The Factory Uncovered Workshop With The Arcadia Group

On 17th May a group of Buyers Admin Assistants from the Arcadia group visited the Factory for an in depth review of the garment production process, and how a factory really operates.


The workshop commenced with CEO Jenny Holloway providing an overview of the industry, her background as a senior buyer, the story behind her own label and why today she runs a not for profit social enterprise.

The workshop covered every aspect of garment manufacturing from the three most important machines, how long it takes to stitch a garment, the importance of the lay plan, what makes a factory SMETA approved, what to look out for in a good factory from the labelling of the fabric rolls to the broken needle policy and so much more!

Following Jenny’s overview the group were given a guided tour of the factory floor by Production Director Caroline Ash. Caroline was able to show the group everything in action so they could witness for themselves how the fabric was laid onto the cutting table, the marker for the pattern pieces that were then cut and put into bundles, the bundles given to the machinists to stitch and then be pressed, final quality control and packed for delivery for the client. Caroline explained how we use Galaxius which provides total transparency so we know who made what garment, how long it took and if there were any mistakes.

Following the tour of the Factory they then spent a session with Pattern Cutter Maggie Stott who explained the importance of communication between every single person involved in the sampling process. Maggie’s session was hugely insightful – ‘Just because it measures to spec doesn’t mean it will fit’. As a pattern cutter Maggie was able to talk from her own experiences and stressed the importance of talking to the pattern cutter and asking for their opinion on fit. They are the experts and they also want to get it right first time so fit comments are vital and must be as simple and easy to follow as possible.


Overall a great session, feedback included:

‘I have learnt the process that happen in a factory, why suppliers can’t get certain stuff done and the competition between the UK factory and a far east factory. This was incredibly useful and I would love more sessions!’ Daniel, Burton

Very helpful and I have gained a lot of knowledge on how a factory works’ Megan, Burton

‘Very information and invaluable information’ Charlotte, Topman

‘I have learnt how to work communications in fit sessions, information on the fashion industry, how a factory works, and safety in a factory and understanding lead times. Great training!’ Jodie, Dorothy Perkins