The Beginner’s Guide to the Famous Savile Row Bespoke Tailors

Posted in: Clothing for Men- Aug 20, 2010 No Comments

Savile Row is a street in London that is home to the flagship stores of many of the highest rated, most respected, oldest, and most luxurious bespoke tailors, made-to-wear tailors and ready-to-wear tailors in all of England.

These world famous Savile Row tailors include firms such as Turnbull & Asser, Anderson & Sheppard, Ede and Ravenscroft, Gieves & Hawkes, and many more.  Clients of bespoke suits on Savile Row have included the world’s most famous Kings, Queens, Princes, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Forbes list members, executives, financiers, tycoons, entrepreneurs, attorneys, and bankers.

Major Bespoke Tailors on Savile Row

Here are just some of the major bespoke tailors on Savile Row.

  • Davies and Son
  • Gieves & Hawkes
  • H. Huntsman & Sons
  • Hardy Amies
  • Henry Poole & Co.
  • Kilgour
  • Norton & Sons
  • Nutters of Savile Row
  • Ozwald Boateng
  • Steed Bespoke Tailors
  • Stowers Bespoke
  • Cad and the Dandy
  • Comelie London
  • Dege & Skinner
  • Gary Anderson
  • Alexandre
  • Huality Bespoke Tailoring
  • Henry Herbert
  • Hollard & Sherry
  • Jasper Littman
  • Matthew Farnes
  • Maurice Sedwell
  • Richard Anderson
  • Steven Hitchcock
  • Welsh and Jefferies
  • Thomas Mahon
  • (There is also a branch for upscale retailer Abercrombie & Fitch that opened at 42 Savile Row)

The Savile Row Bespoke Association

The most respected Savile Row tailors are members of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, which is headquartered in the flagship Gieves & Hawkes building at No. 1 Savile Row.  The purpose of SRBA, or the association, was to create minimum standards required to label a suit “Savile Row bespoke” to maintain the highest quality standards and the centuries-old, world-class reputation.

There are several requirements for bespoke tailors and for the garments themselves.  To qualify as a member of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, a tailoring company must:

  • Individually cut a paper pattern produced by a Master Cutter
  • Have personal supervision of production by the Master Cutter
  • Have cutters and Tailors trained to the exacting standards of Savile Row
  • Typically create a two-piece suit almost completely by hand – with at least 50 hours of hand work
  • Provide an expert cloth consultant on the premises
  • Offer a choice of a least 2000 fabrics to the customer, which may include a range of exclusive cloths
  • Retain full customer records and order details
  • Provide first-class after care for garments including sponging, pressing, repairs and button matching
  • Actively participate in a Savile Row training scheme, either an in-house scheme or one with a partner institution.
  • Have apprenticeships that are at least 5 years long for a coat-maker and 3 for a trouser-maker

The bespoke garments themselves must have 21 technical points to be considered Savile Row Bespoke.  These are the minimum expectations for any garment; the tailor is free, and encouraged, to exceed them.

The bespoke suit jacket must have:

  • Sufficient inlays to allow 3 inches adjustment to the main body seams
  • All linings felled by hand
  • Hand prick-stitched vent and front edge
  • Top collar hand draw-stitched onto the facing
  • Sleeves set by hand
  • Hand stitched front buttonholes and left lapel buttonhole with sewn flower loop. Inlay under the collar.
  • Hand cut and shaped shoulder pads and canvasses
  • Slanting breast pocket with hand stitched border
  • Armhole lining eased and hand felled
  • Hand top-stitching on the front pockets
  • Front and cuff buttons sewn on by hand with cross-stitch
  • Linen used to reinforce pockets and gorge
  • Hand canvassing on jacket foreparts
  • Cuff with opening slit and hand stitched buttonholes

The bespoke trousers must have:

  • Internal waistband with inlays of 3 to 4 inches on the back and side seams for adjustment *
  • Buttons sewn by hand in cross-stitch
  • Hand made external buttonholes
  • Hand stitched fly
  • Half lined trouser fronts for comfort
  • Hand stitched seat seam
  • Pockets, band-lining and back curtains sewn in by hand

It is highly recommended you only purchase from reputable firms, such as those which are verified members of the Savile Row Bespoke Association! However, there are cases of legendary tailors being denied the “Savile Row” label because they moved less than 150 yards away to save on the astronomical rents!  This arbitrary denotation has caused some discussion among the bespoke crowd if the Savile Row Bespoke Association is going to ignore the spirit of what it was intended to do – identify the best and most talented tailors offering the highest quality products.

(For example, according to Steven Hitchcock, Savile Row tailor, “… if it could not get any worse Mr M Henderson M.D. of Gieves And Hawkes and I believe head of this club explains that Edward Sexton can not be part of the association because he now works to far away from the Row, this is one of the best ever cutters to work on the Row. I think of him as the rock and roll of tailoring, the best in his field. I have always looked up to tailors like him for inspiration. Just look at what he has done for Savile Row, the clients he has made for and is still making for, also look at his great sense of style.”

Nonetheless, the current list of Savile Row Bespoke Association tailors includes Anderson & Sheppard, Davies & Sons, Dege & Skinner, Gieves & Hawkes, Hardy Amies, Henry Poole & Co, H.Huntsman & Sons, Meyer and Mortimer, Norton & Sons, Ozwald Boateng, Richard Anderson and Richard James.

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