Field Notes

People in Production: Production Manager at Rue de Seine

20 July 2017

Posted in: Good to Know, Industry, H&F Presents, Fashion Thinking, Opinion

Hawes & Freer presents ‘People in Production’. An insight into the people, brands and roles in the production side of the New Zealand fashion industry. 
With a focus on all things bridal this week as we launched our bridal collection, we talked to Warren who is the Production Manager of Rue de Seine. He talks about the benefits of having majority of the work completed in-house, what he looks for when employing new staff and what advice he gives people who are wanting to start out in the fashion industry.

How long have you been in the industry for and what sparked your interest in fashion? 

I started in the industry 30 years ago in the ‘everything role’ – doing a bit of everything from sewing to pattern making. I have always admired the women look in beautiful gowns and getting into fashion was my way of adding my own design to give women the ‘feel good’ factor. 

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

I am self-taught, I was always able to use a sewing machine and had background knowledge in technical drawing and development. From this I was able to apply these skills to create patterns for the styles of gowns I made. 

What does a typical day involve at Rue de Seine?

It’s never the same, every day is always different with its own new set of challenges. A day for me typically includes managing the entire production team, working on new development designs for future collections and training and mentoring staff when we introduce a new collection into production so they know how to put each design together. 

How many teams do you have and what are they?

Our production team consists of about 40 employees. 

From start to finish we have: 
• The design team, who are creating the garments for each collection and choosing the fabrics.  
• The pre-production team who get ready to implement new styles, making sure everything is working together and training the staff.
• The cutting team, who cut out all of the designs.
• Machinists, who sew up all of our garments.
• Quality control: Checking the garments and fixing any mistakes.
• Finishing team, who do the hand sewing and trimming of the garments. 
• Lastly, the dispatch team gets the garments prepared to send to their final destination.

What are the benefits of working in-house? 

We are able to maintain and have a consistent standard of quality throughout every garment and we can turn our orders around at a quicker rate. It is also good to have a team environment where everyone can learn from each other. 

What skills & qualities do you think are important for working in production and why?

Focusing on the more personable skills and qualities, I think it is important to have a desire to understand the product and a person that has the confidence to take the ownership of their work. Being proactive and having that ambition and drive to be the best you can to add value to the team. Also, understanding and having the respect for senior staff who have valuable knowledge, that you could potentially learn from. 

Would you recommend people to gain experience in the industry before starting their own brand and why? 

Definitely, it is good to be in an environment where you understand what is required throughout the entire production process from design to shipping. To work in a company that has already got good systems and skilled staff from which you can learn from and take that into future roles and opportunities.

What do you think is the biggest challenge the fashion industry faces? 

The industry faces a lack of skilled staff as we work in an environment where off-shore manufacturing is becoming more common and skilled machinists and other roles in production are difficult to find. Learning institutions aren’t providing skills that are polished due to the different course outlines and expertise provided.

What advice would you give to people starting out in fashion? 

Learn the fundamentals, understand the process of production and get really good at it. Push yourself until you get amazing at it. This will help manage challenges you will continually encounter in the industry. 

The Rue de Seine Workroom
The Rue de Seine Workroom

Who is Rue de Seine?

Rue de Seine Rue de Seine in St. Germain Des Pres is one of the most sought after streets in Paris and the vision behind our collection’s effortlessly romantic style. All garments made in our studio in New Zealand.

We have designed our fabrics for the carefree bride and used laces that embody the free spirit of the bohemian lifestyle. Our hand-beaded gowns are intricate and rich, made using a variety of techniques and beads to create feminine, enriching silhouettes.

To view their range, click here.

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