FC Designer Collective: Buttress & Snatch
Each week FashionCapital will shine a spotlight on one of their creative talents stocked at the FC Designer Collective on Fonthill Road, London N4. This week it’s the turn of Rachel Kenyon and her lingerie brand Buttress & Snatch…
Rachel Kenyon started Buttress & Snatch in 2000 after working in production in a small Hackney factory making for high-end fashion lingerie brands such as AP, Paul Smith and Frost French. Rachel has produced lingerie entirely in the UK for the last 20-years and has made pieces worn by Madonna, Kate Moss, Lizzo, Beth Ditto, Eva Green, Salma Hayek as well as a great deal of diverse and wonderful regular people of every size, age, gender in almost every country in the world.
Buttress & Snatch specialises in making lingerie in a small scale and a personal way. Rachel believes that this is the only decent way to operate in today’s world where fashion practice is often environmentally harmful and exploitative of garment workers. Working this way is harder and more expensive than the regular high street brands as the process is time consuming, but no-one is made miserable along the way, and the brand is proudly inclusive of every kind of size and style diversity as each piece is cut and made individually to order.
Rachel’s meticulous made-to-measure service ensures that her work is non-wasteful, creative and inventive making use of repurposed textiles and deadstock materials. Buttress & Snatch source around 95% from UK companies and try and work as much as possible with fabrics that are made here too.
The lingerie is created at a community run workshop located in the old Turkish Delight factory in Stamford Hill. Rachel and her team have been located there for 15-years and work alongside film costumiers, shoe makers, custom print specialists, upholsterers, bookbinders, fine artists and musicians. The workshop is run independently by Rachel and her team, which, just about, makes the space affordable for this slow fashion lingerie brand.
“I often feel that our place here is one of the last bastions of independent creativity in London where there is an increasing struggle for affordable space. It is important to be a community for idea growth and general camaraderie. It takes a long time to make something in an artisanal way. Time costs money so we are very grateful to have this space to be able to store our treasure trove of reclaimed fabrics, silks and vintage laces and to enable creative process to experiment and make ever exciting and diverse new design,” Rachel says.
Part of what Buttress & Snatch are making and showcasing at the FC Designer Collective is from the new CUT THE COTTON project, which they are launching in first phase R&D development this Christmas in partnership with Make Town Hackney who were founder members of the recent ScrubHub operation that did so much to help in the PPE crisis.
Rachel and her team are developing an interactive production model along the same lines as the ScrubHub to recycle the UK’s now often redundant waste work shirts transforming them into boxer shorts and underwear. The project aims to develop and implement a strategy to go from Scrubs to Work, providing easy open access vocational education in garment production, paid distanced piecework and the monetising of what would otherwise be landfill scrap textile materials.
Cotton production has a high environmental cost taking as much as 2,700 litres of water to make a shirt. These shirts can end up in landfill well before their time as it seems there is now so much waste clothing in the world we can’t shift it all. There are more and more stories of charity shops sending surplus tonnes of garments to Africa where their distribution often harms local clothes making economies and also just ends up as landfill due to its high volume.
Buttress & Snatch think this is clearly nothing short of madness!!! Especially since the team understand quality fabrics and that the fine Cotton Poplins most often used for shirts are of a much higher quality thread count and high spec than the average boxer short. The team take the best shirt cuts and give them new life as lovely and luxurious shorts and underwear of every kind. The best thing is that in this model the cost of every step in the supply chain will be documented and the garment maker gets the highest proportionate cut of the final retail price.
Come and see Buttress & Snatch designs at the FC Designer Collective, now at 113-115, Fonthill Road, London N4 3HH.
Shop opening days / hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 – 17:00