Jul 14 2021
Categories: Ocacia story
The African denim jacket and Ocacia: It was during lockdown when a loyal customer ask that we make his denim jacket. We had tried before and it was a terrible disaster. But we are older now, we have the in-house skillset. So we again reached out to our buddy Faisal who runs one of the oldest denim factories in Durban and he lent us some pattern blocks. Now his pattern blocks did not work out 100% and every time we tried to make jackets we failed. And you need to understand what failing means.
Failing (for one) is emotionally draining. It is expensive. It is a waste of time. You need to go right back to the pattern and come again. So you end up with many many denim jackets each getting better. Unfortunately with his patterns, it kept getting worst. Someone then made some new patterns for us. But again there is a risk of investing in patterns that are bad. So we found a nice fitting denim jacket and ripped it to pieces and merged all the patterns and finally after 3 tries struck gold.
Now we have a base for all other sizes to scale up and scale down (grade up and grade down). But it is not over! Oh No. Because after you get your pattern right you need to get the technique right. So here we are making beautiful denim jackets for clients but we never had the technique on lock so denim jackets took ages to make. And then we finally got a team of tailors together who made jackets day and night until they refined the technique. And then came COVID and the team dissolved. A lot of that knowledge was lost. And anytime you have a specialized product that will happen. There is not enough support for our denim jackets for us to totally set up a rhythm for making them. We only have two tailors that do them all. And they are so in-depth that transferring the skillset is challenging, especially due to the COVID crisis. And the process for ladies jackets was similar but because we had the skills transferred from the men's denim jackets, the issues were less.
I think creative businesses are as much challenging mentally as they are physically..What stopped our African denim jacket for so long was more mental than physical. You really need to build up that energy to just get up and do what you have neverdone before. And on top of that, we have adopted that attitude of "Go big or Go home." So if all we were coming to do is make a denim jacket like Levi then what would be the point? So we had to not only make a denim jacket but better what was being offered.