For anyone unfamiliar with the inner workings of a reputable fashion brand, the pattern cutter plays a pivotal role in the development of every garment. Easy to spot in any studio, they’re the ones who spend their days with pins held between their front teeth and a tape measure casually draped around the neck. Rarely sitting down, these highly skilled craftspeople are the ‘roving reporters’ of the business; darting from one department to the next, seeking information about the latest samples and fabric deliveries, or crouching beside machinists to help solve problems with construction. They have a uniquely inquisitive brain that combines creative flair with advanced mathematics – a knack that makes it easy for them to think in 3D. A rare breed indeed.
Advances in production technology and the industry-wide drive to slash costs have resulted in a declining community of qualified pattern cutters. With few educational institutions offering dedicated courses to train undergraduates in this dying art, the onus now falls on the shoulders of companies like ours, who believe this type of expertise should be championed and nurtured in equal measure. In the first of our stories from the factory floor, we speak to Jo, a brilliantly smart and supremely talented pattern cutter with an unquenchable thirst to become a master of fit, flow and functionality.