In Bristol’s Old Market quarter, we spent a morning with Kate Uzzell, studio manager at Antiform. As she opens the doors of the studio, a bright light reveals the workplace where she has been designing clothes for over three years.
The driving force behind Antiform is Lizzie Harrison. She started the brand in 2007 in Leeds where she originally studied fashion. In her second year, she was making and selling clothes and also opened a shop. She moved to the South West and now lives on the outskirts of Bristol. As well as running the brand, she teaches fashion.
Lizzie drives the brand forward with her strong knowledge and skills. I studied fashion design and worked for a sustainable fashion lab. I met people who knew Lizzie. She happened to be moving to Bristol at the same time. It worked out perfectly and it was a match made in heaven.
Becky works on our online content. Naomi is in charge of our imagery and marketing. As a photographer, she focuses on feminist issues and uses fashion as a communicator. Then we have two interns, Izzy and Abi who come and help in the day-to-day making.
The key to Antiform is having this network where we can link up with people knowing where to find waste materials for example somebody working with leather. Then our aim is to make practical usable items.
Back in Leeds, Lizzie made a lot of connections with people from mills and knitting factories hence we have a lot of tweed and stretch fabric. We connected with “under the radar people” like rag traders that you only meet through word of mouth. You wouldn’t be able to Google them but they exist and work in their own networks. Since we’ve been in Bristol, we have sourced from waste yarn in Cornwall, waste from the fishing industry, making things for sea fishermen. Within our studio building is a weaving mill, so we have collaborated with them to produce our own cloth. The beauty of our working connections is that people come to us now and we can be very flexible with what we make.
People can see our collections on our website. We do stock all over Europe and in the UK. More locally we have stockists in Bristol and London. We have also created ANTIFORM x YOU where you are able to have a hand in designing your garment with us. People can come and meet us at the studio to conceptualise and pick up fabrics they would like to wear.
Bristol has a deep creative mood. We have in the city so many different types of people in terms of the way they dress but also their attitude. Being able to access so many creative industries and networks of people that you need makes it a special place. Also the proximity to open spaces and the countryside is important, especially since we constantly think of sustainable issues.
A successful collection is something that you take out of your wardrobe, you wear it, love it, and integrate it with clothes you already have and that will add a noticeable difference in your day-to-day life.
I would recommend just walking around. Bristol is probably one of the best cities in the world to wander, see amazing communities spread out like the graffiti scene. It’s easy to chat to people on the street, we have some of the best Big Issue sellers telling you all sorts of stories. Bristol is also amazing for being outdoors especially throughout the summer there are many free festivals which gather the multicultural population of the city. For a large city it is quite amazing not having to spend money to have a great time with locals.
Thank you for opening your doors to us Kate, we look forward to seeing your upcoming collection. To see the behind the scenes check our Instagram