When selecting fabrics from which to create quality shirts for women, the first step is finding material that is comfortable, even when you wear it all day long. As a designer, I have to anticipate that most women will stay in the same set of clothes for at least eight hours, but I also realise that there are many occasions when that might stretch into 12 or even 15 hours if you’re heading straight from work into dinner or an evening function.
While I’m in the design stages of each of my shirts, I make a selection of fabrics that have been produced ethically – preferably organically farmed natural fibres made by workers who are being paid a fair wage – often with my input from the time the fibre is harvested.
Wherever possible, I work with producers who are members of Amfori, an organisation for businesses doing good for people and planet, Better Cotton Initiative, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and Sedex, which works with businesses to improve working conditions in global supply chains.
Once, I’m happy with the origins of the fabric I then make up the pattern to wear myself. This doesn’t just mean slipping it on, buttoning it up and checking it out in the mirror; I wear each shirt for at least a day, assessing the comfort and softness of the fabric. Another important consideration, which factors into comfort, is the breathability of the material. Even where I live, on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria’s south, we can get hot and humid days during summer, so it’s can’t be overlooked.
When I’m happy with the way the shirt looks and feels while I’m wearing it, I’ll then make up more samples for some of my fit models. The process starts over again, but this time they’ll come back to me with any issues they have with comfort or the wear of the fabric.
When we’re all happy, it’s time for the final phase of the shirt fabric testing. We all wash them to see whether it keeps its shape and looks as good as the first time I wore it. It also gives us a chance to see if a colour runs or if we need to add special washing instructions to the labelling.
Part of the HANNA EDWARDS philosophy is producing shirts and garments that women will be wearing years after they’ve bought them. The designs themselves are versions of tried-and-true classic styles, so it’s only fitting that the fabrics should also stand the test of time, even if you wear them constantly. You can be assured when you buy a HANNA EDWARDS shirt it is an investment piece – one that’ll you have in your wardrobe for all occasions for years to come.