Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
(waiting in line)
New York City for a few more days and it’s kindly laid on English weather. Not that a little rain’s a bad thing as it’s a little harder to think of Savile Row tailoring in the blistering sunshine. If you have a quick look at some of the fittings on the rail you’ll see that most New Yorkers are pretty conservative and classic in their choice.
We spend a lot of time both here in the US and back home in England deliberating over cloth choices. However, the reality is that we keep choosing the classics because they simply work, usually on most occasions. Don’t worry, I’m not saying our clients aren’t adventurous, I’m sure you’ve spotted the odd tweed and check on the rail.
However, it’s worth considering a couple of points if you’re new to the luxury of bespoke. 1, You’ll never look good if you’re not comfortable. 2, The beauty of hand made clothes is you may be living with them for a long time.
To clarify, you’ll be comfortable in one sense because you’ve had a suit made that fits and works with you. Giving you that perfect feeling of not being aware that you’re wearing something. Also, your cloth choice works. Don’t choose because you thing it’s what you thought James Bond was wearing in the last movie. Make sure it defines the statement you want to give in the environment you’ll be wearing it. Obviously, The boardroom and and the beach party are vastly different. Now I know it doesn’t apply to everyone but bespoke is a substantial investment on something special that you’ll want to wear for years to come. So don’t be a victim of fashion and find you wouldn’t be seen dead in that suit in three years time.
Of course there are hundreds of fantastic bright cloths which we make every year but most of us have our eyes on the boardroom and not the beach
(Rodgers and Hammerstein suite)
Also, many of clients have wondered why I’ve moved from the Benjamin my NYC home for twelve years to my new NY abode, The Omni Berkshire Place. Well it’s a bit like tailors. I got very well looked after by the manager of the Benjamin but he moved. So guess what, so did I. I’m working from the top floor, Rodgers and Hammerstein suite, which is so called because this is where these distinguished writers met and discussed a new Broadway play they thought people may like. It was called ” Oklahoma”
Lets hope some of that creativity rubs off on us.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
It’s a good job I’ve at last found someone to replace me in a few years. I’d like to introduce you to Tom Ritson my apprentice cutter for the last year. By coincidence, Tom grew up in the same area as myself and also went to the same school. You cant get more English Cut than that even by his name which is local to the area. So let’s hope he enjoys the business as I have for the last thirty years. I only feel like I’ve been in this trade for five minutes but incredibly it will be thirty years next November since I entered this trade finishing at Anderson & Sheppard before starting on my own with Edwin of Steed in 1995. Time flies when your having fun.
Many of my customers know Tom already but he’s rapidly learning our craft and will hopefully be wielding the tape for his own clients in the not too distant future. You’ve may have been wondering where I’ve been as the posts have been somewhat scarce. It’s pretty easy to deduce why, a very busy expanding business and two young boys taking up the rest of my time. So there’s never enough hours in the day to cut, teach, run a business and write.
Fortunately, young Tom is not only learning very well, he thoroughly loves the craft. So much so he wants to teach the next generation all about it. He’s going to fill the gap of the often overworked Tom senior and help out with the blog.
We’ll be freshening it up this summer and doing something very exciting. Tom will be posting regularly about his journey through the trade. He’ll be showing you literally what’s being cut and made and give you a new aspect to the trade from an apprentice mastering his craft. I hope you’ll enjoy the regular updates and pictures and also following Tom’s career develop. I certainly know the readers of English Cut will wish him every success.
Talking of bright futures I’d like to wish my good friend Hugh McLeod and his new wife of two weeks many wonderful, happy years together. Early readers of English Cut will remember that it was Hugh who gave me the idea to start writing down my experiences in this wonderful trade. Hence, English Cut was born. The first ever tailoring blog.
I’m’ off on my usual spring trip to the USA next week and my full itinerary is here. Next year I hope Tom will be joining me so he can meet our friends in the US and carry the bags.
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
(John Kahrs well deserved Oscar,Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Did you think we’d all emigrated? I wouldn’t blame you as it’s pretty obvious we’ve not been posting much. Well, to those of you who’ve missed us I do apologise. We simply don’t seem to have found enough hours in the day recently to keep you up to date. Not that we’re complaining, especially in these tuff times.
We’re flat out at the moment getting ready for our next US trip this April, visiting San Francisco and New York. Here’s my full itinerary.
I’ve never had the chance to go to the Oscars but our suits certainly have. However, this time it was rather special as a lovely client of ours was awarded an Oscar for the best short film at this years 85th Oscars in Hollywood. We’re extremely proud of Mr John Kahrs and delighted that he said we made him feel that bit more comfortable and stylish on such and incredible evening for both him and his family.
What made this more challenging is that we were recommended to Mr Kahrs and he liked the feel and soft comfort of our suits. However, we were short on delivery time so a straight finish was required for the event without any fittings. Scary for everyone involved but although not perfect the sartorial gods shined on us on this occasion.
“I believe I wore the best-made, best-looking tuxedo on the red carpet Sunday night, and I have you and your team to thank for it! What pleasure to wear something that fits so well, and I got MANY comments through the evening and all through the next day about how great we both looked. Even more impressive is the fact that we skipped the usual fittings” John Kahrs.
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
(three doors, all need painting)
Well I doubt we’d be graced by a visit from Her Majesty but it’s wonderful to see our flag just the same. The sticklers of tradition among you don’t need to worry either. In my spare time, not that I have much I’m also a petty officer in the Sea Cadet Corps so you can be assured the colours are raised morning and taken down at dusk and not flown all night. I haven’t posted a full picture of our new workrooms and offices so I thought I’d let you see how they’re coming along. We’ve been engaged sorting out major alterations inside to make it the perfect environment to make beautiful clothes. We still need a new paint job and sign outside but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a fabulous old building. And if you’re wondering, we do own all three floors and the length of the building you see in the photo. This as you can imagine gives us something that’s very rare in the world of Savile Row tailoring, room and lots of it.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a cosy basement but it makes it so much easier for when you want to train new apprentices for the future as we certainly plan to do. We hope to be looking for two youngsters to start with Paul in the new year. I want this company to preserve our craft and be making beautiful clothes long after I’m gone. I must also apologise as I haven’t been posting much but I like to do this myself and not have ghost writers. It’s been a mad year but don’t forget us as I’ll be writing more regularly .
We’re busy trying to get everything completed for my USA trip next month. Just before we send this lovely coat to the finisher I had to let you see it. This was made by Paul and is a beautiful Lovat tweed sourced by the London Lounge. It’s bold in style but is surprisingly elegant and I’m sure hel’l be able to wear it on lots of occasions. Also, because of our type of make it feels completely weightless to wear but still looks so rich and soft. Of course it needs finished and pressed to really look superb. However, we’ve a saying in the trade “a good one doesn’t need it and a bad ones not worth it” Lets hope we’re making these wonderful garments for years to come.
(my time on the board was never like this)
Another benefit of having an 11 roomed building is that we’ve got room for nice long cutting boards. This as you can see is especially handy when I have to look after my eldest son for a couple of hours. Tom and Jerry and a tin of biscuits and he’s the the happiest Patrick in the world.
(that’s me on the left with the stick. apprentices beware)
Monday, September 17th, 2012
( shorter and easier to wear)
In bespoke tailoring the main thing that gives so much pleasure for me is that I’m dealing with individuals. People who have different ideas and personalities which I have to remember and adapt my fitting and styling to so that we both achieve what we want. Yes, we’ve a house style but subtle differences are what it’s all about.
As I’ve always said you’re only as good as your last coat. This is not simply a matter of technical ability or quality of workmanship. It’s very much to do with understanding what your client truly wants from his commission. In simple terms you can cut what you think is perfect but find your client’s not as convinced. In exactly the same way I may not be happy with the result but my client is over the moon as we’ve hit the spot exactly. This is of course is because it’s for an individual who thankfully has different ideas from everyone else which lets me enjoy a different challenge every time I put my shears in the cloth. It’s the old saying, “one mans meat is another mans poison”
The picture above is a classic example of this. This belongs to a lovely client who’s been kind enough to order a very substantial wardrobe from us. He’s all the classics then some very unusual suits that break the mould. He owns a beautiful classic single breasted overcoat but he wanted something shorter, more fitted and easier to wear on all occasions.
When I started in the trade this type of garment was called a “car coat”. You don’t hear the term any more but it was for exactly as its name suggest. Originally it was from the great days when most cars where open topped. The were rather chilly and and a nice coat was always needed, certainly in the UK. A classic overcoat would be too bulky and awkward to wear so the driver needed something sporty and comfortable but still had you looking elegantly dressed upon arrival.
So out of necessity the car coat was born. Shorter with a little flair for sitting comfortably with easy to access pockets to get your keys etc. Usually made as our example here of a sportier less formal material such as this lovely tweed from W. Bill which we’ve cut with back darts and a half belt for a little extra style. I’m not sure if my client will be wearing this in an open top vintage Bentley but when he does arrive at his destination he’ll definitely look the best dressed.
For my US clients you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve booked my tickets for the US this Autumn. The details are here.
Orders for car coats are being accepted
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Well I’m sure you’ve all heard we’re having quite a party over here. Team GB has got everyone gripped in Olympic fever. For such a small island nation we’re punching well above weight our as usual.
I’m sorry that I’m gloating a bit but come on, we’re not called Great Britain for nothing
( classic 3 roll to 2 English Cut)
It’s been difficult to take our senses off the Olympics but we’re still hard at it here both tailoring and kitting out our new home. This is a piture of one of our new made to measure range just before we boxed it up to ship to Hong Kong. You’ve all no doubt heard the availability of tailoring out there so we’re delighted that people are interested in getting their hands onto another winning British product.
As you can see it’s got all the hallmarks of our house style and this one has been made for the warmer climes so it’s also buggy lined. What makes me feel good about one of these suits is that I know they’ll feel as good to wear as they look.
(160 years and still going)
Essentially, you could say this blog is about craftsmanship. So people have noted our Granfather clock in the picture. Should you visit you’ll see it standing in our front office and incidentally it was made by local craftsmen, Cairns Bros in our pretty marked town in the 1850′s. It’s still keeping perfect time today, well when we remember to wind it.
Thursday, June 21st, 2012
(Francis William Mahon, 24hrs old)
Just a quick note to let you know I’m having a couple of days off at home to get to know our new son. My wife, Claire gave birth to a beautiful boy, Francis William on Tuesday the 19th.
If you cant get the apprentices you have to grow the apprentices. Talk soon