Alis Le May is Building BloQs most recent recruit; she joined the team in January 2016 as Head of Department for Fashion and Textiles and recently launched our new facility - The Textiles Studio. Alis studied at Edinburgh College of Art and London College of Fashion, her background is in pattern cutting and she has a passion for textiles and finding more sustainable alternatives to the current fashion model.
My journey to Building BloQs started in 2014 when I graduated from London College of Fashion, I quickly discovered that all the amazing facilities and equipment I had previously enjoyed, and which had become essential to my practice, were now far beyond my reach. It seemed to me that there must be a place in London where recent graduates and freelancers could go to continue to develop their skills and launch their businesses. Without exception, every fashion and textile graduate I spoke with agreed that there was a need for a facility with affordable access to professional equipment.
In the summer of 2015 I spent 3 months working as a factory manager at an ethical garment factory – SOKO Kenya. I was amazed to find that there, in Maungu – a rural Kenyan village, SOKO were making plans to establish an open-access fashion hub. This hub would enable local tailors to make an income through sewing, helping to alleviate poverty in that area, preserve skills and grow a home grown fashion industry which is so often suffocated in the developing world through the abundance of 2nd hand clothes from the west.
I returned home galvanised to set up a similar enterprise; it seemed ludicrous that London, one of the world’s most innovative fashion capitals, was lacking the resources to support local talent. I discovered Building BloQs, and I couldn’t quite believe my luck when it transpired that this incredible, inspiring social enterprise were looking to expand into textiles and fashion – and needed someone to set it up!
Each bookable bay contains a pattern cutting table, a new Brother S100A sewing machine and a K&L mannequin. Members will also have access a wide range of machines including industrial ironing equipment, overlockers and a coverstitch machine, an industrial buttonhole machine and a heavy duty walking foot machine.
We’re looking for makers from all disciplines that require stitching, from fashion, to upholstery and everything in between. Get in touch with Building BloQs to register your interest, and watch this space for news and events.
Looking forward to welcoming you into the new Textiles Studio.