It never fails to surprise me how many people in fashion are unaware that the world of bespoke even exists. Last week I was in New York and wandering through the tailoring section upstairs at Bergdorf Goodman. The sales assistant clocked that my jacket was Neapolitan and asked where it was from: Kiton? Attolini? He hadnt heard of Solito, despite it being one of the better-known bespoke houses in Naples. He didnt quite understand when I explained that I had had it made. Why would you do that? was his only question.
Because it fits better and because I can have whatever I want. (Plus its cheaper: at 2000, its less than half of what Kiton charges for a RTW jacket in Bergdorfs.) The biggest mistake the clothing industry makes, though, in ignoring bespoke is the design inspiration. Thats what they care about, after all, and around the world hundreds of tailors and thousands of clients are collaborating on unique pieces bringing together the tailors traditional and technical knowledge with a range of clients personal and generational expectations.
Commenting on selecting my blog, Permanent Style, among a list of the best menswear sites, Dylan Jones of GQ reflected on the same problem: All these young designers think they can change the world every six months, that no body of knowledge remains. Yet it exists in everyone who makes these items, from the tailor to the manufacturer.
The only time most in the fashion industry come across bespoke is in womens couture and even then the focus is on detailed decoration rather than immaculate fit. Fortunately, that seems to changing, with the launch of bespoke at Alexander McQueens new shop on Savile Row just the latest indication of the trend. To those just discovering our world I say: Welcome. What took you so long?