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Behind The Seams with Pattern Maker Glen Rollaston. Exclusive Interview.

Step behind the scenes of RBPatterns, where expertise and innovation redefine the art of pattern making. We recently spoke with co-founder, Glen Rollason. He shared his journey, insights into local manufacturing, and the future of fashion craftsmanship. Discover how this homegrown studio is setting new standards in the fashion industry, one pattern at a time. […]

by Sarah McLean

21 June 2024

Step behind the scenes of RBPatterns, where expertise and innovation redefine the art of pattern making. We recently spoke with co-founder, Glen Rollason. He shared his journey, insights into local manufacturing, and the future of fashion craftsmanship. Discover how this homegrown studio is setting new standards in the fashion industry, one pattern at a time.

  1. Could you share a little of the history behind RB Patterns and the services your business provides? 

RBPATTERNS was created by myself and Scott Bowring. Each of us has over 30 years of industry experience in design, production and pattern-making. We have worked globally for major brands and now have the only holistic pattern making, sampling and grading studio in Victoria. We were able to combine all these segmented supply chain services in the local fashion industry. We now support over 50 brands.

  1. What shifts have you noticed in Australia's local manufacturing sector?

Post pandemic we had a huge influx of brands returning to local manufacturing. Amazing. However, it showed the gap we have in knowledge of understanding how to produce clothes locally. 

We took this on as a positive, being able to help new to established brands successfully manage their supply chain locally. We are fostering and elevating the health of the local industry by shining the spotlight on these vital areas besides the catwalk and designer.

  1. Have you identified any skill shortages or gaps? If yes, what are they?

There is a massive gap in patternmaking knowledge and experience in the local industry, we are (gratefully) overwhelmed by the amount of work coming in and training younger graduates in manual and digital pattern making. 

The artisanal skill in making clothes that I was trained in seems to have been lost and we worry that once many retire, the skill will be gone forever. Fashion presently has become entertainment more than its craft.

  1. What do you believe would help support more manufacturing businesses like RB Patterns?

We have not had a large influx of migration that has been able to step into these skilled roles of manufacturing and those who have are not leaving their legacy to their children because it is no longer regarded as a respected and skilled profession. 

Being less hierarchical in this industry must happen, we upstream funding and public relations to the end of the fashion system and leave little space to celebrate and understand the amazing supply chain community that has enabled that end to flourish. Supporting the growth of the local micro to small manufacturing space is essential and that also includes the pattern makers, cutters etc.

  1. How do you stay competitive and innovative in the ever-evolving landscape of the manufacturing industry?

First and foremost, by being great at what we do and striving to always improve.
RBPatterns digital technology in pattern making benchmarks globally. We focus on how our skills can benefit our clients throughout the manufacturing process, always thinking about new ways of working.  This can be new innovative grading techniques and MOST importantly we see our role in the sustainability of this industry is to create extremely well-fitting patterns that elevate the brands we work for which translates into consumer satisfaction.

 This is a highly skilled artform. Pattern making is not just hitting numbers, it is about giving the end user a wonderful experience of loving how they feel in clothing. This is not only an aesthetic undertaking. We keep, covet, and repair the garments we feel good in, that is the real magic.

Discover more about RB Patterns here, or stay informed about progress through their social media channels.

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