“They are a great, dependable and reliable team who I know will do what it takes to get the orders out and deadlines met. I couldn’t do my job without them,” says designer Michelle Ludek about her core team; supervisor Jackie, cutter Farieda and machinists, Margaret and Cheryl.
All five of them work from a light infused, high ceilinged factory in Muizenburg, just outside Cape Town. “It’s a great space, so quiet, nobody hassles us,” Michelle says, a stark contrast to the bustling space they outgrew in the city in Observatory two years ago. Michelle began her own factory after the CMT that did most of her production closed down. She took on a few of the CMT’s employees. “It made perfect sense to start my own factory as the team knew my styles so well and I just needed to secure their jobs,” she explains.
Michelle is an incredibly busy woman. As well as doing all the design, most of the pattern making and all the administration for the Michelle Ludek label, on top of fashion shows and travel, she is also a wife and the mother to two children, a nine year old son and six year old daughter. A production team she trusts is essential. Michelle’s label is designed for women like her, women on the go. “It’s very important to feel and look good in whatever I am wearing, Comfort is essential as my day is so demanding. I need to create, design and wear clothes that can be worn on school runs, dinner dates and to work. It can’t be complicated and I believe in owning less but more of the right items,”she says.
Having her own label was always Michelle’s dream, but she only pursued it after coming back to South Africa after leaving Canada, and after the birth of her son. “Motherhood changed me,” she explains, “priorities changed and shifted.” She knew she couldn’t go back to a corporate work environment. It started humbly, with Michelle working from one sewing machine at her dining room table, making dresses for her sister. She sent some samples through to
View of the Factory Floor
Farieda Bassier, Cutter