Beyond Retro Label: The people behind the product

by Hannah Wilkinson 3 years ago
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Label is Beyond Retro’s own range of recycled vintage clothing, designed in-house by their creative team in London and manufactured within their own factory in Kandla, India. As each piece of the Label collection is made from a pre-existing vintage garment, to then transform into a wearable and covetable piece of clothing for today requires a unique skill-set and a very different approach to the traditional design process. The team that lead this are comprised of 82 highly-skilled garment specialists, pattern cutters and vintage graders and this is the story of two of them, Padmini and Laxman.

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Padmini studied for a degree in engineering but once she’d fallen pregnant she had to leave this path behind and move back to where her mother lived to seek support and assistance with child care. Padmini looked for local employment to enable her to balance her home life with work and now works for Beyond Retro as Raw Materials Manager, a job that she loves. She now leads and assists a team of 23 people in vintage grading and is passionate about recycling.

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“I have a degree in Engineering and Industrial Production, and my first job was as a Documentation Executive in Bangalore for a used clothing company where I was quickly promoted, but had to leave when my daughter was born. I came back so that my mother could look after my daughter Prarthana Neora whilst I am at work. We’re always looking for ways to use our knowledge, figure out ways to recycle more and think up more inspiring ways to use the products.”

Kandla is within an industrial zone that was heavily populated by USSR factories and there are now only three garment factories left. Laxman is a pattern cutter with a passion for the creativity and craftsmanship of sewing. Having worked in a garment factory previously, Laxman observed people making patterns with a watchful eye and has since developed the skills which he now possesses to create samples for Beyond Retro Label on a daily basis.

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“Sewing is in my blood. My father owned a tailor shop and I learnt a lot from him; my first job was with him and now I work for Beyond Retro”.

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Laxman now follows in his father’s footsteps and takes home a regular pay packet in a job he loves, he says,

“I enjoy being able to sew all day, creating new patterns and then seeing the finished product. Understanding the detail required and the sewing limitations of a sample is important to making a good pattern cutter. The item that I am most proud of making is the fringed leather biker jacket; it looked very good and was quite complicated to create. The strangest item I’ve made so far are the 3D Christmas jumpers that had cuddly toys affixed!”

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