Threads, Anjali and Panya’s company, hired a room for storage higher up Arrow Street, and used the limited space released at the back of their shop to construct and equip a consulting room; a room with just enough girth to display garments and just enough privacy to engage with the hoped-for customers.
The consulting room inevitably became cluttered with that equipment for tailoring that is only occasionally needed, or might just be needed at some stage. This trade clutter gave an environment and focus to the garment/client interaction that Anjali found even to be helpful.
There is an acceptance that ‘things that look as they should, most probably will function as they should.’ This rule is as applicable to the design of any garment, as it is to the feeling of a tailor’s consulting room. Anjali’s cluttered consulting room, like any good garment, was designed to an idea, but soon wore into an exact and comfortable fit.
It was no surprise to either of the women running ‘Threads of Arrow Street’ that, as in life so in fashion, everything is a struggle; and what works today would not have worked yesterday and could never have worked tomorrow. The muddled and muddy river of circumstance flows freely and never freezes, and all you can do is pick your moment and leap into the dark.
Anjali grasped quickly that her early customers must be comfortable with the need to get to the bottom of things with haste. The client required an interest in – and preferably a love of – clothing as well as at least some understanding of a garment’s intrinsic role in how others see us. This much she had identified during the sleepless nights that are the sure bedfellows of a tailor pondering a ‘possible opportunity, but potential distraction.’
There were, it was soon plain, few regular customers who were of a mind to embrace the opportunity of progressive fashion. Any spark of interest that might have taken hold was soon blown out; for the whole town was in the embrace of an easterly wind which carried late winter snow over the mountains and biting down onto the valley.
The ‘alterations consulting room’ consumed a large measure of coffee and fashionable biscuits but delivered little beyond the snaring of some extra alteration work, for which the profit was so thin it was see-through. The theory of ‘fashion through progressive alteration’ seemed to be an illusion and perhaps even a delusion. There were soon tensions twisting between the two business partners, which threatened to tear open the seams of ‘Threads of Arrow Street.’
‘We are doing more work for no extra profit. That is not a motivator for me in this business,’ said Panya quietly, as another long day was sewn up over some chamomile tea.
‘Panya is so capable,’ thought Anjali. ‘Everything flows like cotton through a machine needle when she is running the business.’
A good garment is so designed that if there are tensions, which could lead to its rupture, it will give across a secondary seam.
‘It seems that I am now the secondary seam of Threads,’ thought Anjali. ‘The tension is rising, and the tempers are fraying. I must be the one that gives a little.’
The friction was eased by Anjali conceding a date by which there must be an agreed, detailed and measured amount of material progress towards her design.
‘Otherwise I will return, as I promised you Panya, to the alterations and repairs that we both understand to be the solid foundation underpinning Threads of Arrow Street.’