ateliertammam

A web log about putting decadence in a small sustainable package. www.tammam.co.uk

Tag: sustainability

2020 a view from inside the Atelier

It’s been a busy year for Atelier Tammam, from couture bridal gowns to trips to India to antique dress restorations we’ve been using our unique sustainable studio to make (and reinvent) the best fashion possible, collaborating with incredible talent in India and the UK. We have always offered internships for young talent at the Tammam Atelier, a fantastic opportunity to support and nurture the next generation of creatives in a real life work environment.

Isabella turned up for an interview for a work placement at Atelier Tammam in October last year. Her beautiful portfolio of hand crafted textiles wowed me and her dedication to sustainability and the environment meant she was obviously a perfect fit for our team.

I asked Isabella to write a blog post about her time at Tammam, her words have made me so happy, as she so beautifully describes the environment I have strived to create at our unique fashion studio. I’m really sad she only has a month left with us and so grateful for all the hard work she has put in (and equally grateful that her visa was extended so she could stay on longer than we initially planned!).

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During my time at Atelier Tammam I have experienced a truly meaningful opportunity to work at an environmentally conscious couture atelier. Throughout my time at the atelier I have discovered the beauty and grace within the fashion industry.

This experience sincerely reinforced my belief that the fashion industry can change the world. Ethical fashion offers a resolution for the current affairs in environmentalism, stimulates the growth of a circular economy, and advocates for essential human rights. By transforming the conscious perception of how clothes are worn and seen and by embracing environmentally sound practices, it will naturally lead us towards a stronger and more globally cohesive future. At Atelier Tammam I have experienced first hand that there is a way to participate in the fashion industry by utilising morally and environmentally considerate principles whilst creating beautiful garments.

From the start of my internship, I have had an incredible, enriching experience. Each day presented chance to learn something new, and to first hand experience the diligent work necessary to create ethical couture. Atelier Tammam is a true advocate of clothing made through considered care. As I patiently learned each stitch, I found a loving sense of care for each garment. When an item is created through bespoke work, every pristine detail becomes relevant for the seamstress and the customer. I learned that even the smallest ornamental stitch would be considered, demonstrating the evident value the atelier places on the customer. This process gives one time to appreciate the true essence of each garment, and how its story will evolve as it passes through the hands of the customer.

I was truly in awe of the teaching methods found within the atelier. Everyone in the atelier was taught with patience. Each person working there regardless of their background, ethnicity or level of experience was given a chance to cultivate their own unique skill set. This demonstrated the devotion to diversity and it gave me the courage to learn new skills and aspire to a couture level. From the first week I learned the proper stitches for button loops, the tracing of bespoke patterns, to understanding how the cursive words on one dress are to be gracefully embroidered with a split stitch. In this supportive atmosphere I felt accepted with a sense of support and encouragement to further cultivate my skills.

By witnessing this hopeful model of slow fashion, I have been reminded of my love for the craft, as it brought to surface the reasons why I was drawn to fashion as a young girl. At the atelier there was always an ambitious project to take part in to meet production needs. Yet because of the business model that takes mindfulness and a positive work environment into consideration, everyone is so willing to participate. In this way each task has the chance of becoming a positive experience, and I believe this is why those who work at the atelier are willing to put passion into their work and reach to set new goals and heights in the fashion industry.

Throughout my internship I was inspired by the variety of projects and how there is always a new field to be immersed in and learn from. I felt a sense of reverence for the existing collections, as each piece had been contrived through beautiful ethical fabrics and designs that were intelligently rendered. The whole of the atelier captures classicism whilst embracing contemporary design, utilising revolutionary production methods.

Atelier Tammam is more than a fashion studio. It is an environment where like minded individuals who have a passion for environmentalism and human rights can come together. It is a refuge outside of the fast fashion industry that offers both a sense of solace and revolutionary ambitions where fashion is redefined. It reclaims its role as an art form that touches the lives of all and therefore responsibly takes into consideration the welfare of those involved in its fabrication, from those employed in its production to the resources used to produce it.

At the atelier I experienced a shared sense of sisterhood and team work. Every woman working at the atelier supported one another and was devoted to an external philanthropic cause. This sense of collaboration went beyond the atelier to a rendered sense of connection to the women working across the globe through fair-trade initiatives on shared projects such as One Dress. One Dress is a principle example of how the atelier strives to initiate global activism. It allowed me to tell a word of my own story while striving to share the project so women around the world can feel equally empowered.

It is hard to describe my experience at the atelier in words. It has shown me the power we have to pave in the fashion industry. Demonstrating through interdisciplinary collaborations we can all aspire to make a difference through ethical fashion. I am now confident that through strategies of cohesive co-creation and the business models presented at Atelier Tammam, stitch by stitch we can create the world that we aspire to live in. The future is in our hands.

 

Thank you so much Isabella, we’ll miss you at the Atelier and wish you so much luck with your future career.

 

Ms Tammam

Flying South for the Winter

With our ten year anniversary now behind us and exciting couture-art projects afoot, the Atelier Tammam Boutique will close it’s doors until the spring on 30th November.

It’s time to fly south to warmer climes for a while, bespoke appointments will be limited until April and the cold winter months will be a time for the Tammam team to focus on creativity and new ventures, the Boutique will host 2 unique pop-ups while we are away. Hire services will still be available.

As a renowned and unique couturier we are often approached to dress celebrities.

Photography (c) Gabriela Dias / Fabiola Prado, Getty Images, Alexandria Hall

We’re always happy to loan our garments for high profile events (or hire samples out for private events) and we love to see them on wonderful successful, talented women, but as a rule we don’t “gift” or give freebies to anyone – very succinctly put by our wonderful Kim…

“We don’t gift, our gowns are worth thousands of pounds and take considerable time and skill to make, we are a small indie label so we just can’t afford to. We chose to invest in our supply chains, producers and quality, instead of marketing through gifting to women who can easily afford to buy our gowns anyway.”

We have, from the start, put people over profits, the Tammam label has always been independent and focussed on ensuring everyone in the process of creating our gowns is treated fairly – therefore we expect to be paid fairly for what we do too. This also means our prices are fair and reflective of the work involved in creation – our marketing budgets aren’t high and our margins are low – so the price our customers pay for a bespoke gown, styling service or ready to wear garment is realistic – you really do get what you pay for, including knowing the people who made it are happy!

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We do appreciate not all of our fans have haute couture budgets which is why we opened the Boutique to platform other amazing sustainable designers and offer eco ready to wear fashion to everyone. For bargain hunters and ethical fashion collectors – this November, to help us clear the showroom and make space for our winter guests, we are having a clear out sale event. All day on November 30th the Boutique will be open and everything must go. We’ll also have a first dibs event on the evening of the 29th – save the date and sign up to the Tammam Mailing list to be sure to be the first to hear when tickets are on sale.

We’re also hosting a life drawing, party outfit and gifts shopping event on Thursday 9th – very few tickets are left (access code TammamGuest), with delicious FAIR cocktails for all.

Yours in Fair Trade

Ms Tammam

 

Team Tammam Spring 2017

Well it’s been a while since my last Web Log. It has been an exhilarating time at the Atelier and the One Dress project has been all consuming, with a fabulous trip to India, two successful Crowdfunder campaigns and work in progress showcases here and abroad, since my last post.

I’m very excited to introduce the wonderful Nyleeta, who will be taking over the Web Log while she is on placement with us over the summer months.

Yours in Sustainability

Ms Tammam

 

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The latest batch of Tammam interns met for the first time at an iconic London retail location to get to know each other and gain some insight into the world of high end fashion before the hard work of the next few weeks begins.

Every season the atelier offers placements to both technical studio and administrative students, to offer them invaluable work experience within the fashion industry.

 

Meet the team.

Appa, the ambitious Norwegian studying pattern design in Denmark.

She has great attention for detail and loves an organised work space, she is used to using advanced technology to design and create patterns but here at atelier Tammam she is gaining knowledge of how to create traditional manual patterns for haute couture.

Here she is analysing the structure of a ball gown.

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I am Nyleeta, described by my colleagues as “the diligent Brit” studying Fashion Management and marketing in London. I have been tasked over the next few months to write this blog for Tammam, as well as work on some of our upcoming events.

On our expedition, I fell in love with this beautiful gown and wanted to purchase it but the price tag said no.

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Katherine, the adventurous country girl from Oregon, soon to be studying at the Fashion institute of technology in New York, is a meticulous seamstress eager to learn the tricks of the trade from Ms Tammam.

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Tina, the unassuming Italian/ Lebanese fashionista, is studying fashion management and marketing in London.

She has an abstract way of viewing the world and aims to bring innovative ways to market the boutique during her placement.

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We gave ourselves the nickname, The Tammam Secret Agents because we spent the whole day looking at other designers gowns inside and out, as well as how they display them, and got many ideas to implement during our placements.

We all seemed to agree that the quality of the designer clothing we saw was not fair value for money and in comparison to the quality of the handmade gowns offered by atelier Tammam, there was no match.

I’m really excited for what the next few weeks have in store and I look forward to writing the next post.

love,

Nyleeta

 

Fairly Fashionable

Darlings! It’s all very well my waxing lyrical about wearing fair… But how does one do it and still look stylish, glamorous and fabulous (and not break the bank…)?

This fashion season I’m going to show you how. I shall be capturing a self portrait of myself every day for the whole of fashion month and posting pictures, links and stories about the garments I wear.

All pictures are beautifully snapped on THE ultimate eco accessory… A Fairphone 2.

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Fashion season has kicked off in New York… To celebrate our transatlantic friends and inaugurate my month of wearing it well I’ve dug out an old favourite, the Tammam couture houndstooth coat, a favourite outer layer to some of our favourite clients.

 

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This sample (size 8-10) is available to hire from the Atelier, so you can wear it even if you don’t have an haute couture budget. The coat was crafted in the atelier using hand woven peace silk houndstooth cloth and British lace. The interlinings, attached in the traditional method are vegan alternatives. I love wearing this coat in different ways, today I’ve hidden the lace and taken out the front panel to be a vision in black and white. Don’t you think it looks fabulous with my best Beyond Skin brogues and hand painted (by artist, Mikey Georgeson) scarf from the Moth in the Flame collection?! Underneath I have some simple organic fair trade cotton sateen trousers and my absolute essential Nancy Dee top, made from reclaimed British fabrics, made in England. Plus, if you must know, I’ve got on Pants to Poverty undies. Well we have to be authentic, don’t we. No you don’t get to see them… well maybe if you ask nicely.

Oh and the amazing hair chop is by Lamphane at Michael Van Clarke. Hands off, he’s mine…well if you must you can make an appointment, but don’t hog him.

I am extrememly in love with the Fairphone… A company with ethics at it’s heart (don’t we know some in the fashion world like that?) With their own Fairtrade gold supply chain in Peru, for circuit board elements in the phone.

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I love the transparent case, to match the transparent supply chain – but still in black sweety, becuase black goes with everything. Stylish, ethical and functional – my three favourite things!

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I’ll be writing weekly updates of my fashion month outfits. For the twitteratipinterested and Instagrammers there will be daily pictures @HouseOfTammam.

 

Yours in Fair Trade
Ms Tammam

Kick start a collaboration

Dahlings,

Apologies for being away for so long, I have had a lot of projects simmering and am now ready to serve one up!

I have been working with renowned contemporary artist Mikey Georgeson on an amazing “wearable art” peace silk project.

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Here we are contemplating, and waiting for a magic moth – watch the video at the top of the kickstarter campaign to see more….

 Take a look at our Kickstarter campaign here

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 15.29.06Mikey and I have some very beautiful VERY limited edition hand painted accessories for you to purchase, in time for the holidays. We don’t have many and you are pretty much the first to know, so snap them up fast if you want one.

This is all part of my mission to revere the humble silk moth. Our ultimate goal is to create a fabric from a found silk supply chain, this means any silk used would be a natural / wild waste product and not from a captive animal. I’ll be working with a group of incredible hand weavers to hand loom the cloth that will then be made into a couture gown, ready for Mikey to paint.

The modern answer to Dali and Schiaparelli, with a sustainable and social justice message… who shall we get to be our Wallis Simpson?!

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I hope you like it and will help us, and the moths, by backing our project on Kickstarter.

Yours in wearable art

Ms Tammam

An Indian Adventure, now I’ve returned

My intrepid 6 week journey starts at 5am, one very cold morning in November, packed and ready to head to LHR for the first leg of my flights to the glamorous yet equally impoverished city of Mumbai.

Thankfully, my eco chariot arrived right on time, a cosy, comfortable and all importantly environmentally friendly Green Tomato Car (www.greentomatocars.com) taxied me and my entourage to the airport in luxurious sustainable style.

The initial journey ends the next day at 5am India time when I arrive at my dwelling in Mumbai, ready for a short rest before my first meeting with a new embroidery unit I have been introduced to, later that day.

When I made a decision to monitor as much of my supply chain as possible it seemed a fairly impossible task, but 8 years later , having visited every one of my long term producers countless times and aiming to visit a few more potential suppliers on this trip I feel confident that it can be done – to be able to see the people making my fabrics and embellishments, with care, dedication and true craftsmanship is one of the joys of working this way, it turns a notoriously faceless product into a beautiful story of people and individuality.

So I was rather taken aback as I arrived at what appeared to be the home of this new supplier, though not unusual for offices to be in old flats and colonial buildings in India, this appeared to be where my new supplier lived – a beautiful old house in the heart of Malabar Hill, one of the wealthier districts of Mumbai. I was invited in to a large but sparse and faceless room, where I was (uncharacteristically) not offered even a glass of water and then shown a load of samples of embroidery and bead work extracted from one of the cupboards to line the walls.

The beautiful swatches were lovely, but not unlike other work I have seen on my travels and the experience was marred by the fact that the workers (who I had pointedly asked to be able to meet, and been told they worked from the same place, prior to my visit) were on their one month holiday for New Year. But I was allowed to see the much too small room all 20 of them were expected to work in 6 days a week, from 8am-11pm, all 11 other months of the year (!!!!!!) In my disappointment at not being able to see the work being done and enquiring about the sampling, I had until that point been planning to do, the very charming face of this company told me her other unit was still working, but it was 2 hours away. Great I said I have all day, lets go. But alas, this unit is STRICTLY off limits to foreign visitors, for copyright reasons apparently….

Alarm bells started to ring and I left, making some excuses and feeling really quite saddened by the whole experience.

Perhaps she was legitimate, perhaps they are working on the latest Chanel embroideries or Versace sequinned fabrics or McQueen embellishments, but so what?! Give it a few months and they’ll be all over the papers and on line anyway. If things are really top secret they can be covered up for the 10minutes I’d walk through the unit. In over a decade in the industry I have never been told I cant see a unit, no matter how bad (and some really have been!) and whilst discretion is admirable, when she has already admitted the working conditions of the employees she allows into her home and must therefore trust, how can I believe the other unit is working even close to fair trade standards? How can I know anything without seeing it?!

The conundrum here is that the workers she employs, certainly the ones off on their holidays, do come back, I am sure they do take pride in their work, and the long hours they work mean higher incomes to send back to their families. Time and time again I have seen and heard of workers chosing regular employment in less secure units that offer lower hourly salary but a higher all day rate (even if the day is 8am-11pm) over fair trade employment, with all its long term benefits – because the days are shorter and therefore the basic take home salary is less.

Which means fair trade units need to be able to offer longer hours to their workers, if they are to be able to keep going and keep supporting people. Its not just the salary with fair trade too, these business offer so much more – security, healthcare, profits into local communities  to name a few. So as consumers it is our job to ensure they can take on more employees for longer hours, by buying fairly traded products (and if you are not sure if its fairly traded – ASK! FashionRevolution.org will show you how).  Then, business like those of the charming lady from Malabar Hill will start losing their dedicated workers, to units offering them much better deals, unless they start offering them a better deal too.

And that is how we make the world fair trade, in a nut shell.

When it comes to high end products like the bridal and evening wear I produce, it is quite likely to be made in the UK (or whichever country you are in) unless you are buying a lower priced off the rack gown (beware of the China designer copies – you will regret it). At Tammam most of our tailoring is done in the UK at our London Atelier, but its our fabrics and embellishments that we source in India, and it is these that are just as important to check as the final stitching. So again, when  you go to buy your bridal gown or prom dress do ask who sewed on the 5000 beads, and where was the fabric woven and what fibres is it made of. So many questions! It is our job to ensure boutiques and designers know the answers to these questions. So much power we have!

Follow the rest of my adventures in India on Ethical Hedonist.

Yours, in India

Ms Tammam