Have you ever been inside a fashion factory? Unless you work in the fashion industry, then probably not. Factories are normally places shrouded in mystery. They exist off the beaten path, at a place you’ll never visit, where people you’ll never know make the products that you cherish. This used to the be status quo for the beer and coffee industries as well. Eventually, the craft beer and artisanal coffee movements challenged this norm, opening their doors to customers who wanted to know how their beer & coffee were made. This enabled the customer to build an emotional connection with the maker, ultimately resulting in an increased appreciation for better beer & coffee. These days, who drinks beer or coffee from large corporations?
We aim to do the same with fashion. We’re calling it our #CraftJeanRevolution. We want our customers to visit our atelier in London. Come and see first hand how we make jeans using craft and slow fashion techniques. Meet the machinists who cut, sew and finish your jeans. Try on our jeans in the same building where they’re manufactured. Learn why we believe we’re making the best jeans on the market. Don’t be intimidated, come on by, the door’s open.
Anyways, enough about our ambitions. Let’s talk about visiting our atelier. The fastest way to reach us is by taking the Victoria Line to Blackhorse Road Station (One stop before Walthamstow Central). It may look far on a tube map, but it only takes 20-25 minutes from Oxford Circus Station and 15-20 minutes from King’s Cross Station.
As soon as you step out of the station you’ll notice two things. First, you’re clearly in an industrial area. Blackhorse Lane and the west end of Walthamstow have historically functioned as an industrial area, with many factories built alongside the Lee Valley. Speaking of which, we’re right next to Europe’s largest wetlands park: Walthamstow Wetlands. We digress. Second, you’ll notice that the area has evolved into a centre for East London creativity. Many of the factories on Blackhorse Lane are now in use by creative and small businesses that are doing their best to make & create in London (which is actually quite hard due to the housing boom).
To start the short walk to our atelier, head north on Blackhorse Lane. If you’re on Blackhorse Road, you’ve mistakingly walked south. You’ll only need to walk a short five minutes to reach us. Make sure to look out for the “Black Horse Lane” street sign and clock as indicators that you’re on the right path.
People often miss our building. It’s on the right hand side, right past the petrol station. The picture below should help you spot it. Also, we have parking out front for customers arriving by car. Yes, we know, we need to update the lettering on our building. It’s on our ToDo list, but first, can we make some more jeans? While out front, you may notice the small metal plaque on our building with our logo. We inherited our brand logo from the shape of our building. We feel that we’re taking an honest approach to making jeans, and our atelier is the beating heart of it. Therefore, it made sense that we use the building silhouette as our logo. We also think Peter Saville (Factory Records graphic designer) would approve.
When you step into our entry way, you’ll notice the welcome sign on our door. We mean it. You’re welcome to come on in. Don’t be shy. If we had £1 for every time someone read the letters on our door and still didn’t come in…
One foot inside our atelier and you’ll realise that you’re right in the middle of it all. We intentionally configured our atelier so that our customers would see the workings of our factory before arriving at our Factory Shop in the back. Hiding the production space behind a retail space wouldn’t have felt right.
The first step of our production is to select the appropriate roll of denim. Therefore, you’ll find a selection of our different selvedge rolls in the front. We work with denims from Japan, Italy and Turkey, and we consider variables such as carbon footprint, quality and price when selecting them.
Next you’ll see our cutting table and sewing machines. This is the bulk of our factory. Under this one roof we take a pair of jeans from a roll of fabric, to a finished jean. If you’re interested to know, all of our sewing machines are second-hand. When we reconfigured the factory to make jeans, we wanted to only use second-hand machines. By not buying new machines, we minimise the amount of metals and plastics that we use. This is one way we look after the planet. We also have a handful of vintage machines that we’d love to tell you about as well.
While checking out the sewing machines, make sure to say hi to our machinists. They’re happy to show you how your jeans are made, and love hearing positive customer feedback about our product.
While you’re in our atelier, please feel free to take pictures and share them on social media. We want our #CraftJeanRevolution to reach as many people as possible, so share away! Of course, please tag us (@blackhorselane) if you do. We try and inspire new brands with our craft / slow fashion approach to jeans. To that effect, we also host Workshops at our atelier on topics such as indigo dyeing, and making your own jeans.
Side note, we save all of our denim offcuts and donate to others. Let us know if you’d like to take some home.
At the back of our building you’ll find our Factory Shop. We sell all of our products direct at our Factory Shop. If it’s available on our website, you can but it here as well. Depending on the jean style, we make sizes ranging from 28 to 40. For our tops, we make sizes XS to XXL. As an added bonus, you can see samples of new styles we’re developing.
Want to know why our jeans are better? We’ll happily walk you through the details. Want to get a pair of jeans hemmed when you purchase a pair? It’s free, and takes about 15 minutes.
We hope that your visit to Blackhorse Lane Ateliers is the start of your relationship with our brand, and not the end. But, as you leave our atelier, you might consider checking out the following businesses in the immediate area:
Also, housed in our building are the following businesses:
Please note: the information on this page isn’t quite accurate anymore since the opening of our Coal Drops Yard store in N1C. We have left the post here as a record of our story and growth. We’ve noted the main points that have changed –
- Stock is now only available to purchase at Coal Drops Yard.
- Masterclasses will be running again from January 2020.
- Denim N Dine was replaced by Gather E17
- We now also house Visual Marvelry photography studio
- Use the #OnePairOfJeans when tagging us in your posts