What You Need To Know About Bespoke Tailoring
The first thing to know about going bespoke is it’s a process that takes time. “The process takes around 14 weeks, with three-to-four fittings. It is really special watching the suit come to life from a basic swatch to the finished piece though,” explains Daisy Knatchbull, founder of Savile-Row-based brand The Deck.
Meanwhile, Laura Pitharas, founder of her own eponymous British luxury womenswear brand, estimates it takes around two to three months from the initial meeting to the final garment when it comes to something like a two-piece suit. But, she insists, it’s worth the wait. “Made to measure offers a client a personal shopping experience where they can walk through the design, details and materials with the designer directly and end up with something completely tailored to their needs.”
Everything starts with an initial consultation, where it’s the designer’s job to understand who you are and what you’re looking for. “We find out everything we can about our clients – what she does, where she goes, what she loves in her wardrobe – so we can really ensure this is something they will wear for the rest of their life,” says Ruby Slevin, co-founder of Banshee of Savile Row. “At Banshee, we always start with the fabrics, which leads onto the design process.”
Once the shape and cut are agreed, it’s onto linings, buttons and style details, adds Ruby. “Finally, we take the measurements and that’s it for the first meeting. Our cutter then creates a unique pattern which then gets made into a baste (this is a mock-up of the suit to check the pattern is perfect) and we have our first official fitting.” Once the design and fabrication are finalised, the client’s measurements and design are sent to the pattern cutter who will make up their unique pattern into a first toile, which is then tried on in a face-to-face appointment. Any amendments to the fit and design are likely to be made in a final fitting.
At The Deck, the choice of fabrics is vast. “We offer over 7,000 fabrics from the best mills and merchants in the UK and Italy,” explains Daisy. “We always suggest investing in something that will take you through the seasons and work for different occasions – something mid-weight and timeless like a navy wool.”
Laura prefers to work with tried-and-tested fabrics, some of which have been used in her RTW collections. “These are the fabrics we trust and that represent our brand,” she says. Finally, Ruby adds: “Each of our fabrics has its own weight and weave and each one behaves differently. We really design the garment from the fabric first and foremost. We are making pieces using the best fabric in the world, with the best construction, so the lining needs to reflect that too. We mostly use silk satin linings with our suits and overcoats which makes them more feminine.”
Shape and cut are the most important part of the process to ensure the customer feels their best, says Laura Pitharas. The designer explains that women feeling elegant in her clothing is what drives her most. “Our silhouettes focus on clean lines that complement a woman's figure – it’s all about perfecting the balance between timeless and modern garments that can take you from day to night.”
Ruby agrees that women’s tailoring should be timeless. “We design our silhouettes to flatter the woman we are cutting for. We all have such different shapes – which is why it’s often impossible to find clothes on the high street that fit well. Having clothes that are cut to your shape is such a game changer, and we want to create pieces that match your personal style and body shape. Trends come and go, but well-tailored pieces are always stylish.”
White having items tailor-made is expensive, the pros outweigh the cons. “A made to measure garment ensures you only need a few good basics to go with it it to ensure you have a look that can work for every occasion,” Daisy says. While a two-piece suit from The Deck starts at £2,550 you can purchase jackets (£1,950), trousers (£850), skirts (£850), dresses (£1,000) and waistcoats (£450) separately should you wish.
Meanwhile, Laura Pitharas has a ready-to-wear range, but is also expanding to include bespoke pieces. “The cost is higher but so is the uniqueness of the final garment and the exposure to the design process,” she explains. Finally, Ruby believes we need to start viewing clothes as an investment and not fashion. “The cost per wear over time makes it a lot more of an affordable and sustainable choice.”
“A garment with us is a garment for life,” says Daisy. “We also offer free repairs to ensure your clothes stay in the best condition and you can pass them onto the next generation.” Making considered purchases also means you have the kind of wardrobe that works precisely for you. “Every time you put on a piece of our tailoring, it looks brand new,” Ruby adds. “Having clothes that fit properly is another major benefit – the number of women who come to us saying they struggle to find clothes that fit is shockingly high. Bespoke tailoring helps women find a solution, while also helping them feel chic in any situation.”
For more information, visit TheDeckLondon.com, LauraPitharas.com & BansheeOfSavileRow.com.
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