Monday, 15 December 2008

Bullit Jazz Scene

Just been to pick up some patterns and was chatting to a friend about scenes from films and we got chatting about various scenes. For Albam, Steve McQueen is and will always be a legend. This scene from Bullitt is something of a forgotten scene but brilliant. No words, just eye contact. Nothing to do with clothes but just great.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Knitting machines and Christmas Trees

On my way back I dropped into our knitwear factory to have a cup of tea and see how the top up cable knit hats and scarves are coming along. Well they are due in next week and are looking great.

What caught my eye, apart from the festive additions to the factory was the linking machine. This is the cylindrical machine in the images that attaches the sleeves, ribbing, body and other trims together making the seem invisible.

Linking takes great skill, so much so that each loop of the knit has to be hand applied to the machine and then for the joining part before they can be fastened together. Great skill, and a real craft. Something that unless trained we would not be able to do.

When I left I just thought how much skill has been lost and with it the personal satisfaction of making a garment that someone will wear. Not sure that stacking all the shelves in the world could give you that feeling.

Jeans coming through!

We have gained a great following for our Japanese denim jeans in the last month or so. So much in fact that it wiped out our stocks of them! I dropped by our secret denim plant today and saw them starting to take shape. From an unassuming 29" wide roll of denim these great Anglo/Japanese jeans are made.

We have a new style being put into work next week, based on our chino but in denim for those who want a jean/chino hybrid but slightly more formal. They are looking good so keep checking back.

New Scissors

Got some new shears today!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Little cafe on Essex Road

Early morning breakfast on Essex Road this Saturday, then onto some furniture stores on Marylebone High St and Monocle's little store. London feels like it is starting to do some good!

Albam Leather Goods - Made by Hand in England and coming into the store from now.

I nipped into our leather factory last week and went round to see our pieces being made, sampled and to chat to the guys and girls making each piece. It is amazing, each piece is made by hand, using old, authentic machinery that is manually operated and produces each piece from a "hide" individually sourced from well fed, expertly reared cattle in Argentina. The quality of the bag goes back to the leather and how the animal was fed and looked after.

Anyway, I have included some images of each piece of a bag being cut out from the leather and also the "clicker" starting the process for the belts. So lovely to see people enjoying what they are making and making something with so much pasison and enthusiasm. 40 people are employed here, a fraction of a larger off shore factory but each piece has an attention to detail that gives it a unique characteristic rather than an "identikit" product.

Again, great people, great factory and all an hours drive from London, who would have thought it!

A time for winter woolies

Another town in the Midlands and another of our great factories. One of the last knitwear manufacturers in the UK of its type we think and they are great. Solid, crafted knits and a lot of stories and great hours spent here. Still a family concern and just the way we like it.

Perhaps with increased heating costs and this cold weather we are experiencing there has never been a better time to wrap up in some English crafted knitwear made from real wool rather than a synthetic blend.

Over the course of the next few months we will be putting together a great piece with our friend and great photographer Mr Spinks. We want to shed some light on English manufacturing, the power it once held within the world, its demise through peoples desire for consuming cheap, inferior products, the effects this has on the economy (maybe just read the papers and have a little think) and also the light that we see at the end of the tunnel. Those who actually make have great skills that they and we don't realise until it has gone and things fall apart.

The final showcase for this hasn't been decided but we want to show how great it is to create a garment and celebrate those who make it and encourage more people to do the same.

Trouser Ray.

Ray has worked with us from the very very beginning, when Albam was an idea and there was only one in the team. He makes our samples, works through patterns with us and generally gets each garment started with us before it goes to be produced.

He operates from a secret location in the Midlands and is vital to everything we do. Good tea, a ringtone of the crowds at "The mighty forest" and then on with the work! Thanks for your support Ray.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

New thoughts, new things.

Here at Albam we hope that we provide you with what you want just before you realise you need it so you get something new and just what you are looking for.The more organic process we have for design means we put ideas down when we get them and work on them more freely. There aren't seasons at Albam and this is reflected in how we produce garments, rather like the way one choses to shop, when you need something and when it is there.

Sometimes we get this right, sometimes we only get what we want to do! but by meeting you in our store, speaking to you on the phone and through email we are getting a good idea of the things you would like to see and when you would like it. Keep us informed and we can keep on delivering for you.

Another day, another factory visit!

Had a great day at the factories today, lots of things to look at again, cups of tea and biscuits and great stories. Great places, great people, a whole lot of fun working with people that actually make things. For Albam the importance of the factories and the skilled people that work at them is hard to explain. Without them we are nothing and vice-versa, they have shown us immense support from starting to work with us to helping us grow to where we are and the future growth.

Thankyou to you all for your support. We are looking forward to a busy growth and development despite the crazy times we seem to be in.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A little shoe delivery!

We have been waiting for our new shoe delivery for what seems like an age! Our Mocassins we produce with Quoddy really are special but boy do they take their time!

Well now they are in so if you have been waiting for a pair then you can order them online or test drive them in store. Full size range from UK7 to UK12 and half sizes in the hi and lo version! Oh and both the black and burgundy aswell.

Monday, 3 November 2008

The nights are drawing in!

The Albam store on Beak Street is starting to get settled for the darker winter months. We favour keeping the streets outside a bit darker so it makes our store look more like a secret meeting place. Come in say hi and have a look at the collection in store. If you time it right the kettle may have just boiled and you might get a nice brew!

True Brits - Albam - The Independent Magazine

A great shoot by John Spinks and Lee Holmes of 6 British brands. One of which was Albam, thanks guys!

Lots of Winter Colours

This morning I was pinging around from NW to SE and then to W1 to various meetings. They just happened to be by fresh produce markets and the colours were great. Fresh fruit and veg are amazing, the colours add so much to what would be some pretty drab streets.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

At last a proper coffee

Japan is amazing but they don't do coffee the way Monmouth does! At least there is one thing to come back for!

The final leg to London!

Japanese Pub with Rio & his "Crew"!

My last night in Tokyo and Rio took me to a pub for some drinks with his friends before we went on a fixed wheel tour of Tokyo in the small hours of the morning! Again, great food, lots of laughs and just a good time. Thanks to Rio and all.