Adelina Casini – New Launch

ADELINA SS18 FINALShoot_Look_15_002It’s here and it’s fabulous!  The new Adelina Casini collection.  Fashionworks London have enjoyed working on this collection for the lovely owner Sara, who has made her vision a reality this year.

ADELINA SS18 FINALShoot_Look_02_133

ADELINA CASINI is a vintage-inspired womenswear label that incorporates feminine silhouettes of the 1950’s with luxurious natural fabrics. The collections focus on colour and beautiful tailoring and is designed to flatter women who crave tasteful, refined clothing. The colours are clean whites, soft rose and muted greys. The brand draws inspiration from vintage Italian glamour, beautifully portrayed through the feminine silhouettes of the pieces. ADELINA CASINI is built with luxury in mind using the finest fabrics, perfect for sun-drenched destinations and Mediterranean coastlines.
“I have always loved the fashion of the 1950’s and have been drawn to the glamour and sophisticated femininity of that era. It was important that I made a collection that embodied the spirit of vintage style. It was from my own desire to wear pieces that had classic silhouettes without compromising on quality that Adelina
Casini was created.” – Sara Scarlett, Founder.
The ADELINA CASINI collection is available to buy here:

ADELINA SS18 FINALShoot_Look_14_015


Fashionworks London – where startups start!  If you have an idea and want to become a fashion entrepreneur, book an in-depth consultation with Katy Cordina:



Dame Vivienne’s Playing Cards… A Strategy to Save the World!

I’ve been following Dame Vivienne on Instagram lately as she produces her set of playing cards.  She created the set as a ‘strategy to save the world’.  ‘Collect the cards, connect the cards’.  Her new collection has a theme of war running through it.  Her strategy is that when you connect the cards you create peace.

Fashion designers past and present have used fashion as a way of expressing their anger with politicians and current affairs.

In a short video she’s posted on her Instagram, Dame Vivienne is opposing consumption. Titled ‘Queen of Clubs’, she acts out being a blow up doll, shouting “Blow me up!” as she gets up from her lying down position. She claims that these blow up dolls are made to create a need that nobody needs….. Consumption.  “The only people that need to blow up people are the 1% who run the rotten financial system ‘rot dollar’ which causes consumption, waste and war”.

blow me up

She does have a point.  However, fashion is ‘consumption’ and it does create pollution and waste and it also creates a slave labour force in developing countries, without which, people would not be able to go to Primark and load up with brown bags full of the fruits of the slave’s labour. That’s my cause!  I’m strongly opposed to slave labour so that the likes of ‘Sir’ Philip Green can live it up in Monaco.  Fair pay for all in fashion!!

Dame Vivienne’s playing cards represent war and the general theme is greed and the 1% who own most of the wealth in the world. Her VWSS18 collection is about war. Rather gloomy stuff.  I understand her need to be heard.  Like the revolutionaries before her, she’s using her name and her influence to highlight the atrocities created by war and the people responsible. If we turn a blind eye and don’t do our bit, then we’re all responsible. We often feel powerless to do anything.  She is showing us that we can all play our part.

dame viv

She claims that her SS18 collection is the ‘last party on earth’ and tells everyone to dress up for it. I hope it’s not….



dame vive


The drawing she’s holding up here has been printed on a tshirt and she’s selling it.  So, if you want to spread the word and support the cause, please buy the tshirt.

Dam Viv

I am, doing my bit to support her and her anti war campaign.  Thank you Dame Vivienne for caring!  You are a great lady and it’s wonderful to see you using your creativity in this way.

If you’d like to see and hear more on the playing cards, you can go to the Instagram ‘ViviennePlayingCards’.




The £30 Dress – At What Cost?


Fashionworks London helps startups start.  We make patterns, prototypes and samples to enable you to start a fashion business.  I personally mentor and consult young people at my office in Moorgate, to make sure they have the right formula and to guide them with choice of fabrics from reputable mills, prints, finishing and lots more besides.

I don’t take on new clients without a prior consultation and I charge for this. Why? Because many young people starting out need expert guidance and hand holding.  They may have great ideas, funding and have carried out a lot of research.  But most of them have no industry experience.

Paying for my consultation should be the first port of call.

Before I take on a new designer, I ask a very simple question.  What are your retail price points?  The answer to this question answers most of my other questions. If an aspiring fashion entrepreneur has done their homework, they will know that producing in the UK isn’t cheap and you cannot sell a dress for “£20-£30” and make any profit.  In fact you’d be subsidising every dress you sold.  Let me explain.  We don’t use slave labour in the UK.  I’ll do a few sums to explain.  Our sample machinists earn £15 per hour.  Some earn £20-£25 per hour. A good pattern cutter earns the same.  A reasonably complicated dress pattern will take about 7-8 hours to create and the same dress, fully lined will take the fabric cutter and sample machinist the same to cut and sew.  Add on your fabric costs, your haberdashery, any fabric finishes, embroidery, pleating, logos etc.  Any good at maths? These are ballpark figures.  It’s usually quite a bit more.

If your business plan is well researched you will know that to produce a collection in the UK will be high end and high quality and that every dress you sell online will have a price point of around “£350-£500” as a rough guide.  Your fabrics will be good quality and sourced from reputable mills, whether silk, cotton or polyester.

You cannot produce garments in the UK and compete with high street prices!

Please don’t contact me if you haven’t done your research.  Let me explain why it’s possible to buy a dress in a high street store for between “£30-£100” (and let’s leave Primark out of the equation for now).

The high street stores produce tens of thousands of one design. That means tens of thousands of metres of fabric too.  Cheap fabric.  Much cheaper because they’re able to buy tens of thousands of metres. So even if the mill is only making 20 pence per metre, he can still make a profit due to the large volumes.  It’s easy money.  It doesn’t take much more effort to produce tens of thousands of metres than it does to produce a few hundred metres.  These factories are highly automated and they have state of the art looms, cutting machines, dyeing facilities, embroidery machines etc.  You cannot buy this same fabric at these low prices.  They won’t sell you 10 metres.  It’s not worth their while.  So you have to select from a mill that carries stock and who will sell you 10 metres – at a premium. Very often the factory that sews also produces the fabric.

The company I worked for in Mauritius has factories that produce the fabric and factories that produce the garments.  They don’t even spin the yarn until the orders come through.  They are fully automated and the process takes weeks from start to finished garment.  It’s fascinating to see inside these huge factories – if a little noisy! They are geared up to produce huge volumes for Top Shop, Next, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Sainsbury’s TU, Florence and Fred and many more high street names.

They also, sadly, use slave labour from developing countries.  This is how you can buy a dress in the high street for “£20-£30”.  At what cost?  Labour is sourced from Sri Lanka, China, India and they’re shipped out on 3 year contracts, put into large dormitories, fenced in within the factory boundaries, barbed wired and have to work 6 days a week for a minimum of 12 hours per day.  30% of their pay is withheld until they finish the 3 years.  They do this because they have no choice.  They do this to send all their pay home to feed their families.

People like ‘Sir’ Philip Green get rich from the exploitation of human labour like this.  I used to train designers and pattern cutters in these factories.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I was well paid and given a house by the beach and a nice car.  However, every day when I went to the factory to do my job, it pained me to know that my fellow workers were being treated so badly….. so that people in the UK could buy a cheap dress for £20. There was an organisation called ‘No Sweat’ and when I returned to the UK, I joined up.  Whatever I could do to highlight this appalling use of human labour I would do.

Fashionworks London would never exploit human labour in order to give you cheaper prices.  We pay all our people above average wages and we treat everyone with respect.  Every garment we produce for our clients is made by happy people.  Isn’t that good to know?

Startups seem to think that just because they’re starting up and not yet known, they have to keep their prices low.  They’re afraid to charge what the garment is really worth.  Even they have been brainwashed into thinking that if they charge the correct price, they won’t sell.  This is not true at all.  If your designs are good and your collection is amazing and you’ve found a niche and a following, your clothes will sell.

Social media has opened up endless possibilities for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs.  But you have to do it right… right from the start.

My consultations are a very small price to pay for a lot of invaluable advice and expertise.  I’ll know if you’re serious and I’ll know if your collection has a chance of success.. how?  Because you’ll take that first step and book a consultation with me.

To end my rant, I’ll say this.  More and more consumers are looking for sustainable and ethically produced collections.  They don’t want to wear cheap clothes produced by slave labour these days – they couldn’t bear to feel that ‘sweat shop’ on their backs.  Me neither!

Made in the UK – is the way to go.  Let’s create value and end exploitation together!topshop

London Fashion Week SS18

Paul Costelloe.


My team and I produced the samples for Paul Costelloe for London Fashion Week SS18.  They’re fantastic people to work with and the designs and fabrics are fabulous.  Fashionworks London helps Start-ups, that’s what we’re good at.  Sometimes however, we get asked to produce work for more established designers and if we can, we will.  We learn things from these successful brands that we can pass on to our young start-ups. We’re also proud to be chosen by successful brands because it gives our young start-ups confidence in us.  They’re confident we’ll do a good job for them…. and we will.  My team were all carefully chosen for their expertise and I manage everything down to the last detail. We have expert pattern cutters, sample machinists, printers, pleaters, embroiderers, graders – craftspeople who make your vision a reality. We’re second to none. The secret to a successful business is simple: Give 100% to the client. My clients expect nothing less from Fashionworks London.  We won’t disappoint you.

The well known designers such as Paul Costelloe didn’t become successful over night and when answering questions about their success and what advice they can give young start-ups, I’m always eager to hear what they have to say. I asked Paul Costelloe what advice he would give to a young designer launching a label and his reply was “Start high and stay high”.  He went on to say “If you start low, you’ll stay low and never get off the ground”. I gave these comments some thought and realised that he was absolutely right. It’s what I tell my young clients when they’re worried about their prices.

Often when I’m giving a consultation, I hear young people say “I don’t want to charge too much or people may not buy my clothes”. This is not true. There are many women and men looking for great clothes that are well made, well finished, made from quality fabrics,  wonderful details.  They’re willing to pay the price. So, take Paul’s advice… Start high!

During my consultations, I look closely at your designs, listen to your objectives, discuss your vision and make constructive suggestions to enable us to help you make this vision a reality.  Every young aspiring fashion entrepreneur who has come to my consultations has been very inspired and has left with a wealth of information.  Here’s what some of them have said afterwards:

“It was great meeting you yesterday I really enjoyed the session. I felt that you understood my vision which is extremely reassuring and I left your office feeling very optimistic”. Heba Zayed.

“It was lovely to meet you last week.  Thank you very much for sending over the itemized quote for the patterns, toiles and samples.  I also appreciate that you have included subsequent information about the photoshoot and how to move forward there.  The timing looks good from my side”. Nina Kraus

“Nice to meet you on Friday and thank you for talking Josh and I through processes and the potential direction we can look to go in”. Co/Ordinate Clothing.

Next month 3 of our clients will be launching their new collections in London.

Will Solomon launching at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge.


Tress Clothing launching at YKK, Shoreditch.


Not Tonight Josephine launching at Fairbank Studios, SW London.


Take Paul Costelloe’s advice and start high and stay high!  Fashionworks London helps start-ups start!  It’s what we do best…. your success is our success!  Book a consultation with Katy Cordina and make your vision a reality today.  The fee is refunded, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain – a bright sunny future running your own fashion label awaits!



Fashionworks London………………… Where Start Ups Start!


You already know the practical work I do to get your work successfully produced but you may not know that I also help young designers like you succeed on the business side.

Essentially, I have 25 years experience in the business of fashion and I can save you costly mistakes and time and money  – and I’d love to work with you!

My in depth consultations are where I guide you to identify the big vision for your business and a practical step by step plan to make it happen. You can expect my direction to lead you through the maze of production and sourcing, photoshoot and look book.

The programme outlined below is generally what is offered.

My project management and mentoring programme lasts 3 months and will guide you through the process until you are ready to launch your label. I offer this after the initial consultation. It is a blueprint for you to follow to create your collection – starting from your initial idea. It will fast track your knowledge and experience of working with the team that will make it happen for you.

*Managing the pattern cutting and toiling.

*Sampling – fabric costing, liaising with the fabric printer (if required), ordering fabric and haberdashery.

*Instructing the studio manager on finishing.

*Spec sheet and fabric costing spreadsheet.

*Supervising the grading of the patterns into sizes.

*Managing all aspects of the production and ensuring that the fabrics are all delivered and all the components are in place.  It will involve regular quality control checks and negotiating a good price for the client with the factory.

*Factory visits.

*Garment labels and wash care labels.

*Sourcing other components/fabrics etc. as required.

*Putting the client in touch with photographer and crew for a photoshoot if required.

*Bi-Weekly meeting for updates and progress report – these can be face to face or on Skype.

Client will accompany to factory visit, studio visit, fabric fairs, toile fittings, fashion shoot if required. The project management is a combination of management and mentoring through the early stages of the startup phase.

My clients have all been happy with the project management services and many have given us 5 star Google reviews, so check it out!




Let’s Talk about Will.


On a hot day last August, a good looking young guy in a black hat and tons of swagger called Will Solomon came to see me about his ideas for a new label.  If you know Will, you’ll know he’s a confident young 21 year old who knows exactly what he wants.  He’s an exceptionally talented artist and his show at a Mayfair art gallery over the next couple of weeks is going to be a knock out.  You can check out his fabulous art here:

Will showed me his ideas at the Fashionworks London workroom in Brick Lane.  I immediately spotted an amazing talent.  His wearable art is fantastically subtle in a very ‘in your face’ way.  He takes classic pieces, sweaters, bomber jackets and leather biker jackets and turns them into wearable art pieces that just look amazing…. amazing because they’re all unique limited editions and you cannot miss them.  They stand out in a crowd of ‘average’ like the Queen’s Crown Jewels light up the Tower of London.  Will paints directly on to  the soft nappa leather that we use to make his jackets.  His artwork is also printed onto jersey and canvas to create unique sweaters with zip details, leather sleeves and other great finishing touches. None of the sweaters are the same and Will only runs 10 off at a time, so if you want to wear something nobody else will ever own, then buy a Will Solomon sweater.



Will intended his first capsule collection to be worn by both girls and guys and they look equally at home on both genders. Raf Simmons has done the same in his latest offering for AW17 for Calvin Klein, giving equal opportunity for both genres.  This is a trend I see coming through for the new season’s collections, especially for streetwear.  My other young clients, Tom Bradly and Daniel Ball, whose fabulous streetwear label, Arthur and Adelyne is wonderfully genderless.  I’m going to write more about these guys after their launch.  For now, centre stage belongs to our gorgeous talented Will Solomon.


If you’re interested in Will’s limited editions, you can contact him through his website or contact Fashionworks London.

















Raf Simons – The ‘Anti’ Designer

Raf Simons,  designer, has captured the ‘Zeitgeist’… Brilliant is the only word that describes this collection and even that doesn’t say enough. I’m glad he left Dior… not his baby.  Here’s who he is:

“Everyone is paying attention to the wrong thing in my opinion. There’s this huge debate about ‘Oh my God, should we sell the garments the day after the show or three days after the show or should we tweet it in this way or Instagram it in that way?’… You know, all that kind of bullshit. Will all that stuff still be relevant 30 years from now? I don’t think so…My generation especially is shifting now, like me and Phoebe [Philo], Nicolas [Ghesquière] and Marc [Jacobs]. We’ve been around for 20 or more years. We know what fashion was and where it’s heading to. Now it’s a question of what we are willing to do and how we are going to do it.”

Raf has to be my absolute favourite because he has a gift of ‘knowing’ and that’s what a good designer needs.  Streetwear is my ‘thing’ and my passion.  I love working with my young streetwear clients.  It’s a tough call launching a streetwear collection… those subtle elements like making the pockets big enough for the iphone, the fit, the layering, the ‘I’m not fashionable’ attitude that must comes across as the wearer is just not trying. Above all streetwear is the ultimate ‘anti’ fashion fashion.



Walking around Shoreditch during the day and evening, I see some fabulous streetwear being worn.  What I love about Raf’s collection is that he’s taken the concept and moved it up a hundred notches and made streetwear just outstanding… in fact leagues above any other fashion statement. Just genius! Very powerful statements here.


I wish he’d do a women’s streetwear collection like this.  I’d buy it in a heartbeat.  Comfortable, stylish, practical… and of course that special ingredient – Zeitgeist!

All designers should be looking ahead, designing for the future and not for today.  We must look at the political arena, current affairs, global events, cultural fusions, the economy and yes, even Donald J Trump!  All of these must be delved into and researched thoroughly to come up with the most exciting and innovative creations.  When you look back at the sixties, you see the Zeitgeist in the clothes people wore, likewise the ’70’s and every decade past. This next decade must also be represented to form part of our history and Raf’s new collection does exactly that.

This is what is going to be the new trend:


and this:




Says it all doesn’t he?  Legend.

London Fashion Week SS17 – Phew!

Wow!  What a hectic few weeks it has been at Fashionworks London in our studio in Brick Lane.  Big thanks to my SS17 team – Dan and also Tanja who both worked hard to meet some very tight deadlines.  The proof of the pudding as they say…….

sam-pleats sam-pleats-2 sam-dress

We also moved into our new bigger studio in the main building of the Old Truman Brewery and have a view of half the Gherkin. All in all we got through it and clients got their designs on the rails at London Fashion Week.

One of my favourite collections this SS17 was Caine London.  Hayley and Matthew are just incredibly talented designers, artists and musicians.  They create masterpieces – literally!


Works of art on the back of cool denim jackets.

The rest of the collection is just super cool.

caine-3 caine-2

It was a delight to work for Alistair James this season.  These guys are lovely… I mean seriously lovely.  They look like two peas out of the same pod and it’s not surprising they are partners, both professionally and personally.  What a great launch… everything in the collection is beautiful and divine.  Total attention to details, fabulous prints, amazing silhouettes – just gorgeous.  They gave me a bottle of champagne after it was all over too… in its own little jacket! Can’t complain.


For all young fashion designers out there, my advice to you is to keep going and you’ll get there.  These young designers I’ve helped for SS17 are a true inspiration of what can be achieved if you work hard and then some.  It is a labour of love, no doubt about it….. but let’s face it, we do love it!

My satisfaction comes from seeing you all succeed.  So, if you want to launch your own collection next season, pop in and see me for a free consultation.  My team and I will do our very best to help you.

Copyright – Fashion Designs.

Here’s some useful information on protecting your designs.  Copying is rife in the fashion industry but a designer does have some protection from plagiarism.

Copyright protects the expression of creativity by the author, not ideas. So you cannot protect an idea for a dress, but once it is drawn or painted, it is the drawing or painting of the dress, as an expression of that idea, which is protected, not a garment. These are often protected by design rights.  Copyright arises automatically once a work is created. There is no need for registration. The main provisions for the protection of copyright are contained within the Copyright, Designs ands Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988).

A design can be protected under s4 of CDPA 1988 as an artistic work; specifically as a graphic work which includes a painting or a drawing. Textile designs may benefit from copyright protection but an actual coat or dress (when made) does not.

The author is the person who creates the work, i.e you!  If you have collaborated with another designer in creating the design, the work may be a work of joint authorship with both designers sharing in the rights.  The author is the first owner of copyright under s11(1) CDPA 1988. There are, however, exceptions. These are:

Works made by employees in the course of employment.

Commissioned works.

In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, where an artistic work is made in the course of the employment, the employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work  A copyright owner has the exclusive right to:

Copy the work

Issue copies of the work to the public

Authorise others to carry out any of these activities (ie licences).

If a design is industrially exploited (which will usually be the case for textiles and fashion designs), the protection is reduced to 25 years from when the work is first exploited.

You don’t need to formally register your design to acquire copyright or EC design protection. But keeping a good record of what you have designed is critical. So put a copyright notice on each design: © + year of creation + your name + contact details.

Design rights can be relevant for fashion design. This is a complex area with several possible legal rights. However, the most relevant for a designer would be the EU Unregistered Community Design. This gives a very broad range of protection and can cover: Your design can be protected as an unregistered Community Design for three years. You do not need to register your design or fulfill any other formal requirements. If you decide to register the design, you can choose whether to make a single registration for the entire EU or merely for the UK. A registered design provides protection for 25 years. There is generally no need to worry about registration due to the fast moving nature of fashion. Even if you chose to register your design, you can delay doing so for 12 months from first marketing the design. This means you can wait and see if the design is likely to become a hit before incurring the registration fees.

In addition to the Community rights just described, there is a further UK right called the UK unregistered design right. This protects any aspect of shape or configuration of a design, though not surface decoration. This right can last for up to 10 years from when an article was first made to the design. This right arises from s213 of the CDPA 1988. There is overlap between these various rights. For example, a handbag may be protected as a Community Design and under the UK unregistered design right. © 2009 John/Jane Smith (address and telephone number). • costume design • urban design • product design • packaging design • industrial design ‘the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the feature of, in particular, the lines, contour, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation’. EU Designs Directive, Art 1(a), RDA s1(2) 4

A trade mark is a sign which distinguishes your goods from those of your competitors. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gap are examples of well-known trade marks. Trade marks are important because they are the attractive force that pulls in your customers. Generally, your name or the name of your fashion label may function as a trade mark. Distinctive shapes can also be trade marks. For example the Burberry check and the classic Louis Vuitton print are registered trade marks. However, any sign that is customary in the trade is unlikely to be registrable as a trade mark. This applies to standard shapes (eg, the shape of a shoe), words used to describe your goods (eg the word ‘coat’ for outerwear) or shapes that result exclusively from the nature of the goods themselves (eg the shape of a dress). If there is a word, phrase, or design that you use repeatedly a trade mark registration may be something you should consider. Trade marks can be registered just for the UK (at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)) or throughout the EU (at the Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante, Spain). Once registered, protection for your trade mark may last indefinitely as long as you continuing renewing your registration every 10 years. When registering a trade mark it is generally advisable to instruct a trade mark attorney to ensure that all of the requirements of registration are met. Once registered, a trade mark registration generally allows you to stop the use and distributing of goods bearing your trade mark. For example, Louis Vuitton can stop the selling and importing of counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags bearing its registered trade mark design. A registered trade mark can be a very powerful tool.

If your business has a reputation (goodwill) in the UK, and another trader misrepresents its goods to be yours, you may have a claim based on ‘passing off’. Passing off operates in a similar manner as a trade mark claim without the need for a registration, but it can prove difficult and expensive to prove that your name has a reputation A registered trade mark avoids some of these steps and associated costs.

You should keep a photographic or photocopy catalogue of your designs, detailing when they were created, so that the date of creation can be proved if there is some future dispute. If you are employed as a designer and create the design in the course of your job, the copyright and/or design right will belong to your employer, not to you. If you are commissioned to create a design the position is more complicated. You should agree with the person commissioning who is to own the copyright and/or design right. If you are asked to send designs to a prospective client include a standard statement of ownership.

When a manufacturer wishes to use your work you should enter into a contract with one another. You may either LICENCE or ASSIGN your rights. An ASSIGNMENT is more usual since this is an outright transfer of your copyright and the customer will then have full, exclusive, control. A LICENCE is for specific purposes which you and your customer will agree. For example, you allow use of your design for one season or for one market sector. During the period you have licensed your design you remain the copyright owner. Usually an outright fee is paid to you; more rarely a royalty based on sales can be negotiated. You should require your full fee to be paid upfront. Signatures: It is advisable that the invoice detailing the charges and currency is signed by both parties. Usually this is worldwide although you can try and negotiate for a more limited area, eg UK or USA only. ‘This design is protected by copyright © and/or design rights. It is provided to you “in confidence” and you are not at liberty to disclose the design to a third party. Any infringement of the designer’s copyright and/or design rights will be pursued.’ Generally ESSENTIAL INFORMATION Fees Signatures Geographic Area.