Many fashion brands manufacture T-Shirts using a basic cotton jersey. It is produced in bulk and used by dozens of other brands. We decided to take another route. By creating our own fabric from scratch, we have achieved the unique hand feel that we desired, enabling W. Rubens to produce the luxury quality T-Shirt that we dream of.
In short, we source high-quality cotton from Tamil Nadu, India, which is then shipped by boat to Wakayama, Japan, where it is knitted and then dyed to our specification. The fabric is then brought to the UK where it is washed, pressed and prepared for its new life as a W. Rubens T-Shirt.
Initially, our approach focused on the fully finished product in mind, but we realised that a more CMT (Cut Make Trim) approach was needed. This meant a stricter control of the fitting and design direction. We had to develop our own block and pattern in mind from the start — much more of a tailoring approach. The W. Rubens fit is slim but relaxed, and all the pattern pieces that make up our tee shirts follow this type of fit. We managed to get the fit we wanted by following our creative illustrations, and then adjusting the physical sample until it was exactly what we wanted. By doing this, we managed to reignite craft skills from locations all over the UK, and even created some innovative approaches when we blended digital and handcraft.
During the fitting process, we used a computer drafting package to place pattern pieces as close together as possible. We did this because when you tailor by hand, waste is at a minimum as it becomes a panel or a flap and is part of what you are using and working with. The big cuts that have waste fabric around them are mostly used for the collar and design details. Within full production this really helps the overall impact of the garment because we’ve worked out the most environmental and economical placement without sacrificing the design. We’ve got to as close as possible zero waste cutting, and even small ‘scraps’ are used in fabric swatches to show customers the feel of our T-Shirts, all so they can now become part of your style history