Finding factories to make up garments in the 1980’s was always a problem. Large clothing companies went to Portugal to have their lines mass produced. Clothing labels like mine with small production runs went down the east end which is where I found an Italian manufacturer called Salvatore. Salvatore’s English was pidgin but we managed to communicate. The summer print for 1985 was a simple repeated daisy in separate colour options of yellow, lilac, blue or orange on white…a doddle to print and manufacture. At the last moment before a show in Tokyo I decided to integrate a special alternative option into the collection by offering a mix of all the daisy print colours on one t-shirt style. For example, an orange front panel, a blue sleeve, a lilac sleeve and a yellow back panel and so on. An American buyer loved the sample and I got an order for 500 pieces. We cut the t-shirts from the four separate rolls of printed daisies then spent hours sorting and wrapping each of the four different printed sections into individual bundles. All Salvatore had to do was un-tie the tape around each bundle and sew the fronts, backs and sleeve pieces together. I delivered them to him.
“Everything it be ready for Friday” he said. On the Friday when I returned I found him sitting on the edge of a sewing machine nervously smoking a cigarette. He looked up at me and stabbed his chest with a finger. “Next time I cut” he said. “Can you believe it, the sleeves and the backs and the fronts, they were all mixed up!” His voice rose hysterically “Is crazy! One sleeve blue, one orange, the front yellow. My god…completely crazy!” He threw his arms wide and said triumphantly “But me, I spend all night and put the colours back the same!” My heart began to thump as I looked nervously across to the stock room where his teenage son was happily stabbing swing cards into the necks of five hundred daisy printed garments. They were all neatly divided on a long dress rail into four separate colours, orange, blue, lilac and yellow. I felt dizzy and looked back at Salvatore who was writing out my bill. He looked up. “You see” he said “You can always depend on Salvatore when something it goes wrong”.
The best way to get over these little fashion trauma’s was to blast your head off with the best song of the year FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
From Sue Clowes bio.