CapeTalk

Figure Forms

Biography

Making a living from manufacturing mannequins for the clothing industry is no job for dummies, says Rory Millam. He says that he founded his company, Figure Forms, nearly 25 years ago, when he saw a niche in the clothing industry to manufacture specialised products that were, at that point, all imported and only made to overseas sizes.Rory explains that Figure Forms develops and manufactures the technical-fit mannequins used for garment quality assurance and design by both local and international clothing retailers and their suppliers. In addition, it offers related products like the professional dressmaking forms used by designers and couturiers, as well as high quality display torsos for boutiques. He adds that the company also conducts body size surveys and consults to many retailers on size and fit trends.Figure Forms supplies to clothing retailers in South Africa and overseas, notably in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Rory says the business forms a niche link in the clothing industry between retailers, manufacturers and academia. Moreover, it holds unique intellectual property, gathered over the last 25 years, regarding sizing, anthropometry and moulding techniques. The company is one of only a few internationally recognised companies that can develop and manufacture these kinds of technical fit forms, and the only one in Africa. He believes that the company needs to continually move forward, adopting new technologies - such as 3D scanning – to enable it to grow in new directions. For this, he seeks access to capital funding, in order to invest in these technologies and thereby improve the product offerings.Rory says that the business already proudly exports to China, and that he aims to grow its international footprint, particularly into the rest of Africa. He also wants Figure Forms to play a more definitive role in the SA apparel industry, in terms of providing an intellectual service that both large and small retailers, as well as clothing manufacturers can benefit from.