Founded in 2016, Fronté has grown to take up a new studio in Cockpit Arts and we’re pretty excited about it as we journey from fledgling business roots to develop new clothing, reach out to more people and get our story across. Established over thirty years ago, Cockpit Arts is a special place…it maximises social impact as an award-winning social enterprise, and is the UK’s only creative-business incubator for designer-makers. Over 150 master craftspeople, artist-makers, batch producers and more scalable businesses call it home from restoring and customising saxophones, clarinets and flutes to knitwear selling from Osaka to Geneva. The true value of affordable studio space and a curated skills programme for makers is not to be sniffed at, especially as in recent years commercial property rents have rocketed, making it hard to find affordable space in London. In fact commercial property rent increased 70% between 2010 and 2015, changing the traditional face of London and threatening the future of skilled designers/makers and a rich heritage of craft.
With some trepidation Fronté applied for, and to our delight was awarded, a place with the London Creative Network, a tailored development programme for artists and creative practitioners in London delivered by organisations including Cockpit Arts. As illustrator Josie Shenoy says in her Cockpit Arts Maker’s Stories, “You don’t learn any of the business side of things at university, so the practical business support that Cockpit offers is so helpful”, and in our experience we can only agree. The response during December to our winter garments including the herringbone cotton coat has been incredible, customers have raved about it and told their friends but we’ve also been busy planning for an amazing 2018 and beyond aided by a team of business consultants and getting to know a community of skilled designer/makers in our new home.
If you want to visit there are Open Studios at Deptford (Fri 15, Sat 16 & Sun 17 Jun 2018) or Holborn (Fri 8, Sat 9 & Sun 10 Jun 2018). Visitors get the opportunity to meet the personality behind the product and help forge real relationships. You get the opportunity to have a look behind the scenes, to understand more about what they do and how you help small businesses and the local economy. If you’re curious how to make then why not visit and find out, then try a hand at something yourself. There are awards and bursaries available for funding and Cockpit Arts consult with clients from Hackney to Vietnam.