The first pair of trousers I made myself when I joined Henry Poole as an apprentice coat maker, were brace-tops.
One of the cutters there, Joshua, wore this brace-top, half band style.
The previous year I had spent interning at HP, I was enrolled in the London College of Fashions diploma in Handcraft tailoring.
I spent two and a half days at college, one day with HP and another with a Berwick St tailor learning trouser making.
By the time I had started my apprenticeship at HP in August of '06, I was a confident trouser maker. If I didn't have plans to be a master tailor, I could have forgone the apprenticeship role and joined the ranks as a trouser maker.
But that wasn't to be my destiny.
During my first few months of living in London, I was harassed and chased by a would be mugger. Thankfully I had good instincts and long legs and I managed a hasty escape.
This encounter left be edgy and bewildered, so I joined a local Kick-boxing club. On the first evening our coach asked us how many wanted to earn belts and to raise our hands. Everyone stood still, he then asked, how many of us wanted to learn self-defence and everyone raised their hands.
My first lesson in self-defence was the very illegal headbutt. From there he went on to explain how the fashion of today did not lean itself well to self-defence. The strongest muscle on our body is the leg, kicks and strikes would be more effective, than punching or butting.
Since I lived in a very rough neighbourhood, I decided to design my suits around self-defence and so the brace-top style was adopted.
Joshua's trouser maker was an Irishman who worked outside of HP, so there way no way for me to ask him, how this style was made. Looking back over the suits in my wardrobe, I can see the slow progression into the style of back I wear today.
The full extension on the front didn't come until later, I noticed it on the trouser topside of the MD at that time and asked why he did it so. His reasoning was he like the way it looked clean across the front of the waistband. Rather than stopping in a mitred or square edge, halfway across.
The suit I wore when I won the Golden Shears is the first suit I made when I joined HP.
A three piece suit of which I made each piece when I started my coat making apprenticeship. My master Paul encouraged me to start make clothes for myself so I could learn quicker and develop my skills sooner.
To be fair, Paul did a lot of the difficult parts, such as the facing, collar and sleeves. So by the Christmas party of that year I had my first bespoke suit.
The coat and waistcoat pattern were cut by David, he was considered the cutter with the most style. Puritans in the trade would have considered him 'Carnaby street' as apposed to 'Savile Row'. He liked a clean chest with lots of skirt.
When I moved to NYC, I started developing a style of my own. My first few suits were very much that traditional Savile Row look of a long coat with broad shoulders and very little waist suppression.
In the beginning I used the block patterns HP had in their cutting rooms and over time I gained the confidence to start drafting my own. From there my style and system developed into what I wear today.
Unlike everyone else I know in the trade, I alway draft a new pattern for every suit I make for myself. I get re-measured, usually by one my in-house students and proceed to draft a new, Coat, trouser and waistcoat pattern.
My coat style has remained long, though it is about an inch shorter than HP. My styled waist line is higher, so to is my armhole. I tend to cut the back clean across, like a full chest drape and a well suppressed silhouette.
An old girlfriend of mine once said 'you're all coat'. Referring to my athletic cut and not so athletic body.
Up to very recently, I have opted for two button but now I cut three. Anyone who has taken a course with me in the past two years will let you I see the shift towards three button.
Once you see double-breasted enter the market, SB style switches to three button, as it has the same opening.
The latest season of the Crown features Charles in his iconic two button, show three, double-breasted coat.
Even I have considered a DB after watching it.
Though there are two few photos of me in my twenties, I was partial to a wing collar with a Windsor knot tie. Or a spread collar with the same.
My rise has always been comically high, with David once jokingly ask "what chest are your trouser".
I prefer two hole buttons over four, as was the HP style.
My linings are no longer felled in, I have struck a fine balance between the techniques I learned at HP and my time with Joseph Martin in Ireland. The head tailor Eugene favored a production style suit, all the linings are machined in and the coat is bagged out.
I have little want to spending hours doing graceful felling stitches and my eye sight simple isn't the same. So I have taken the best from both worlds and I am very content with the result.
There are so many videos I would like to make and one of them is on how I make my clothes today.
I would need another pandemic to get it all done, God forbid.
Thank you Jimmy for your question. If anyone has something they'd like to ask me, put it in an email or dm me through the contact form and I'll post it here.