What is Farandine? (part 1)

This is the first post of a series that will define what I want Farandine to stand for and be.

The article itself has been sitting here, waiting for over a month now because I wanted to create gorgeous visuals for this series. But truth be told, I don’t have neither the time nor the money to make the visuals as good as I want them to be, so I’ve been battling with the age old dilemma of the perfectionist designer: create something beautiful or don’t put up anything at all vs the need to illustrate words. The perfectionist won – the words are what’s important, at least for now, so here goes.

Walking away from a nameless process

I see the way things are usually done these days as nameless. First, the designer(s) create a design, which is sent to a company (that tends to be far away) to be manufactured. There is little to no link between the designers and the ones who make the clothes. They don’t talk, or exchange any sort of knowledge. Then the clothes come back and are sold to the masses. I don’t mean to be rude by this, it’s just how it feels. There is a target audience for each piece or company, but it is anonymous people who fit a certain demographic.

The way I want to do things is really quite different. To start with, I want to work with a local manufacturer. Local is a bit vague right now, it either means European as manufacturing in Denmark would be far too expensive and virtually impossible for a small company with little-to-no money and small production runs, or US-based. I know, the US can’t be considered local by any stretch, but it may very well be by the time things are concrete and have reached the manufacturing stage. In any case, what’s paramount, are the ethics of the people running the company and the working conditions of the people working there.

I also want to know who the clothes are made for. Yes, they will be designed, just like any other designer tends to, with a target audience in mind, rather than specific individuals. But I do however want to go into the manufacturing stage for actual people. I’ll explain how I plan on doing that in more detail over the next point.

Getting rid of the wasteful and anonymous pre-production process

On top of its anonymity, one thing I’d like to change, is the guess work that comes from the pre-production process. The vast majority of apparel companies estimate how much they will sell of each piece. We all know this leads to huge stock, and potential waste of money, let alone resources.

What I’d like to do to is to completely turn the way things are done. My plan is for each item to be available as pre-orders. So once the collection comes out, one can pre-order any piece one wants up to a certain date. Then and only then do we send the collection to be manufactured. This means we would only be producing/making the amount of clothes and sizes that will go to customers. Each item is made for a person, and for that person only, making the process a person to person one.

Yes, that means that items are only available for a limited amount of time; once the pre-ordering phase is over, it isn’t possible to order any more, unless there are returns. And customers who ordered come first for size exchanges. Yes, this limits sales and cash flow, but, as little business-minded as it may sound, money isn’t why I want to start Farandine. I want to create an ethical, respectful, human label and clothes that are desirable, period.

 

That’s it for the first two points, if anything is unclear or you have  questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I want to be as transparent as possible.

About being open

In my last post, I outlined a number of things I believe aren’t right with the way today’s fashion industry works, but never mentioned how I propose Farandine improve on them. Or what exactly I want Farandine to be for that matter.

I am writing a series of posts that will address all of this, but I want to be thorough, so each post will take a bit of time to write. In the meantime, I’d like to talk about something important to me, transparency.

Before I get started and to illustrate my point, here is a picture of some of my notes regarding the initial concepts for Farandine. These are all the broad lines of what I have in mind at the moment.

I will be posting about my ideas and plans for Farandine as precisely as possible. Talking about the initial concepts, the progress, the road blocks, the iterations and changes, all of it. With no reservations. And this means running the risk of somebody else taking my idea and developing it before I get to. While it is a scary prospect for sure, one that would’ve actually stopped me from being open in the past; I find that I wouldn’t be all that devastated if that were to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly passionate about Farandine and believe it can have a positive impact on the world (given the size of the industry I’m entering, I’ll take a slight tremor as a huge victory). And that is, as a matter of fact, the whole point! As long as Farandine or its equivalent happens, I’ll be happy. May this slight tremor be mine or somebody else’s. It’s not a race against entrepreneurs, creators, founders, designers or whatnot. It’s an adventure to help people, to help the environment, to help relationships, to help us slow down and appreciate what we have, to better and longer lasting clothes that we love and feel good wearing.

And I want to carry this transparency all the way, through being open to questions and critique, through the knowledge of where we source everything we use and make. I want to be transparent when things aren’t going the way I planned, when I have to make compromises and go back on my initial intentions if they are not possible at the time.

It all starts with a crazy idea

My name is Chris, and I want to change the world. Quite the opener, isn’t it?

I’ve had this idea in my head for a few months now, turning it over and over, allowing it to grow and evolve. Although I don’t believe it’s done evolving or ever will be really, now is the time to put it out there. I would’ve held off a while longer, if it weren’t for Fashion Revolution Week which started a few days ago. I don’t think there could’ve been a bigger flashing neon sign saying ‘Get on with it already!’ than that.

Anyway, out with it! I want to change the fashion industry; turn it upside down actually. I want to create a label/company that removes the pre-production guessing game and wasteful mass production of clothes. One that removes the anonymity, but instead emphasises and respects the people who stand on both ends of each new piece of clothing, the maker and the buyer. A company that encourages careful thought and long term happiness rather than short-lived gratification, even if that means making fewer sales. A company that only produces a handful of items each season, that all work together, allowing for the pieces to create a cohesive wardrobe, rather than a mashup of whatever is trendy right now. A label that is open about everything, including its patterns, and has them out there along with the clothes. I know, it sounds utopian, but I’d like to give it a try.

Today’s fashion industry tends to lack transparency, ethics, quality and honesty. It’s mostly in for the big bucks and doesn’t care about who and what it destroys along the way. This is wrong and needs to be changed.

This blog is going to be a journal of sorts, where I chronicle the making of this company. Share the details of what I want Farandine to be, and what I’m doing to achieve it all.

Quote by James Altucher