As part of our Portfolio Workshop at the V&A, we were extremely lucky to be joined by All Saints for a two day garment construction class. Senior Pattern Cutter Bazeley (first name Robert, but don’t tell him we told you…) spoke to FAD beneficiaries about his role at All Saints, his career journey so far and advice for those who want to follow in his footsteps.
Tell us a bit about your role at All Saints. What’s a day in the life of a Senior Pattern Cutter?
I’m basically responsible for turning the 2D sketches done by our designers into 3D garments. They’ll come to me with their ideas, I’ll advise on what can or can’t be done and then I’ll go away and make a pattern. Day to day, I will speak to machinists and liaise with them regarding the making of my patterns. It’s quite a collaborative process, if I don’t know how to do something, I’ll talk to them. I’ll meet with designers and receive new sketches and I’ll also make my toiles. Pattern-cutters don’t need to be able to sew amazingly, but you do need to be able to put a mock-up together. I will oversee and make my garments and then the cycle repeats.
How did you get into your job?
I did my degree at LCF in fashion design technology and then when I graduated, I realised I didn’t really understand pattern-cutting. It seemed like a really scary thing so I went and did a post-grad in pattern-cutting at Central Saint Martins. My first job was tracing off of other people’s patterns, which was a really good way for me to get to grips with the things nobody teaches you in college – things like industry standards, seam allowance and the particular way of finishing.
Before working for All Saints I had quite a diverse career background working for both client and supplier businesses. I worked for Nicole Farhi, Preen and Asos and then I’ve worked for suppliers supplying into high-street stores, which trains you to work really fast. So now, working for All Saints, that’s something that’s set me really far apart from the pattern-cutters there. If you can do a pattern faster than everyone else, you won’t be short of a job!
What advice would you give to those working towards a career in fashion?
I would definitely say be good at what you do, it might sound obvious but learn your craft and develop your skill-set so that you have a solid foundation. Speed is really important, if you can be fast and accurate you won’t find it hard to get a job. One of the big things with working in industry is making peace with copying patterns. When I first went into industry I swore I wouldn’t, but the entire industry does it, so if you’re able to take a pattern off a garment and do it well, it’s a really key thing for getting work in industry.
Another big thing is that it’s a really small world once you’re in the fashion industry, everyone knows someone. It’s really important to be professional and make sure you’re representing yourself and your craft as much as possible. Also, don’t be a robot, be yourself and be personable. Having a laugh whilst doing your job is important, people will remember you and might help you out later on.
What do you look for in an intern?
Obviously they need to have a passion for what they’re doing and their craft. I think it’s really good when candidates are quite specific with what they’re looking for, their goals and expectations, and I think, being personable is really important. Being fun and mucking in, being a nice person is just s important as being good at what you do.
Why do you think it’s important for organisations like FAD to provide workshops like this?
I think it’s a great way of giving young people skills and experience to enable them to go out and get a job. It’s a great opportunity to speak to people who have been in their position, worked their way up in industry and managed to find work. They can see that with perseverance it is possible; all you have to do is stick with it.
Thank you so much to All Saints and the V&A for making this workshop possible!