When we started Blackhorse Lane Ateliers 4 years ago, we were dissatisfied with fashion’s impact on the environment. Having 30 years of London-based manufacturing experience, it was painful to witness London’s heritage of craft skills and knowledge disappearing.
We believed that there was a huge problem with the quality of garments. There was a resurgence in
craft-based beer and bread businesses, with an improved connection between makers and customers. It
led us to consider the connections with a similar democratic item: jeans.
Our open-door policy and factory activities generated this connection between makers and shoppers.
To maintain local heritage and know-how, we operate in a few ways:
- Through transparency of making with our factory production, denim masterclasses, and in-house fine dining restaurant, we generate opportunity for conversation and engagement.
- We host visits for universities, colleges, schools and Government delegates to showcase our values, and inspire new methods of making and doing business.
- Our offcuts are utilised in-house for innovative projects, or given away for free to creative makers.
- A lifetime repairs guarantee and alterations service embeds further the personal connection between cloth and wearer - a “buy less, fix more” participation.
- Additionally, our production facilities allow us to collaborate with London independent design brands. In the words of the New York Times, “The British are coming for the United States denim market.”
We realised, through the connections created with our communities, that many people shared our same
conviction. Encouraged by their support and enthusiasm for what we do, a new responsibility has been created for us to live up to their expectations. We feel that we need to be accountable, not only for them, but our planet too.
Our Clerk's House pop-up shop in Shoreditch allowed us to reach people we might not have. While Walthamstow is only a hop on the Victoria Line, it is still out of the way for a lot of London city visitors on holiday or business trips. Coal Drops Yard offers us a new community of likeminded businesses, with a fresh footfall.
Our mission is to provide you with one pair of jeans, with free repairs, so that you can continue to love that one pair of jeans. With Coals Drop Yard also comes the freedom of space which has allowed us to extend our offering, providing additional denims and styles.
This is an ever evolving space. Coming to the store from January onwards, we will be holding our Masterclasses so that you can learn how to use industrial sewing machines and make your own denim clothing and accessories. We already have a fully stocked denim haberdashery with tools of the trade, fabric and patterns.
We will also be hosting local makers and brands who sympathise with our values. This includes Meet The Maker sessions with Hadston Leather, and audio equipment repair advice centre from Armstrong Audio. We also plan to host indigo dyeing and mending workshops, all with the aim of increasing awareness of materials and craft.