Do you ever think about who made your clothes?
In this post we will be showing you the people, places and processes involved in each step of our manufacturing process.
We are passionate about the welfare of the people behind our clothes - every step of the way. We are proud to state that all of the people who make our clothes in our UK factory and in our Turkish factory (where we produce our knitwear) receive the living wage or higher, have a 1 hour lunch break each day, have two tea breaks a day and have dry, safe and warm working conditions.
So! Without further ado, let's begin!
S A M P L E M A C H I N E S T
Our first step after designing a dress is a visit to our sample machinist, Julie. Julie makes one of every design in a collection (in every colourway) for us. This is a really important stage as it allows us to spot any mistakes and make any improvements before the we make the items that you will be buying. We're really lucky to have Julie - she knows an awful lot about sewing and is often on hand to advise us if we want to make chnages to our design.
C U T T E R
Once we are happy with our samples, the real action begins. We work with a small family-run factory based just outside London. The first step here is to cut the cloth. Satnam is our cutter and it's his job to lay and cut out our patterns on the fabric in the most efficient way. He also has to bear in mind the direction of the printed cloth... it's no good if all the flamingos are upside down on a dress!
We are passionate about limiting waste and Satnam helps us out here by collecting all the scraps left over after cutting out. We then turn these scraps into hairties, bows, bags and our famous fabric bundles.
M A C H I N E S T S
After cutting, comes the stitching! Our factory has a small team of expert machinists who carefully sew each garment together. Each machinist will work through one step for many of the same items at once. For example, a machinist might spend a morning sewing on sleeves to 20 dresses of the same print and style. This is the most efficient way of working. Luckily, we don't ever make terribly many of any of our dresses so there is quite a lot of variety for our machinists!
Once the dress is sewn, it needs to be pressed. Anyone who has made their own clothes before will know that pressing a garment transforms it. It is a vital stage of the process in order to get a beautifully finished product. Rakesh and Paul are our factory's Pressers. They make a merry team and do a really great job.
P A C K I N G & W A R E H O U S E
And finally comes the packing. Each item will be carfefully folded and then placed into one of our clear, biodegradable bags. Items are then sent up to our warehouse in Yorkshire (where Palava was founded and we used to be based) and handed over to our dispatch team - Katie and Zoe. These girls are just great. They carefully package your items in our iconic brown delivery bags when you place an order, keep an eye on stock levels and make sure that the your new garment reaches you in ship-shape condition.
For our main correspondence address, please contact:
8 Selkirk House,
Were It All Began...
Once upon a time... in a small town called Yarm on Tees there was a family owned shop called Strickland and Holt. To this day it is no ordinary shop and is well worth a visit if you find yourself nearby. Passed down through the generations since 1854 this small department store has taken many forms - from a wine and spirit merchants to a chemist to the gift, toy and clothing shop it is today.
In 1974 Stephanie Holt and her husband Michael left London and returned to Yarm to to see what they might do with the family business. Strickland and Holt became the birthplace of Poppy (now called Palava). Poppy initially made children's bedding from prints designed by local artists and it wasn't long before Stephanie and Michael were selling to the prestigious department stores Harrods and John Lewis. The company branched out into clothing and continued to make collections until the year 2000.
What Happened Next?
It was not until 10 years later that the youngest of Stephanie and Michael’s four children decided to bring Poppy back to life. Bryony moved back to the family shop and set to work.
Starting with children’s designs, Bryony began to draw her own illustrated prints, taking inspiration from the storybooks she had read as a child, such as Milly Molly Mandy and the storybooks of Eve Garnett.
Soon, Bryony's friends were asking about dresses for themselves and before long, the womenswear collection took shape.
Today and going forward
'Poppy' became 'Palava' a few years ago and Bryony now heads up a little studio in London rather than Yorkshire, but apart from that, the spirit of this little family business still remains. Stephanie and Michael still help out at the Yorkshire warehouse and the beautiful prints are still what Palava is known for.
We make clothes for real women and children - who live, love and laugh. Real women with real bodies and real lives. Real women who forget their keys and who have that extra slice of cake with their tea. Real children who have muddy knees and wild imaginations. We celebrate living colourfully and creatively and we will always do our best to bring an extra bit of joy to your day through our clothing.