Making Scorpio Trip

Making Scorpio Trip

by Saeed Al-Rubeyi

One of the 'unusual' things about Story mfg. is we don't do a thing until we can do it our way. What I mean by that is unlike other designers and brands, if we want, say, waterproof fabric we have to work out a way to make or source it according to our strict guidelines vs being able to order it ready made from a middleman or mill. It means our stuff is always bespoke to us, but it makes developing and researching things a very large part of our practice.

When we started the brand we made a naturally dyed denim pair of trousers because that was all we could do. After that we started looking into different fabrics to make things with, and our range grew to include both denim and other naturally dyed wovens. It's the same story over and over, and although today the range of things we can do seems big, it's taken almost a decade to get here.

In 2017 we began working with block printers in India, which was the first time we could introduce patterns and prints. Up until that point everything was a plain colour. We've always been keen to ensure we aren't just taking heritage patterns and work, and that we are introducing new elements in a more collaborative way to really celebrating the craft and art.

Katy and I had been collecting and coveting old hand-made tees and vintage jackets so we were excited to use block printing as a way to mimic the home-made, naive, home-spun vibe. 

Our first go was 'Strange Trip' which was a mixture of traditional elements and new illustrations. From there we did 'Second Trip', developing that style. To bring in a fresh element we started asking artists to make a set of drawings we could interpret in this style, and collaborators were Will Gaynor ('Quantum Trip' and 'Nice Trip') and Alex Coxen ('Spiral Trip'). Here's a few images I pulled together from various seasons below.

Most recently, for this season we worked with Shana Sadeghi -Ray (@scorpioincharge) who took a loose brief from us and created a set of drawings below.


The next step was to work out which bits to use and how to use them. This time we decided to take about a third and make into blocks for printing, but also use the little apple drawings and turn them into crochet. 

The 'story mfg' wordy bits we tried a couple of things with, but it turned out the nicest looking (and hardest to do in production - sorry) was to hand embroider it onto garments once they were sewn.

As with all the previous 'Trip' designs, this process took a couple of months to work through, and involved a lot of trial and error (and creative thinking) from the craftspeople. We kept in touch every day to work through bits over instant messenger.

Here's a few updates we got.

Once it was all worked out we got the samples back, showed them to stores and then went straight into production. It usually takes around 5 months (more, really) to make production pieces, and this time we were lucky enough to get video of a couple of the processes in action. Here's the block printing at Tharangini Studio

And here's hand embroidery at The Colours Of Nature, where these garments were first sewn, sent for printing then returned for embroidery, QC and packing.

You can see everything with 'Scorpio Trip' we have on our site here, and there's other different bits spread across our stockists worldwide.