Clothing from Sixteen47: A good product made in a good way
Imagine the scene. 1986. Floodgates of rain and an open stall in a Saturday market in London. A brief preview in Time Out. The first offering of our clothes to the public. Squelching underfoot. Our garments becoming sodden by the second. Yet…yet…
Sold out in half an hour!
Such tiny beginnings soon became …
a shop in Camden and a much bigger store off Oxford Street – as we became one of the pioneers of an entirely online fashion business. We have customers still from those early days, loyal to our brand and our aspirations!
What was – and still is – our core dictum over these last three decades? Put simply it is to produce good clothes made in a good way.
Sixteen47 offers classical designs with a contemporary feel, using high quality fabrics, whether prints or plains. Just as the designs remain fashionable over the years, the fabrics are chosen to last, too. They must represent a positive statement about how a woman feels about herself; unique, purposeful, confident, special and in tune. (NB because our runs are limited it is rare for our customers to come across anyone wearing the same garment!)
We are all-inclusive in our care for our customers. We seek out fine fabrics at fair prices to give value and do not discriminate when we sell our garments. Everyone purchases them at the same price, whatever the size.
Finally, we have among the lowest returns in online fashion. Why? Because we have a unique blueprint designed to create the best possible fit, we only buy fabrics which help to fulfil this fit and we aim to present our garments with visuals and descriptions that are as accurate as we can make them.
In a good way
The repositioning of the Company as a wholly online enterprise was soon followed in 1997 by the inauguration of its associate manufacturing factory in Accra, Ghana. Helen Teague is of Ghanaian descent and wanted to create an opportunity for Ghanaian clothes makers. We operated the new factory on the basis of just commerce. This means a good wage, not merely a ‘living wage’ (3 times the national average for clothes’ makers in Ghana), medical support, western health and safety conditions and a 35 hour week. All the staff, despite having little education beyond primary school, receive regular in-house skills training – and many are now also proficient in IT, using Photoshop, Excel, email and Word.
All through our relations with suppliers and producers (recently we have begun outsourcing manufacture to a factory in London, as well) we adhere to the same principles.
To sum up – what is the formula for our blueprint?