make The Able Label what it is.
Katie Ellis, Founder
The Able Label Director, Katie Ellis
When she started The Able Label, Katie wanted to create a beautiful range of clothing, which had the added benefit of being extremely comfortable and easier to dress too.
Having previously worked for White Stuff as a Buyer, quality and attention to detail had been ingrained into her and she thought, ‘why not make these great clothes more accessible to everyone?’ So after seeing her grandmother find dressing become increasingly difficult due to Parkinson’s, she did. She created The Able Label.

Sally Bailey, Advisor
The Able Label, Sally Bailey
A guru in the fashion industry, Sally was previously the CEO at White Stuff and prior to that, was Brand Director at Miss Selfridge.
She is now writing a book on ‘Good Work: How To Succeed In Business Without Selling Your Soul’. With her wealth of retail knowledge and appreciation for socially aware businesses, she has provided invaluable support and guidance to The Able Label.

John Llewelyn, Garment Designer
The Able Label John Lewellyn
John has been designing for some of the biggest names in the business for almost 30 years. Now working on bespoke items, he has been vital in creating our designs, which not only consider style but also comfort and functionality for the end wearer. His vast tailoring experience has proved invaluable. As with everything The Able Label strives to do, attention to detail is at the heart of everything John does.

Nikki Rose, Garment Technician
The Able Label Nikki Rose
The extremely talented Nikki, has taken the designs and customer feedback on board to create the best fitting and most functional garment whilst maintaining style. She has also ensured that all garments are passing strict quality testing and been involved in garment fit sessions to create beautiful styles which are more comfortable and easier to get on and off.

Jo Fry, Marketing and Press
The Able Label Jo Fry
Previously working in PR for White Stuff and Jack Wills, Jo is now freelance and has helped us to let the right people know about The Able Label, so those who would benefit from the clothing, will hear about it.

Ian Murrells, Photographer
The Able Label Ian
Ian’s photography perfectly captures the style and essence of The Able Label. He specialises in fashion and portrait photoshoots so is an expert in capturing personality. This is perfect for us as we wanted to get across that The Able Label is a lifestyle brand – it is not about age or ability, it is about making the most of every situation.  

Mei An Collier, Stylist
The Able Label Mei An Collier
With an impeccable eye for style and a perfectionist attitude, Mei An helped take the The Able Label photoshoot from concept to assisting on the day.
Her enthusiasm and sheer love for the job, was contagious and got everyone motivated and meant we got all the shots we needed to on a very tight schedule.

Natacha Derian, Hair and Make-up
The Able Label Natacha Derian
Nat is an established international make-up artist who specialises in fashion. She has worked with a number of prestigious magazines including GraziaMarie-Claire and Cosmopolitan as well as working behind the scenes at London and Paris Fashion Weeks and red carpet events. This experience has shone through our fashion shoots with Nat keeping the models looking their best.

Nikki Belding, Hair and Make-up
The Able Label Nikki Belding
Making all the volunteers on our photoshoot look and feel their best, Nikki is one of our incredible hair and make-up artists.
With a vast range of styling ability, she has also worked on a diverse range of projects in the field, from the set at Holby City to creating masterpieces for Madame Tussauds.

Want to know how the team worked together to produce The Able Label's first collection? Coming soon is our blog 'from Research to Rail' - a look at every stage of the production of our garments and the promotion of it.