21 Mar in manhattan april 7-10 2005
I shall arrive Thursday lunchtime, the 7th of April, leaving Sunday, the 10th of April. Just over two weeks from today.
It promises to be my busiest trip ever, mainly due, of course, to the many kind readers of English Cut who have decided to entrust me with their custom. Thank you.
If you want me to measure you while I’m there, yes, of course, I’ll be happy to meet you at my usual base, The Hotel Benjamin, on 50th and Lexington. Then I return to England to cut your suit, returning to New York 2-3 months later for your first fitting, or you may come to Savile Row in the interim should you want it sooner.
My diary is now filling up very fast, ergo if you wish to meet with me, it is imperative that you contact me as soon as you can, so I can fit you in with as little fuss as possible to both parties.
I am only there four days; sadly prior commitments make it very difficult for me to extend my visit.
Here’s how Savile Row in New York works:
When a Savile Row tailor visits NYC, it’s part of a continuous cycle.
I bring a good selection of cloth samples with me, which includes the basics of everything you’d want- classic worsteds, tweeds, lightweights etc. New customers are consulted on their requirements and have their first measuring, so I can draft a personal pattern when I return to England. Then the fitting will be arranged for my visit a few months later.
And naturally, I also bring with me the fittings to try on customers who ordered on my previous trip a few months earlier. After I fit my clients in New York I then return to the UK. There I recut and alter their suit and/or amend their pattern if necessary.
Once completed I courier the suit to the US. But this is not the end of the story. I ask my customers who have received their new suits to meet me my next visit in New York, so I can check the fit after they have been worn. Should they need a little tweaking, I arrange to have that done in New York.
And then, yes, if the client in happy with his latest suit there’s a good chance he’ll want to order a new one- the cycle begins again.
So it’s cycle of new clients, doing fittings and looking after old friends. Should a new customer meet me only in New York, it usually takes four to five months for final delivery. Yes, it’s a lot longer than the usual 6-8 weeks delivery for UK customers. But when you consider the logistics and all, people generally don’t mind the extra wait. If you can make it over to London for your fitting, then delivery of course will be much sooner.
I find my customers don’t mind the delivery time. Let’s face it, the suits could easily last you twenty years, so why worry?
As with all Savile Row tailors, my customers vary immensely. I have the regular buyers who order a couple of times a year. And there’s my big hitters who order a dozen or so suits then disappear for a few years.
I love meeting and making for all my customers. But there’s always that little extra joy when a customers try on on his first bespoke suit. It could be the successful young executive who’s just realized that bespoke REALLY IS as good as they say (Frankly, if it wasn’t, I couldn’t realistically stay in business). Or sometimes it’s the fellow who’s decided that before he dies he’s going to have at least one real suit in his wardrobe. It’s a great moment to witness.
I’d love to keep New York all to myself, but luckily for the customers, there are other wonderful Savile Row tailors who visit, so there’s plenty of choice. Here are a few:
- Anderson & Sheppard.
- My former partner, Edwin of Steed.
- Welsh & Jeffries
- Dege & Skinner
- Henry Poole’s.
Yes, the deal in New York is business. Sadly, I have to pay the landlord and the taxman, same as anyone else. But I do have serious fun when I’m there. Of course I do. It’s New York. They say “Do a job you love, and you’ll never do a day’s work in your life”. To be able to ply my trade in the most exciting city in the world… Lucky, lucky, Tailor.