With news this week that stores across the country have reopened - with the eschewing high street queues and high spend in the luxury sector - there’s one area that’s subject to more strategic planning than most.
The world of bespoke tailoring has always been about certain tactility and personalised service; the gentlemanly ceremony of shaking your tailor’s hand, sifting through fabrics, perhaps with a whiskey in hand, and having a suit crafted around your specific frame. How will that up-close approach fare in the age of social distancing?
The sad, but inevitable, news for certain historic establishments is that bespoke will be shuttered for now. Turnbull & Asser, founded in 1885, has decided for now to hold off on bespoke appointments for its peerless shirting, for the first time in its 135 year history.
三级成人视频“These challenging times have encouraged us to look at new services”, says Jonathan Baker, Managing Director at heritage shirting label Turnbull & Asser. “We have introduced a suite of concierge services, as well as offering remote video consultations directly with our in-store team for customers who don’t feel comfortable coming into the store”. Limited numbers in store, deep cleaning and queuing systems that have become the norm in luxury boutiques will be implemented likewise at Turnbull & Asser.
The same applies to Thom Sweeney, the tailoring brand founded by Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney with a handsome flagship in Mayfair. Instead, their collections will focus on their ready-to-wear offering. “We will operate by appointment only, one to one with a reduced team and following precautions”, says Thom Whiddett. “It’s a really positive feeling to be taking our first steps towards ‘normal’.”
三级成人视频Not all tailors are pausing their bespoke offering, however. Savile Row-trained Antonia Ede, of Mayfair’s Montagu Ede, is working by eye to have customers select fabrics without touching, and gauging customer’s measurements using her expert knowledge from afar. Customers will wear masks, as will staff, disinfectant will be supplied and all doors will be open in the studio. As she points out, a great deal of trade is reliant on repeat orders with existing measurements already logged, so fittings can be done without contact.
三级成人视频Ede has also looked at the practices that will have to change not just in relation to customers but the behind-the-scenes arrangements; tailoring workrooms are bustling, often compact, environments. “We happen to be fortunate in that our cutting boards are an adequate length for all three of us to stay more than two metres away. As a smaller outfit we have that luxury unlike larger firms with full workshops”, she says.
At Norton & Son, managing director Martin Nicholls has harnessed technology to arrange virtual fittings. “After which we send swatch samples of clothes discussed. We will work with photos a lot as they’re a helpful analytical tool in knowing what the customer wants and reduces close contact, and we have changed the layout of the store to promote social distancing”.
A few doors along the ‘Row, Huntsman have also looked to virtual fittings, while in store they are relying on the keen eye of the cutters to know how to cut to a certain shape with minimal contact. The brand has also opened up its club room to provide more space.
“Favourbrook is operating business as usual whilst abiding by all government guidelines”, says the formalwear specialist’s founder Oliver Spencer. “Customers will be politely asked to wear a face mask which we can provide, and our fitting team’s PPE will involve masks, gloves and a plastic visor to ensure safety”. It might not be the experience the more old school amongst us have come to expect from the rarefied world of bespoke, but the ability to pivot to new ways of working in this seismic period will ensure the survival of some of tailoring's most established houses.
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