Burack Cakmak: Head of Sustainable Production, Gucci Group Ltd.
With over thirteen years business experience, Burack is currently the Director of Corporate Sustainability at Gucci Group. He is responsible for the implementation of sustainable production, working to develop initiatives for business ethics, human rights and environmental stewardship.
Paul Williams: Business Counsellor for East London Small Business Centre
With an extensive history in garment manufacturing, Paul became Managing Director for the design and manufacturing of Next, Debenhams and House of Fraser, running three factories simultaneously. Paul then spent two years as a consultant, auditing and setting up factories in China and Turkey for various clients before becoming an advisor at ELSBC. ELSBC is an agency designed to provide financial and business advice and support to start up fashion labels in the UK.
Burhan Bilici: Managing Director De´ Atelier Ltd/Sourgrape
With a family background in manufacturing, Burhan has 15 years experience in the production business, having worked for companies including Karen Millen, Whistles and All Saints. Burack now runs his own production company with a portfolio that includes Hussein Chalayan, Erdem, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou, Roksanda Ilincic, Richard Nicoll, Roland Mouret, Eudon Choi & House of Holland.
Finding the right factory
- You can start on-line with a basic search and email the ones you are interested in
- Go to an area where there are many factories and visit them all until you find the right one
- Talk to others and share your experiences. You must all work together as the next generation of designers. You do not have to share confidential information but working together will give you more leverage to influence behaviour.
- Look at other brands the factories work for. Are these brands in-line with yours?
- When they have made your sample, this should be an indicator of the quality of your production orders.
- Don't have to go abroad for manufacturing. More and more units are opening up in the UK - not just in London but also in the Midlands and North of England
- When you are starting out, it is a good idea to have things manufactured in the UK because you can keep a close eye on it. It's when the orders grow and you need to start considering price that you might consider manufacturing abroad
- It completely depends on your designs where you might choose to go. You might consider Italy, Portugal, Turkey, The Eastern Block (in particular Bulgaria and Lithuania) or you may have to go even further if you need specific skills e.g. handwork to India or Morocco for leather
- You don't have to stick to one location. As you grow, you may consider different location
'Made in Britain' label