Thursday, 28 September 2017

Pajotten: A New Menswear Brand Making in the UK

I'm always excited when I stumble on a new menswear brand, particularly where it's making its products in the UK. Pajotten, whose simple clothing finds its inspiration in workwear, uses natural fibres like linen and cotton drill, to make clothes to order in their Kent studio.

I've tried one of their indigo chore jackets (above). I tend to appear here and on social media dressed in tailored garments, but my natural bias is towards the casual and I've really enjoyed the comfort and utilitarian nature of this piece, made of Lancashire woven cotton drill. I've no doubt that it'll wear well and gain a subtle patina of use as it wears and fades.

I spoke to founder Rebecca Barton to ask her more about Pajotten:

Tell us about Pajotten; when did you start it and what are its aims?

I studied fashion design years ago, (MA at Central St. Martins alongside Lee McQueen) but with a young family and the need for financial security I combined working in a previous business (with Cushlab) with teaching fashion design at university level (Ravensbourne in London). I had always wanted to run my own fashion company but lacked the courage and time until last year when I thought now or never and just did it. The point of change was when for Christmas 2015/16 I made my partner a copy of an old vintage chore jacket. I copied in details like how the sleeve had twisted and the front had dropped down, and cut them into the new garment; it was an instant hit and led to conversations about leaving my job. I can honestly say I have never been happier.

You make in the UK. Is this a core value of the business? Would you make outside the UK? 

It was really important to me that we made in the UK. I know some people who have made abroad and it is really difficult to oversee, plus I am really hands on, the idea of making in huge quantities, not being able to alter designs immediately and without huge cost doesn't appeal at all whereas the idea of employing locally and building up a relationship with a small quantity of makers does. The business was just starting as the Brexit vote came in... that really confirmed for me the importance of trying to source and manufacture everything where possible in the UK. I am committed to this; I think it's the only way Brexit can work.

Tell us about Pajotten's products.

It's currently a small capsule collection of 8 pieces in different fabrics. The focus is on creating quiet, contemporary clothing, simple garments in natural fibres. Detailing is considered and kept to a utilitarian minimum. Importantly, the garments are a reflection of what we enjoy wearing, and feel confident in. While the detailing is pared down our sizing is generous, we want people to feel comfortable in the clothes, pockets are deep and sleeves and hems are wide.

Always averse to the waste and environmental impact of the fashion industry, we aim to do things differently. Firstly, all of our pieces are made to order individually in our family run Kent studio and finished by hand. This means there aren’t lots of unsold garments thrown into landfill, instead garment will be made individually by a maximum of two people, and dispatched within 2 - 4 weeks and because it will be made to order rather than made to measure, it can be returned.

Sustainability also impacts the fabrics we use, we are very keen to support British manufacture so everything we use including fabrics, trimmings and buttons are either sourced from UK mills and companies, or bought as 'deadbolt' from designer level studios. 

Because we are a small brand we are able to do things differently, rather than working to fixed seasons we simply add new pieces when we feel they are needed, this means there will always be something new on the website while favourites will stay available. We are also keen to communicate directly with customers, and are happy to send out fabric swatches prior to purchase.

How do you see the business developing?

We are only just beginning, so for the next couple of years the plan is to establish ourselves, refine and improve what we offer, and how we offer it, but in the future I would love to have a few physical outlets in the UK. I think that the world is changing rapidly, how people shop and what they value within that is also in flux, so I would love to create a range that reflects that properly, something that I don't think huge brands can do, we are now also working on a complimentary womenswear range, at the moment it is 8 pieces at is looking good.

To order or find out more, visit Pajotten. 

The jacket was sent to me by Pajotten for review.

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