So Jems phoned today. She is our trooper on the production line, an absolute bag-making beast. Anyways, she has slaved through the 'heatwave' - or as one 'newspaper' put it, the "unseasonably hot weather". I did email them telling them that it is July in the northern hemisphere. They never got back to me as they are too busy printing 327 speculative articles a day on the future king. Basically, she now has a lot (like, loads) of new stock ready, be it for Topshop be it for the website. So, yay and stay tuned! She was also very happy with the fact that she only had to bin 4 out of 150 foil-embossed panels. That is a result. Let me explain!
Foil-embossing can be a bit of a tricky affair because there are so many variables involved. The type of leather, the colour of the foil (some colours work better than others), the pressure used, the heat of the plate, the quality of the 'die'. Here is a clip of a small embossing machine, ours is four times bigger and, thus, is a two-handed machine. The bigger the machine the harder it is to apply an even pressure on the leather panel. Sometimes, like the whole world and the Kardashians, certain foils just don't like certain leathers. How do we know? Trial and error. The same goes for the heat of the plate, too hot and you burn the leather, too cold and the foil won't stick. As for the quality of the die - the metal plate with the slogan on it that presses into the foil and onto the leather - we are more than happy with our man, Big Tone - the best in London at what he does. And I reckon he has a soft spot for Kitty, the poor girl is always the one sent down to pick them up. He keeps her there for hours! So with all these variables needing to be in alignment, it can happen that the embossing can cock up. If it does, it gets binned. That is how it is. Hashtag sadface.
Jems, the perfectionist, makes sure only the good panels go onto the next phase: being turned into a bag. It can happen that - very rarely, 1/1000 so far - a panel looks good, passes the test, gets made up, then sent to Topshop, gets bought, and after 2/3 wears starts acting like a knobby. Not a problem. We can sort that out pretty swiftly. We do our utmost to insure you are smiling, claro!
However, the foil over time and with use, like your favourite pair of jeans, may fade a bit. Unlike our love for making these bags. It may not - I have a wallet that I have been using now for six months and it is still in perfect nick. As I said, any strange cases of fading and we are all over that like white on rice. We are more than happy to sort it out, plus the feedback is good as we can tweak and improve the process, something we are doing constantly. Personally, I like a worn-look, not that pre-bought worn but worn because of life. Like that massive scratch on my rucktote from the time I slept, belly down and completely dressed, on the bag and my belt buckle went to work on it, after a hard day festivalling. Good times!
But you know all that. And hand-made stuff is more unique, amirite?
On a different note, I have spent the last couple of days getting some new slogans drawn up and sent to Big Tone. They are ready today. So loads to stay tuned for! You know what, here is one of the seven that will be printed in the next week. Some real gems!