How did you get into bespoke tailoring?
I got into bespoke tailoring after a few years at Vivienne Westwood. I wanted to learn and understand how to make clothes to the highest possible standard, where everything is done by hand. I wanted to work with men and women who have dedicated their lives to perfecting their craft. Something that is sadly increasingly rare.
Describe your typical client.
I wouldn’t say I had one at all, I have made clothes for 19 year olds to 60year olds, and all with different styles.
What makes a great suit?
Personally I like a decent width to the lapels, normally around 4″, none of those flimsy pathetic numbers we’ve been seeing around recently. Also a good length to the jacket, particularly if the client is tall. High waisted trousers, narrow sleeve hole and sleeve and padded shoulders to give the jacket that lovely silhouette. Its really all about proportion.
Could you run us through your creative process when designing a bespoke suit?
It entirely depends on the client as you can imagine. Some come with a clear idea what they might like, others just say I want a suit and let you do your thing. Sometimes I might start with a fabric and design the suit around it, or others there might be a specific style of jacket that I think would suit the client, and so go from that as a base. There are normally a minimum of 3 fittings per suit so the process is very much an on going one. Rarely is something definitive at the beginning.
How would you describe your own style?
Ahh its a mixture and depends very much on where I am or what I am going to. I tend to wear clothes from my own label though, so a fair bit of bespoke clothing, but rarely particularly normal. My favourite suit is made from a cashmere, wool and silk mix from Loro Piana, and the herringbone is a light blue and burgundy, so unless you are very close to it it looks purple. Another favourite is a long Nehru collared robe, that has hand embroidery all up the sleeves and down the back, this is probably the most complicated due to the level of skill and hand work required. Although I did a double breasted jacket recently for myself that was made entirely out of the swatches from Scabals old bunches that they were throwing out. Trying to find a coat maker to fiddle around with hundreds of little patches was rather interesting.
What do you think of how men dress today?
I think fantastic personal style is rare as it is not something that can be bought or taught. It’s a very natural evolution, a combination of many factors. I find the overall appearance of men to be very generic now days, but I think no matter what the era there will always be generic trends particularly with such a large marketing reach now days. But there will always be those with their own style.
If you could dress any man who would it be?
There are a few men I would love to work with. Lapo Elkann would be huge fun to dress. Charlie Watts and HRH The Prince of Wales both have the most magnificent style, but I think I would most want to dress the man who came in with a blank canvas and asks for a full wardrobe of clothes, for all seasons and all occasions, then I really think I could have some fun.
What has been the most satisfying moment so far ?
Rather boringly, probably when the company was listed as a limited company. I think for any businessmen when you see your first company legally registered, it is a day to be remembered. Otherwise though there have been many small highlights, a few that spring to mind though are when Philip Treacy very kindly put me forward as his young up and coming designer. Another would be doing this shoot with Rich, as I have been a huge fan and it was a joy to see him wearing the clothes. Like with anything there have been many ups and downs.
How have you innovated to keep tailoring relevant?
Ahh, a hard question. Bespoke tailoring in its self is always innovative because of all the different body shapes and personal styles you have to work with. But by way of aesthetic, I think its all in the small details and the little touches. Whether it is a particular bit of hand work or a small bit of personalisation. It is all about making clothes that make your client stand tall with confidence and pride.