Creative Process ~ Manaslu Coat
The Manaslu Lightweight Hooded Coat is the first release of our Chame slow fashion collection. It's adventurous, with a printed organic cotton twill outer and silky chocolate brown acetate lining.
As Chame is inspired by the Nepalese Himalayas, we wanted to create a jacket that reflected the adventurous nature of the area. Its utilitarian cut is contrasted with the organic fine art details on its cream shell. When done up, with its funnel neck, the coat holds a sort of cocoon shape. Undone, it drapes and falls like a parka.
We named the coat Manaslu as its shape and pattern remind us of the majestic Manaslu mountain in the Himalayas, the eighth highest in the world. In Manaslu's print, rough textures and streaks of red and green are painted on top of a creamy-beige base, reminiscent of the rough terrain shed on the mountain's peaks. Snow, dirt, and rock fall down the side of the mountains, creating streaks of earthy colour along its slopes. The coat mimics the mountain ranges - beautiful, poetic, and ready for adventure.
For the collection's artwork, we paired up with Mexico City-based abstract expressionist painter James Watkins. James painted original works on large-scale canvases, however for the pieces themselves, he photographed small sections of his artworks to use as prints in the collection, rather than use the entire artwork. With such a closeup perspective on a canvas for the print, the coat emits a 'soft focus', rather than being sharply graphic.
In the art, lines break into open space, with twisting brown, pink, and green forms that seem to be alive. This painting represents a moment in time, and James' evolutionary painting process. It no longer exists, having evolved into an entirely different painting.
Manaslu's art by James Watkins.
The way the art is utilized on the coat is a work of art in itself. For a print with many ideas, the coat's elements flow into each other, creating poetry within the line of the garment. When working on the pattern layout, where it is decided which pieces of the jacket will be utilized on certain areas of the artwork, our pattern cutter Anna described the process beautifully:
"Pattern cutting is like choosing petals to make up a flower."
Cutting Manaslu's patterns with Anna at our production studio in North London.
Manaslu is cut in Global Organic Textile Standard-certified organic cotton twill. GOTS is a professional standard with requirements throughout the supply chain, considering both ecological and labour welfare. Organically produced cotton is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic or synthetic fertilizers.
Manaslu's lining consists of taffeta acetate. Acetate is a semi-synthetic material derived from wood pulp, combined with acids, then spun into fibre. It doesn't pile, shrink, dries quickly, and is moth and mildew resistant, making it ideal for lining. As well, it biodegrades more quickly than plastic-based (polyester) fabrics. Acetate has been found as a contributor to ocean microplastics - therefore, when hand washing your coat, we recommend using a Guppy Friend washing bag to capture the microparticles before they enter the water stream.
Our organic cotton twill is printed using the reactive digital printing method with azo-free dyes. Our printing specialist is attentive to their energy usage and effect on the environment - they've recently upgraded all of their factory lighting to LED fittings to reduce their energy consumption.
Each coat is manufactured at a North London based small-batch production studio. The studio specialize in high-end production, working with many emerging and established designers and brands in the city. It takes seven hours to cut and sew just one of our pieces.
The Manaslu Lightweight Hooded Coat can be purchased here.