Category Archives: Tailoring

Savile Row: 1

Savile Row tailor Richard Anderson: bespoke must mean bespoke Richard Anderson, one of Savile Row’s best regarded tailors, explains the difference between a real bespoke suit and a made to measure one.

“The ASA has got the ruling wrong. They are saying the term ‘bespoke’ can be applied to what we would term a made to measure garment cut from a block pattern – a ready-made suit.

“It is a shame really, because it is nothing to do with how we would make a bespoke suit.

“The hand-work on a made to measure suit is negligible whereas the hand-work in our coats is paramount.

“They would do very small alterations, not in my mind to be confused with what we would call bespoke, which is creating a suit from scratch.

“A client being fitted for a bespoke suit would have three or four fittings.

“We would take 20 to 25 direct measurements and we would look at their figuration – how they stand.

” We would then cut a pattern based on those measurements.

“That is entirely different from altering a suit made from a block pattern.

“We make a pattern that is exclusive to the customer, that would fit very well indeed, fit their personality, is beautifully made and would last for years.

“Because of the handwork and care that goes into the garment they keep their shape and last much longer.

“This ruling is not great news but I don’t think it’s a big worry.

“I think there is a danger that the man in the street might ask why a ‘bespoke’ suit costs £495 on one side of Savile Row and £4,000 on the other side.

“But I don’t think people are stupid. The customers who already shop here are clothes enthusiasts and they know the difference.”

By Richard Anderson

Savile Row tailors!

Savile Row tailors lose fight to preserve the term ‘bespoke’ A group of Savile Row tailors have lost their fight to stop the term “bespoke” from being used by menswear retailers to sell suits which have not been made entirely by hand.

The Advertising Standards Authority has dismissed a complaint that labelling clothes which have been cut from a template as bespoke is misleading.

The word was coined by tailors on Savile Row, London, in the 17th century and referred to a suit which was hand-crafted from a single bolt of cloth without the use of a pre-existing pattern.

Clients would have numerous fittings for the outfit, which would be hand-stitched and finished to the highest standard. These creations have long been synonymous with the best of British craftsmanship and even the simplest of bespoke suits can fetch £5,000.

However, Savile Row institutions such as Hardy Amies and Gieves & Hawkes are concerned that the term “bespoke” is being used by some retailers for suits which are just made-to-measure.

These suits are considered a step-down from bespoke, and are created with a basic template which is then roughly adjusted to fit individual measurements.

Sartoriani, a menswear retailer, was referred to the ASA for offering bespoke suits that they admitted were not entirely handmade.

For the bargain price of £495 consumers were promised the choice of the finest Italian fabrics. But after an initial fitting session in London, the fabric was sent to Germany to be cut and sewn mostly by machine.

Although this is not strictly bespoke in the old-fashioned sense, the ASA has ruled that the historic term has moved on.

While customers would still expect a bespoke suit to be tailored to their measurements, the majority would not expect that garment to be entirely handcrafted, the regulator said.

Sartoriani called the decision a victory for “affordable luxury”.

By Lucy Cockcroft

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