The Sue Clowes workshop


47 Tabernacle Street

London EC2

To get into my first workshop and office that was in a Dickensian street in the East End you entered through a red painted front door. You then descended immediately down a rickety wooden staircase into a large basement room where all the production took place. Mysterious electricalcables and multi-jointed rusty pipes ran along the walls, disappeared into the brickwork only to reappear again a few yards farther along.

There was always a hive of activity in the workshop with a background sound of whirring sewing machines. A long print table stretched down the room where I worked long into the night silk screening fabric. Each of us were either rushing around with armfuls of printed cloth, hemming samples for shops and fashion shows, sorting buttons or frantically folding t-shirts for impending deliveries. There was Jane, Sharon, Lesley, Donna and Louise and our very own “in house model”, Jonny Slut.

One Friday afternoon in 1982 a buyer from Bloomingdales arrived unexpectedly in a taxi from the West End. The workshop at that time looked as if it had imploded and smelt, because of the printing ink, like we were all working on a formula for some deadly weapon.

She was obviously accustomed to being greeted in plush salons so was utterly astonished when after picking her way gingerly down the stairs to be handed a mug of PG tips and a Jaffa cake by Jonny. Never the less among all the mayhem I received my very first order from the American Department store and the 1983 collection called Dollymops and Rookies filled the prestigious windows of Bloomingdales, New York.

From Sue Clowes bio.

And this is what Victoria Beckham’s studio looks like!


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