What is Bespoke Tailoring?
Have you ever wondered what is bespoke tailoring? Or how a suit and tailoring can be bespoke?
Just imagine yourself being in the mid-19th century London at Savile Row. A gentleman by the name of Henry Poole operates a tailor store. But not in a simple concept as you could imagine like the way we could buy a suit today, ‘off the rack’ was a thing of a distant future. So, how would you explain to Mr. Poole the kind of suit cut and design you would like to have from him? Correct, you would have spoken to him and explained as much as possible and hopefully he understood your requests and in return he would have spoken to you regarding the details. Next, you would have waited a couple of weeks for your first fitting and again you would have spoken about the details on what will have to be adjusted. And finally, you would get yourself a bespoke suit.
It is not very clear whether the term really originated from here and in this manner, but the story is nice indeed. In today’s world, all kind of terms are mixed up. Close to bespoke tailoring, you have custom tailoring, made to measure, the French term ‘Haute Couture’, or just simply tailoring. Sounds great and mystical, but it also means tailor made for you only. By the way, in the German language you have the term “Masschneider” which loosely translated means tailored by measurement. Obviously, the Germans do not talk much, they measure and then go straight to tailoring.
So, a bespoke suit is an individually tailor made suit for one person. What else defines the difference between a ‘normal’ tailor made suit and a bespoke suit? It is the workmanship. A real bespoke suit should have a full canvas (the layer between your wool fabric and your lining) and is not fused. It also typically should have hand made button holes and hand stitching, anything less than perfect is not to be accepted. It might also have hand made buttons, but at least real horn buttons should be used. Plastic buttons are for sure a clear ‘No! No!’ for a bespoke suit. Even when everything else is done properly, it would just ruin it. Can a bespoke suit also be a sports jacket? Of course, why not, you still spoke about it before it was made, right?
So, in conclusion I can define bespoke tailoring as how we say it at Kinslager:
“Bespoke tailoring is not science. It is a human craft combined with artistic elements and hence as vulnerable to flaws as any other crafts. But the reason we still exercise this craft is to give an individual masterpiece to our customers which they can’t find anywhere else.”
Would you agree with my definition of bespoke tailoring?
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