May 16, 2021

‘A designer has to know how to produce clothes’

4 min read

Alessio Berto, a longtime insider of the fashion and jeanswear industry, pattern maker and owner/founder of The Tailor Pattern Support, will start a new course for IED-Istituto Europeo del Design in Milan as part of the “Generation Initiative” series of lectures. The aim of the course starting in March 2021 is to educate tomorrow’s fashion professionals to provoke and ignite a change in the industry by inducing each player of the value chain to collaborate, act more responsibly, reduce waste and optimize workflow. Here, Berto explains the concept.

What will your course focus on?
Generation Initiative is the series of workshops, lessons and seminars I have been teaching the youngest generation of fashion designers, pattern makers and other design insiders since 2019.

I have been working as pattern maker for men’s apparel since 1987 and can tell that the industry has never focused on sustainability as much as it is doing today.
Although they speak of materials, recycled fibers, energy consumption, chemicals and digital technology, there is not much talk about work method, organization, information and data exchange, and waste reduction–crucial aspects in managing a brand’s design according to a sustainable optic–especially in the last years. This is what my course aims to concentrate on.

Why are such topics so important for the next generation of professionals?
Today interfacing with very different service companies, branch offices and external suppliers based in the Far East or Europe has become a very important working phase in our industry. It is important avoiding the risk to dilate working times in case of additional productive steps or product retouching. For these reasons internal communication has to be checked thoroughly in order that external partners also perceive exact instructions.

This course was born with the aim to share my 34-year experience including procedure and workflow optimization, shortening of the working time and time loss reduction within production. Not less important, in a sustainability optics–from pattern making to sample making–is to take advantage of the already existing resources within the company and raise new generations.

Pants created by Alessio Berto/The Tailor Pattern Support

Photo: Alessio Berto/Instagram

Pants created by Alessio Berto/The Tailor Pattern Support

The design process also needs a change in an optic of rationalization of the method. This is why as teacher at IED I will start this course for the students of the first year of Fashion Design.

How can the young be heralds of such an evolution?
As a professional operating daily with companies of the fashion system I believe in future generations, in schools of design sensitive to this need of change and in companies where such method is put in practice every day.

I think young people have the energy and the desire to create new and good things as they have a different sensitivity. The younger generation cannot think as we do. The secret is to make them understand all the steps of this work and how we used to work before the advent of globalization. Though we cannot go back to old procedures but have to know from which starting point we can start re-imagining new methods to follow in the future.

I always tell my students that in the end we still have to design, cut, sew, wash and offer a product to be worn. Nothing has changed in that. What needs to be changed is how we will make all this happen without producing waste and exploiting people, along with proceeding in a more organized way.

The Tailor Pattern Support atelier

Photo: Alessio Berto/Instagram

The Tailor Pattern Support atelier

Along with that how can they start acting more sustainably?
A designer has to know how to produce clothes and, for instance, how to redesign them. A pattern maker has to be able to obtain a result in the least time needed, reducing the use of canvas, reducing prints and all those in-between daily operations.

Those who take care of sewing have to follow the instructions they receive, which have to be expressed in a clear and straight way. For doing this one needs education, competence, collaboration and has to be able to operate as a team.

I know that many companies are seriously and honestly involved in a sustainability path by choosing the least harmful materials and an ethic approach to their work, but then they have to fight against timing and methods that often don’t meet our present time needs. I would like to change these aspects, but this can only happen by making all the value chain partners conscious of their role in projecting all working phases.

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