Located in an oft overlooked enclave of East London, S.E.H Kelly's workshop is quietly going about its business of making quality garments with the makers of the British Isles. Having long admired the label's hunger to showcase British craftsmanship, we finally paid Paul Vincent and Sara Kelly a visit over the weekend.
Their Boundary Street haven was an intimate hive of activity as the remaining pieces for AW12 took shape and thoughts began to drift towards the months ahead. On its top deck are the rolls of cloth, the patterns and trims and a whole assortment of implements for garment-making. Meanwhile, lower space is home to an ongoing procession of shirts, overshirts, jackets, trousers and knitwear at various stages of completion. It is a delight to explore. Now, given that every aspect of every garment is made with the domestic clothing industry, with steadfast adherence to quality and the sturdiness of British make, we could leave without asking the design duo to reveal their favourite tools. Here, Vincent reveals three tools of S.E.H Kelly's trade...
"What can you say about the stork scissors that hasn't already been said? The stork scissors are the go-to for trimming threads, tidying up button-holes, snipping string when wrapping -- usually just prior to garments being dispatched or handed over to customers at the workshop (at the factory, industrial-grade nippers are the utensil of choice)."
Single-hole hole punch
"What can you say about the single-hole hole-punch that hasn't already been said? A real partner-in-crime to the stork scissors, the punch, and in a given week will punch its way through swing tickets, spare-button bags, fabric-swatch bags, and pattern cards. Looked at from a certain angle it too looks like a bird -- or perhaps a dolphin. Not the most ergonomic hole punch, truth be told, but history shows the most reliable."
Trodat Printy 4917 ink-stamp
"What can you say about the Trodat Printy 4917 ink-stamp that hasn't already been said? Since we've no first-hand experience of precursors to the 4917, the 4917 is in our books the apex of self-inking stamp tech. Once mastered, the 4917 never fails, and this particular 4917 has stamped without complaint our brand name onto envelopes, letters to customers and suppliers, and swing tickets, since day one." Paul Vincent.