What is bespoke?
Handling one of the most ancient crafts in the world with a modern approach and true passion can be the highest trump card played in the game of becoming a new international reference. Master fitters were quite plentiful before, but as time goes by, these master craftsmen become harder and harder to find. This is probably because of slow innovation which led to a generational gap, stifled growth and resulted in a lack of new motivated tailors. It is difficult to find rare young passionate designers who firmly believe in bespoke tailoring and want to pursue its philosophy by preserving the authenticity and originality of this art while challenging the innovation gap, ultimately bringing bespoke tailoring to the next level.
Tom, Dick and Harry is bridging this gap by introducing affordable custom tailoring that infuses old and new by holding onto the art of craftsmanship, and giving the buyer the choice and level of service they are comfortable with.
There are plenty of terms to describe the making of suits and we shall explain them further on. The word Bespoke originates from custom tailoring ; to reserve beforehand, or made to individual order, however it is now more commonly used to describe a number individualised services , Cars, holidays, marketing, PR, finance and the list goes on. The word has also been exhaustlessly used by MTM (Made to Measure) Suit Company’s incorrectly which confuses everyone especially those unfamiliar with the service. Let us break down some of the terms and what each service entails
Full Bespoke; A new pattern is created according to the individual’s 40 or so measurements; Posture and body shape taken into consideration. Fabric is cut and craftily tailored to the wearer’s tastes. A fully bespoke suit is Hand cut and Hand sewn traditionally as it has been done for centuries with full floating canvas, Buffalo horn buttons, and Bemberg Lining. There are 2 to 5 fittings (Baste, forward, fin bar fin) depending on person before the final fitting of your suit. (8-10 week turnaround) The simplest way of determining if your suit is fully bespoke is at the different stages of fittings, you can observe first hand as you physically see inside the constructions of the suit as it takes shape towards completion. Approx. 40-50 hours of craftsmanship labour involved.
Made to Measure; Tailors use existing block patters – They may have up to 8 patterns in store where you can try these suit sizes on, often referred to as drop sizes. Once correct size is determined, up to 12 measurements are taken, and you’re block size is adapted for shoulder width, sleeve lengths, pants length, waist size and so on. Many fly in fly out tailors and online shopping tailors offer MTM services. There are no Baste fittings with MTM services and the suits are usually fused together, so the next time you meet with your tailor the suit is completed after initial consultation. (1 day to 2 week turnaround)
Semi- Bespoke is a hybrid of the full bespoke suit in the sense that all the full bespoke measurements, new pattern and craftsmanship’s are included except for a few its processes. 1) It is partly machine stitched, 2) it is ½ canvassed by default and 3) there are no Baste fittings similarly to MTM. (4-5 week turnaround)
Off the Rack or Peg Suits; this usually refers to suits you purchase directly from stores and take with you, they may need some alterations but are either done in store, or sent to local tailor. Depending on the choice of your store they are constructed from Polyester, or Blends of wool. The suits are fused (glued) together without a floating canvas and lose shape after a few wears.
A bespoke suit can essentially be crafted anywhere in the world, as long as it follows the tradition of being made by hand from the finest quality of fabrics.
TDH would rate the suits in the following order.
- Full Bespoke – no substitute to classic traditional tailoring
- Semi Bespoke – Looking for all the Classical features of Full Bespoke however accelerating the process by using sewing machines and eliminating multiple fittings.
- MTM – Entry level into custom tailoring, this is your first step into customisations, better than an off the rack suit, but distant from bespoke service.
- OTR – General impulse purchase stores.