THE LIST: 2021

As we enter 2022, we look back at another unprecedented year... 


Moving in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic, 2021 was our first year at our new studio in Tottenham Hale. Flooded with natural light from two expansive walls of windows and with soaring ceilings, it has proved an uplifting place to work. Featuring an 11 metre cutting board (our original atelier had room for just a four metre board!) and space for 15 new machines, it also has private meeting rooms for fittings and consultations. An ideal space for both our team to work in and to meet with clients, we are excited for another productive and fulfilling work year ahead.


We founded MAES London with the mission of making manufacturing accessible and 2021 felt like the year that goal came to fruition, with our busiest year yet. Over the past twelve months we created 6,703 garments for 76 clients. We also welcomed 40 new clients and seven new members to our core team. As we head into our fifth year in business we are more determined than ever to celebrate the important role manufacturing plays in the fashion industry and the value of producing garments locally in the UK. 


After the turmoil of the previous year (and let’s be honest this year too), the future of fashion was on the agenda in 2021, with our founder Diana Kakkar lending her thoughts to numerous podcasts and panels where ‘what’s next?’ was the phrase on everyone’s lips. We also met with the students of the newly launched JCA Academy. Founded by OBE Jimmy Choo, it is a fashion college with a difference, focused on developing not only the skills of design but the knowledge required for entrepreneurship. We’re looking forward to working together with the students in years ahead.


After a year-long hiatus, fashion week returned in physical form with audiences at runway shows and in-person presentations. The mood was exuberant, with both designers and the industry that revolves around them, visibly elated to be back. There was a clear element of fun at the SS22 shows. From a takeover by The Simpsons at Balenciaga, to a supermodel-studded party for 6,000 to celebrate Olivier Rousteing’s 10th year at Balmain as well as an unexpected collaboration between Italian powerhouses Versace and Fendi. Closer to home, we were thrilled to see our clients’ beautiful designs on the runway at LFW again.


2021 will also be noted as the year we lost some of fashion’s celebrated designers. The passing of much-loved industry veteran Alber Elbaz was marked with a tribute show at the end of PFW, where 45 fellow designers paid homage to his inspiring legacy of work. Co-founder of 16Arlington and rising star Federica Cavenati sadly passed away in November while in the same month the death of trailblazing creative Virgil Abloh was announced. The founder of OffWhite, Abloh will be remembered for taking streetwear to the highest echelons of fashion with his role as creative director at Louis Vuitton menswear and truly redefining what is possible in the industry.