What are the necessary skills for becoming a qualified high-level bespoke tailor? What does the tailor need to learn?
For one to become a qualified high-level bespoke tailor they must be passionate, dedicated and committed – not only to years of training but to strive for excellence in all areas of bespoke tailoring. They must apprentice for at least three years and commit to another two years field training before considering themselves a master of the art. It is often found that tailors have a family history of artisans dating back generations, some skills tailors are just born with, which no amount of training can instil. It starts in the hands, a natural feel for the cloth and needlework. Muscle memory is something that can be taught but the true masters of the trade have tailoring engrained into the very fibre of their being.
What are the differences between a handcrafted suit, a bespoke suit and an industrial production suit?
The Handcraft Tailor’s team of expert bespoke tailors are dedicated to preserving the art of handcraft bespoke tailoring for the next generation. But at times, even we must make a compromise for the benefit of our clients. The world spins at a faster pace now than when Savile Row was at its epicentre. Understanding the needs of our clients is foremost of our goals when meeting their expectations. We want to offer a service that can meet our client's needs in a timely fashion and therefore have introduced bespoke as a means to meet those requirements.
Handcraft and bespoke are bench made garments, constructed by individually highly trained skilled artisans specialising in the traditional art of Savile Row tailoring. In many parts of the world, the skills of the tailor were lost with the introduction of production made suits. Assembly lines were introduced and skilled tailors were replaced by machine operators. The Handcraft Tailor’s have wound back the hands of time, abolishing the assembly line system and returning to the roots of bench made bespoke and the essences of tailoring; one artisan making one garment, a specialist in his or her field.
Is there a common standard of your bespoke suits? How to tell or judge a high-quality bespoke suit?
The beauty of bespoke is in its subtly. The reassurance enjoyed by the wearer in the knowledge that The Handcraft Tailor’s suit encapsulates the essence of comfort, modesty and prestige. Like all the luxuries in life, whether it be fine champagne or a thoroughbred racehorse, it's the presentation and life long performance that is the true testament to its quality.
Like all the Savile row tailors The Handcraft Tailor’s suits though often copied are never equalled, as it is their heritage and skilled artisans that makes The Handcraft Tailor’s suit stand out from the best of the rest. Their attention to detail in the handcrafted construction is only equalled by the precision of fit, sculpted to the body of the wear it forms a second skin that feels as organic as the materials used through the creation.
Could you please tell us the process of ordering and making a bespoke suit?
The Handcraft Tailor pays obsessive attention to fit, eyeing the client like a sculptor looking for the statue inside a block of marble, measuring angles and inclines you as the client never knew you had. Using a patented measuring system developed by members of The Handcraft Tailor’s team, they can allow for every nuance of the clients physical makeup. Early identification allows the tailor to cut for these irregularities which help streamline the fitting process, leading to a better fitting garment and an overall more enjoyable experience for the client.
The Handcraft Tailor’s suit can be measured, cut, fit and finished in as little as six weeks. Considering themselves tailors without borders, The Handcraft Tailor is represented worldwide, through a team of skilled artisans in Europe, the UK, Russia, America and Asia.
What is the price of ordering a handcraft suit?
As the old saying goes, "If you have to ask, it's not for you".
A sentiment with a touch of arrogance, but that's handcraft. It's for the elite of society, those who can afford the best of the best, have the knowledge and taste level of connoisseurs, enjoying all of the finest things in life and aspire for more. Gone are the days of social exclusion based on position within society - handcraft is only available to those who can afford to pay for it. Just like luxury cars, fine wines and expensive jewellery, a handcraft suit is an investment in time.
Unlike store-bought clothing, one does not simply order and await delivery. There's a time-honoured process and an experience working with a master craftsman developing a wardrobe tailored especially for you.
What is the most difficult process of making a handcraft/bespoke suit?
Would you please explain why?
If tailoring were easy, handcraft would not be on the decline and nor would it take master craftsman of over seven years dedicated training to master the art. That being said, one of the signs for a finely made handcraft suit is not only the precision of the fit but also the attention to detail of the finish. The handmade buttonhole has vanished from the ready-to-wear sector. Its roots lay with Savile Row and the dedicated team of finishers each company employs to maintain this sign of true excellence in each handcrafted bespoke suit.
As Oscar Wilde once said, "A well made buttonhole is the closest link between art and nature". Each buttonhole is unique and each set is unique to the creator. Though no two look the same, there is a similarity which links them together and sets each suit apart. With over seventy stitches in each hole, sewn with the finest quality of silk thread, it can take as long as thirty minutes to sew one hand made buttonhole.
What fabrics and trimmings does The Handcraft Tailor use?
It takes more than just skilled artisans to make world-class bespoke suits. Indeed, no matter how competent the baker, it's the quality ingredients that help give the cake its flavour.
A handcrafted bespoke suit is no different. The Handcraft Tailors are constantly working with the finest mills in both the UK and Europe sourcing quality materials from leading experts in the industry.
As Savile Row is known for bespoke suits, Huddersfield is world-famous for being home to cottage spinners and weavers for over a thousand years. The oldest settlement in Huddersfield was Almondbury which can be traced back to AD75 when Roman troops were slowly making their way through the country solidifying their new imperial rule. Throughout the ages from ancient times to the present day, clothing and textiles have been of pivotal importance in the evolutionary history of Huddersfield and the mills there. Methods of textile production have continually evolved and today they still hold the enviable title of the world's best suiting cloth.
The Handcraft Tailors team work closely with the mills of Huddersfield so they may constantly be informed of the new style and techniques and make them available to their clients. From diamond-encrusted cloth to gold woven yarns, the highest level of luxury is available upon request.
What are the unique selling points of the making of The Handcraft Tailor’s suit, meaning the difference between HCT and other competitors?
Just as the world is divided into the Burgundy and Bordeaux drinkers, British tailoring is divided into the contesting camps of supreme structuralists and evangelical proponents of the drape.
Rather than choosing sides in this age-old philosophical debate, The Handcraft Tailors allow the clients to be the architects of design in the creation of their suits believing choice to be the fundamental principles behind the bespoke process. Too few bespoke houses have such a vast knowledge of tailoring contained within its walls; competent masters of the craft, influenced not only by British tailoring but European, Russian and American.
It's the full understanding of these influences that allows The Handcraft Tailors team to truly interpret the wishes of their clients and translate that into their clothing.
What famous clients have the team of HCT provided with their tailoring services?
Are there any interesting stories?
During the time I was still a lecturer at Parsons, The New School, I had the honour of accepting an invitation from former First Lady, Michelle Obama to the White House for her annual Fashion Education Workshop in which I received recognition for my contribution to education in America. She was a remarkable woman. Intelligent, strong and elegant. She impressed with her warmth and ease to interact.
In 2016, I was commissioned to make a suit for Jonas Brother, Nick Jonas for the Met Gala Awards. His choice was a difficult make - silk, which would usually be reserved for dinner jacket facings was selected for the entire coat paired with black mohair trousers with silk braiding. Silk such as this isn’t designed for coat making but I was able to do it and thus created a new design never before seen on a New York Met Gala catwalk.
An increasing number of people across the world are turning to bespoke tailoring. What do think about "bespoke" tailoring or what are the main factors & elements to actually achieve the title of bespoke?
For generations, there has been a misconception that men should never be noticed for their sense of dress. Clearly, this is a school of thought that was perpetuated by men in mediocre clothing. For all bespoke connoisseurs, handcraft tailoring meticulously preserves and conveys unique flair, specific techniques and distinctive style. Bespoke tailoring enjoys shape, no matter what one may believe a client's physique permits. Overall the cut is subtle; some padding and roping in the shoulders combined with moderate waist suppression.
In an age when so many young designers are driven by point of view, The Handcraft Tailors remain as both physiologist and psychologist of the needle arts. The starting point is the client's body - not the shifting trends of men's fashion. The tailor gets into the mind of his client, understanding his needs and delivering a product that conveys the inner style of the wearer in a subtle form. The Handcraft Tailor is a permanent fashion. Contemporary suits fit for purpose and make men feel in control of any given situation. Bespoke shouldn't impose on house style, but rather work intensively with each bespoke customer to cut the suit requested without sacrificing dignity for over-styling.