Compared to the world’s superbrands, the majority of London’s tailors aren’t exactly household names. Savile Row outfits have always had the product, but they tend to lack the branding. Compare this to the big American and Italian designers, who took the Savile Row template, sexed it up a bit and created some of the biggest fashion brands of the 20th century.
But this is changing – stepping out from behind the tailor’s shears are brands including Gieves & Hawkes, Turnbull & Asser, Dunhill and Ede & Ravenscroft, who have all recently appointed new creative directors to fine-tune their offerings for today’s man about town.
Jason Basmajian, chief creative officer at Gieves & Hawkes, says: “The world of menswear has turned its focus back to London and Savile Row, the iconic street where it all started. British tailors have been overshadowed by Italian houses, who took inspiration from London, but gave their collections a more international feel. Now there’s a great opportunity for British houses to do the same.”
He’s not alone in these international aspirations; Dean Gomilsek-Cole at Turnbull & Asser, John Ray at Dunhill and Michael McGrath at Ede & Ravenscroft are all playing the modern branding game. “Craftsmanship and traditional methods are at the core of Ede & Ravenscroft,” says McGrath. “But we need to continue to innovate and evolve, to expand our business and reinforce our branding.”
These tailors all offer far more than their headline suits – they also produce the best coats, jackets and knitwear in the world. And unlike some “designer” brands, the admittedly steep prices represent a sign of quality rather than a ridiculous mark-up. So what should you be picking up from their forward-looking autumn/winter collections? Dunhill has a magnificent midnight blue peacoat (pictured, £950). This classic wool/cashmere number looks great on every body type and the attention to detail is exemplary, with horn buttons and contrast piping.
Turnbull & Asser’s classic white Oxford shirt (£175) – made in its Gloucester factory – will make an outstanding addition to any wardrobe, with its contemporary slim-fit and buttoned-down collar. Meanwhile, Gieves & Hawkes’ navy wool waffle crewneck (£145) gives the illusion of looking chunkier than it really is, providing you with a great look without the extra bulk.
Finally, the devil is in the detail with Ede & Ravenscroft’s Regent navy Merino wool suit (£1,950); the twobuttoned, singled breasted jacket – with hand-finished notch lapels and side adjusters on the trousers – is both classic and fashion forward; a perfect example of the new international flavour in British tailoring.
Marcus Jaye is founder of TheChicGeek.co.uk.