How it began and what we do...
IT BEGAN WITH A JACKET…..
Pajotten is a clothing brand, started in 2016 by Ben Sears and myself, Becca Barton. Years ago one of Ben’s friends had an old, French navy moleskin chore jacket, heavily worn and faded, with the beginnings of frays and tears, Ben often borrowed it, so for his birthday I took a pattern from it and constructed a replica in soft grey denim bought from Berwick street Market in London.
The original jacket had twisted over time to the shape of its wearer and I built these traits into the new jacket, changing straight of grains slightly to encourage a relaxed hang, and raising the back hem so it fell with a hunch, and creating a slight bagginess in the pocket. Although very rough in construction the jacket was a success and I found I really enjoyed the process of making a piece of workwear.
At the time of making the jacket we were both fed up with our respective jobs, and were considering what else we might do. On a particularly grumpy Sunday we went for a walk in Hempstead Forest and started to discuss our plans for future work, I expressed how much I had relished the process of making the chore jacket, and we started to discuss whether we could run a company together producing them. Very quickly a plan started to develop, we knew we wanted to make to order, and only use natural fibre cloth, and we particularly wanted to design clothes that people could, and would, want to wear everyday. Within an hour we had finished our walk and largely planned out the company that we have built and run today. We didn’t realise at the time but what we were talking about was creating a Slow Clothing Brand.
It took six more months of designing, pattern cutting, searching for British cloth suppliers (harder than it should be!) sewing, trialling and planning before we decided on the first few garments we wanted to produce. Initially we focused on menswear, so we started with a chore jacket, a shirt and a pair of trousers, we bought ten metres of indigo cotton canvas from a Yorkshire mill, and three metres of a rough linen from a local shop in order to make the first samples. We built a website, took some photos of the clothes in our living room, uploaded the images onto the website and then sat back and waited….. for a month, before on a Tuesday night, just before 9pm my phone finally jumped into life to let us know we had made our first sale.
WHAT WE DO
We aim to produce everyday clothes, garments that you will want to wear every day and that will last for years. We believe the current global fast fashion model is unsustainable. We aim to be a brand that rejects that approach and instead embraces conscious, slow production, while putting the customer first and supporting the production of local, ethical and sustainably produced cloth.
CLOTHES THAT WORK
The focus at Pajotten is to make clothes that can be worn all day every day, that means the clothes have to become favourites, clothes people wanted to wear everyday because they made you look and feel good, but also clothes that you can work and move easily in and don’t date - clothing rather than fashion.
References for design and construction come from functional workwear. Hours have been spent happily trawling the rails in second hand shops, getting excited by pocket detail and placement, leaping to a paper and pencil when watching a period drama or western and spotting a new seam detail, and tirelessly leafing through historical chore wear reference books from across the globe.
Many of our repeat customers are designers, artists and makers. We know that you need clothes that you can move easily in, sleeves that roll up easily, and deep pockets that hold and protect your tools and wallets. We design always focused on what would make the garment better for you to wear rather than what would make it more cost effective in construction.
A BETTER WAY
Anyone who has seen the images of the UK’s unwanted, unworn clothes lying on African beaches knows that the current system of fast fashion isn’t working for either the planet, or for you, the consumer. At Pajotten the majority of our clothes are made to order, you purchase on the website and then we spend our time making your garment especially for you, in real terms what that means is that Ben places your order sheet on the table, checks size, style and cloth and then cuts your order individually by hand - (if you look closely sometimes you can still spot chalk marks), then passes it to me to sew. The process of sewing a garment involves hours of machine and hand stitching, overlocking, and pressing, even the garment label is hand sewn to designate size and cloth. Your garment is made consciously and carefully, two people making something for you from start to finish rather than the factory way where each seam and process is carried out by a different person, with no one taking responsibility. Because you take as much care in choosing your garment as we do making it, returns are very rare at Pajotten. Each garment page contains a detailed sizing chart, and we are always on hand to answer any questions you may have pre purchase.
30% of our unwanted clothing currently goes to landfill. In the UK we send 700,000 tonnes of clothing to recycling centres, textile banks, clothes collections and to charity each year. That's enough to fill 459 Olympic-size swimming pools.
You have a favourite jacket, shirt, dress, trouser, you probably wear them a lot, or, because you are so fond of them you keep them in a wardrobe and wear them rarely so that they last longer… my guess is you wished you had bought three originally so you could keep wearing them for years to come, but because the garment was from a fast fashion brand you will never be able to buy another, yet the brand probably threw thousands of that style into landfill when they didn’t sell…
Its important to us that you can always access a favourite style, so we have the Constant Collection, the mainstay of our offer, a small range of mens and womenswear comprised of our most popular styles, so you can always get another exactly the same as the last, year on year, some of our customers have several versions of the same jacket or shirt, just in a different cloth, sometimes in a change of size, as lifestyle dictates.
Fast fashion's impact on the environment is undeniable, cheap cloth made using petrochemicals such as polyester, lycra, and microfibres not only pollute but take thousands of years to decompose, at Pajotten we are determined to make sure we aren’t adding to this problem, ALL of our clothes are made using 100% natural fibres such as hemp, tencel, and linen, we also use some cottons but where we do it is always when we can source organic, recycled, deadstock or locally woven cloth. We want you to see how great our cloth is and so send out swatch packs on request, we carry a lot of cloth not shown on the website so very often customers will be the only person to own a style in a particular fabric.
If you want to learn more about our cloth and the environmental benefits of using hemp, deadstock and recycled cloth please check out out detailed fabric guide: https://pajotten.com/pages/fabric-guide
COST PER WEAR
A customer made a comment on social media, explaining how much he wears his Pajotten chore jacket, saying the ‘Cost Per Wear’ is now in pence rather than pounds. It seems to me that at the moment the Cost Per Wear calculation is more important than ever before, we need to buy and wear clothes we love and will enjoy wearing for years rather than buying into the unsustainable model of trends and fast fashion. Now is a time to invest in clothes that you can, and want to wear almost very day, clothes that are made to last, and will ultimately save you money. Bens much loved studio jacket is just under seven years old, for the first five and a half years he wore it every single day apart from when it needed a wash - He now wears the same cut but in a different cloth and rotates the two (he is a creature of habit) so at a conservative calculation of 1500 days of wear for a jacket that costs £170 that makes it 11p per day so far and getting cheaper every day.
MADE TO LAST
One of the things we are keen on is that Pajotten clothes should be made to last, if you have any clothes from high street chains turn them inside out and look at the seams and hems, my bet is you will see lots of overlocking stitches (like a zigzag or blanket stitch) Its cheap to do, but it doesn’t last, the stitch snags and before you know it you have raw edges, or you iron the garment inside out and the thread literally melts.
All Pajotten garments are either French or fell seamed, this means that every seam is stitched twice, meaning it will you last a lot longer. Did you know about SPI (stitch per inch) A higher SPI indicates greater stitch density and higher quality stitching. More short stitches typically mean there are stronger connections at the seams and thus the garment will last longer, conversely, a lower SPI often indicates lower quality. Garments with a low SPI are typically less durable, have long stitches and are more prone to snagging. Our SPI is between 16 -20, fast fashion companies typically have an SPI of about 7-10, if you have a tape measure handy, check it out.
SHOP LOCAL - SUPPORT SMALL
Its important to us that our carbon footprint is low, and that we support local manufacture, to this end we source our buttons from a small maker in Gloucestershire, and much of our cloth from a mill in Leicestershire, other cloth comes from a wholesale supplier in Sussex who specialises in sustainable and organic cloth, this simple choice puts money and employment back into the local economy, and reduces our environmental impact.
MAKE. DO. AND MEND
As part of our ethos to make clothes that can be worn every day we are very keen that Pajotten pieces should be repaired rather than discarded, A garment that has been worn and loved for years often will need a patch or repair to keep it going, indeed there is something about the process of repairing a favourite garment that makes the clothing even more treasured afterwards, certainly Ben and I own clothes that have been repaired multiple times over the years and I think that adds to their appeal.
There is a growing and welcome interest in repair at the moment, books such as ‘The Art of Repair’ by Molly Martin celebrate the global history of mending fabric, and gives useful advice about how to repair your own clothes.
We are currently working on a page for the website to show you how you can, either by hand or machine mend your own clothes, already we include a spare button and thread with each garment so that you can make your own repairs in the future.
GET IN TOUCH
We are a very small, but friendly brand, we love to hear from you and are keen to help and advise, both on the clothes we produce and also how you can care for them, please get in touch if you think we can help
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org OR call us on 01580 763986