Betty Spoke is a Glasgow based luxury brand that began life creating custom suiting and occasion wear for bespoke clients. They have since expanded into manufacturing high end tweed accessories with a strong focus on adaptable style and quality materials for a durable yet stylish garment. Betty herself tells us about where she makes…
Renting my first creative space was an amazing feeling. I was progressing. It was terrifying of course, but adding a major outgoing onto your life and your income is going to be daunting for anybody. I’d been working from home for over a year with clients visiting for consultations. My equipment was far from minimal. I was slowly going insane.
As a compromise, I rented the biggest unit I could afford. It’s split into two rooms, the first of which has three massive windows along the south wall. These allow in endless light during the summer months. When Scotland decides to do summer. 2014 was a comparative heat wave & these long days somehow charged my limbs into working more effectively.
The first half of this area is where I do fittings and talk to clients. Here I store all my fabric samples and inspiration books, next to comfy chesterfields and a large looking glass. I talk about design ideas, perfect toiles and have one last gaze at the final garment.
The second section of the room is a little more chaotic. A large whiteboard reminding me what tasks need to be accomplished. A continuous roll of paper and card for pattern drafting. A large bag of fabric ends that I slowly fill then donate to my local community centre (for stuffing up-cycled draught excluders). Mannequins stand dressed in various examples of my work; currently a bias cut pinstripe dress with a tailcoat feature. A green ribbed jersey dress matched with a navy crop lambs wool jacket. A pair of strobe effect dropped crotch trousers and a pink check Harris Tweed Poplet scarf with magnetic fastenings (the accessory I am focusing on for the Christmas period).
They all crowd around my worktable, admiring the colourful array of fabrics stored on its built in shelves yet embarrassed by the clutter associated with my latest project strewn across the surface. I tend to sprawl myself over the whole space pretty effectively. And enjoy discarding pieces of paper and thread on the floor while focusing on the task in hand – only to grumble when the time comes to clear up after myself.
A second door directly opposite the first leads off into a smaller back room. This area oversees the construction side of things and is occasionally used as a large dressing room for my more modest clients. Here hides two mammoth industrial machines and a steam iron as well as a plethora of thread, shoulder pads, sewing needles and garment fastenings.
The building was created to barrel whisky originally. And the room I reside in was a recording studio before I set up shop. Every wall had been painted black. It was both dramatic and depressing simultaneously. Now it is white. With patterns, pictures and materials pinned on every surface.
You can find Betty at her studio 674 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow (contact her first on email@example.com).
‘Where I Make’ invites readers behind the scenes of artists from many disciplines to share photographs and a little insight about where they create their masterpieces. See more from the series here.