Members of the Savile Row Bespoke Association came together on Monday 15th June to show how the bespoke process actually works, watching what goes in to creating each piece of clothing was fascinating; knowing that the intricacy and neatness of every step plays a big part was gratifying. The collection at the pace gallery section at the Royal Academy of Arts displayed the talented craftsmanship behind each garment, one was able to learn more about the enigma of bespoke designs. #savilerowbespoke was the hashtag of the day as visitors tweeted away and took photo shots of the tailoring whilst downing mini glasses of Chivas on ice. Savile Row used London Collection Men's weekend to launch their Ambassador's project. The project goes a little further than the usual display of garment, audience members are able to see each suit from inside out, the full tailoring technique and all the finishings, go to #theambassadorsproject on twitter to find out more.
Whilst pottering around I bumped in to a friend who also blogs, he sported a really nice light blue suit with a tropical looking shirt underneath and beige loafers. Being in the pace gallery reminded me of my childhood home, seeing the patterns, the white chalk my father used to use and the annoying hefty irons which eventually left him with a ganglia cluster of veins on top of his hand. I never understood what those utensils were for but I just knew apart from his Trade Union and Political activities (model Saffron Burrows whom I used to look up to because she was a lot older and taller and more atheletic than me, is now living in LA she lived on the next road from me, we were both indoctrinated with socialism by our fathers, normal for a kid growing up in left-leaning Stokenewington, we would go bike riding around Walford Road and Yorkshire Grove estate whilst in deep discussion about the merits of the book 'Das Kapital' by Karl Marx ) he made beautifully tailored women's coats for all the big fashion houses, most of the textile factories in North East London were bought up by Turkish Cypriot businessmen, the East End Jews had left the rag trade and moved out to places such as Redbridge and Chingford in Essex. Irish women were given a hard time by the English working class and so often ended up marrying East End Jews.
The Savile Row collection gave the viewers an exclusive opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes and appreciate real tailors craft and art, the cutting, the patterns and the special way of pressing. The woolmark company, a proud sponsor, had put out a table of very good quality Merino wool which is a core ingredient fibre of the yarns and fabrics used. Merino wool naturally breathes, it absorbs moisture and resists static electricity. Apparently it takes 80 hours of workmanship to create a garment.
Huntsman which was established in 1849 uses tailoring techniques which have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Did you know that there is special language and terms associated with tailoring ? For example a 'Kipper' is a tailoress. So called because the women worked in pairs to avoid unwelcome sexual advances from men and a 'Tab' is a difficult and fussy customer. London is home to the best tailored suits in the world. Many of my overseas visitors have suits made here if they are staying more than a week. Tailoring is part of the rich historical tapestry of London. Fashion contributes nearly £26 billion GBP to the British economy, it's a remarkable and noteworthy amount. I've always said creativity will get us out of recession.