What makes our jeans great? Our people

We’re very proud of our team here at Blackhorse Lane Ateliers and we wouldn’t be what we are, without our skills factory workers. They are the beating heart of what makes us, and makes the garments you wear. Amassing years of tailoring and manufacturing experience, our skilled makers bring their craft and knowledge together creating an intimacy into producing the best made jeans in the world.

Due to the affect of the Covid-19 pandemic we felt it right to close the factory and have placed the factory workers on furlough. Everyone is safe and well. We thought it might be nice to showcase them as they are hidden behind the scenes, but we’d like to champion them and give you a little more insight in to each of them. Some of you may be familiar with the faces if you visited us at the factory in the past few years.

A few months ago we had a visit from talented photographer Alexander Beer who took some lovely photos on film, capturing everyone at work.

YOUR CRAFT JEANS MAKERS:

Ken lives in Tottenham close to our factory. He’s our manager and is always on his feet at the factory, organising the production schedule, tweaking machines, marking patterns, checking quality. Ken has over 50 years of manufacturing experience. To top it all off, he’s also a great-great-grandfather!

 

Ivo is our cutter. If you’re wearing a pair of jeans made at BLA, the chances are that it was Ivo’s hands that cut out the fabric and bundled the pieces together for sewing. Ivo lives on his own in London and decided to go to Bulgaria to be close to his family at this time.

 

Unal is our presser. He presses every pattern piece before and after each operation so that we can be really precise with our making. Unal’s hands are always the bluest after a day at work because the steam-press makes the colour bleed! Unal is at home with his wife and little daughter and he sends us lots of messages on our WhatsApp group!

 

Maura is a precious member of our team. She works on lots of different details on our trousers, including hemming, belt loops, button holes, metals and final quality control. She is a neat-freak and her work station is the tidiest at BLA. Maura tells me she is very bored during the lockdown and can’t wait to get back to work!

 

Katia’s work takes her to different stations in the factory; she does many of the non-mechanical parts of production such as marking, cleaning and hand-stitching. Katia is calm, patient and methodical in her work, making sure that the garments we make are beautiful inside and out!

 

Mitko is one of our most experienced machinists and has been working at BLA since we first started. Mitko makes all our samples, made-to-order and made-to-measure garments. He is also the undisputed king of the felling machine. He is at home in North London with his family and we hope to see him back on the machines soon!

 

Ali works opposite Mitko on his machine. In the past, he had his own leather-tailoring workshop in East London so he’s used to working with heavyweight materials. Ali loves to talk about his work and is always happy to explain the techniques and processes used whenever we have visits.

 

Salim works on a number of different operations on our garments, including pockets, closing, side seams and fly. Because he receives and passes on bundles to his colleagues, Salim has to be precise and keep up with the various rhythms of each process. Salim is currently at home  enjoying time with his family.

 

All photos by Alexander Beer