Other bespoke tailors' interpretation of bespoke tailoring


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Samrat Amarnani managing director of the firm of Collars & Cuffs in Dubai speaking to Joshua Ntiedo Umoren (Co-founder of the tailoring brand Morts & More London, Style Consultant, Speaker and Fashion Writer).

Andrew M Ramroop OBE As Master Tailor and owner of bespoke Savile Row tailors Maurice Sedwell (Est. 1938) He began his London training as a backroom trainee for another Savile Row institution, Huntsman & Son in 1970, having arrived from his native Trinidad, West Indies. Offered a position by tailor Maurice Sedwell himself, Ramroop mastered his craft, worked his way to the top, becoming managing director of the business in 1982 and then buying the company in 1988.


Samrat Amarnani explains

Every businessman and business lady or every Professional should have a suit that fits. It's more than a fashion statement, it’s a given work attire. The only problem is, it’s hard to find a ready-made suit that fits in all the right places!! That’s why bespoke tailored suits are your best bet.

What are bespoke suits?

According to Amarnani, a bespoke suit is customized to fit your personal style and body type through the cut, lining, and pattern. At Collars and Cuffs, the tailors take 30 of your body measurements – including jacket, pants, and sleeves length and shoulder and waist size – to make your suit. From the measurements taken, they also evaluate your body shape (i.e. square or low positioned shoulders) to help hide flaws or enhance strong points. Beside a great fit, bespoke suits have unlimited customization options that vary from button types to lining colors and pocket designs.

The most important option is fabric. The look and feel of a suit is largely aided by the type of fabric used. At Collars and Cuffs, we have 2,500 different fabric options, in various different qualities and materials, to choose from. But our most popular options include 100% wool, 100% Cashmere, linen, pure cotton, wool and silk blends, and cashmere and wool blends,” says Amarnani.

How much does it cost to tailor a bespoke suit and what does the cost depend on?

According to Amarnani, the average price range for bespoke suits starts at almost AED 2,000. (R8580.94 @ 16/02/2016 exchange rate)“We have a price that rivals the most competitive in the industry and it starts from AED 1,950 (R8366.42 @ 16/02/2016 exchange rate) at the lower end up to AED 20,000+ (R85809.43 @ 16/02/2016 exchange rate)at the higher end. The main costing factor to take into account when ordering a suit is the type of fabric used,” he says.

What are the steps that go into making a bespoke tailored suit?

Here are the 6 unique steps at Collars & Cuffs:  

Step 1; You choose your fabric.

Step 2; You discuss and determine the suits' design with the firm’s tailors through a step-by-step process.

Step 3; You get your measurements taken.

Step 4; You come back for a trial fitting where you try a garment with dummy stitches to give an idea of how the garment will look on you. You can still make minor changes in the styling at this point.

Step 5; You come back again for a second trial fitting where you try on the garment with the alterations that were done since the first trial, with only a few points on the jacket left unfinished.

Step 6; You pick up your new bespoke tailored suit and the brand keeps your pattern for future use.

How long does it take for the process and the suit to be made?

While the time defers depending on the tailoring house and complexity of the suit, the entire process at Collars & Cuffs takes 45 days. Amarnani warns that a good suit takes time. He says, “No tailor worth their salt will deliver a top-notch suit within 120 or 360 hours, as is often promised in different parts of the world.

Does a bespoke suit look, in appearance, different than a ready-made one?

Experts like Amarnani say, “Yes.” A person can tell the difference by the way the suit fits the customer from different factors, like the sleeves, chest, shoulders, lapels, and back. A poorly tailored suit can look like a ready-to-wear suit, but a ready-to-wear suit can never look like a bespoke suit,” says Amarnani.

What are some special features that a customer can acquire with a bespoke suit?.

For a personal touch to your suit, you can opt to get your initials, name, or favorite quote embroidered on the suit. This can be done in your preferred font and color. Other features include lining colors, which Collars & Cuffs has over 100 options of, as well as piping and hand-stitched color options.
Andrew M Ramroop OBE explains

Bespoke tailoring inhabits a somewhat rarified world and almost has a shroud of mystery surrounding it. Most Savile Row tailors won’t discuss who their clients are, but I must confess to spotting the paper suit patterns for one Samuel L Jackson hanging on a hook in the Sedwell atelier. Clients who buy bespoke suits say it’s like belonging to a very exclusive club and with prices starting at £5,500 (R125034.95 @ currency converter on 16/02/2016) a suit, these suits are certainly not for the faint hearted (and rather expensive) club.

Ramroop contends;

That his client base is far reaching and wide ranging (from movie stars to diplomats), with clients as far afield as Texas (this client orders 12 suits at a time) to Abu Dabhi (seven suits at a time) South Africa and Nigeria, where businessmen have an incredible appetite for bespoke tailoring. He tells me that Maurice Sedwell has clients in 60 countries with 70% of his business being from overseas and the likelihood with emerging markets like China, his business has great future growth opportunities. He sees no slow-down in the appetite for bespoke tailoring and suggests that Savile Row is not usually thought of as a street for browsing.

Maurice Sedwell gets at least one new walk-in client a week. Ramroop cites that while these are new clients, they have done their research and usually arrive knowing what they want. International clients are a mainstay of Savile Row bespoke tailoring and neighbouring powerhouse Huntsman has recently opened a pied-à-terre in New York City to expand its US client base. Other Savile Row tailors have diversified into ready to wear, made to measure and even licensing, such as Huntsman, Gieves & Hawkes, and Richard James, who’s “Mayfair” line is produced under license. Ramroop doesn’t rule this out but for now the Maurice Sedwell business is really only about "bespoke tailoring". Maurice Sedwell also caters to women and Ramroop recounts that 25 years ago when he set out women’s tailoring on mannequins in the windows of his Savile Row store, that it cause quite a stir with other tailoring houses on “The Row” In an age where fashion and menswear in particular is changing rapidly, added to this the impact of e-commerce and digital, I asked Ramroop for his take on where bespoke menswear sits in todays hyper-fast fashion industry and how digital affects it.

Would you agree that the premise of bespoke is the same today as it has been traditionally?

Today bespoke is confusing to the prospective customer. Bespoken is an original word derived from the tailoting trade when a length of cloth was “spoken” for a customer. Now you can get a bespoke suit from a ready to wear company that has been made in China.

How is Savile Row dealing with the digital age and how does that impact on future business?

The digital age is very favourable in that we can communicate via Skype (for example) to choose cloth, design, and oversee someone else taking the measurements. Communication is efficient and updating customers on the progress of their suits with photographs is an excellent way of keeping in touch and even exciting customers in a way that was not available ten years ago.

Is Savile Row embracing digital technology?  

Not at Maurice Sedwell! Our “Ultra-bespoke” tailoring is like original art, whereas ready to wear is more like a print.

Should it embrace digital technology?

The traditions of Savile Row’s hand crafted method of fine tailoring cannot embrace technology; individually designed, hand-cut and hand tailored cannot be surpassed by technology.

What is the future looking like for bespoke?

There will alway be a place for luxury “Ultra Bespoke” regardless of the shrinking market. Many Savile Row brands sell ready to wear and made-to-measure but bespoke gives them respect.


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