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The Suit that Couldn't Be Copied

copying clothing Gieves & Hawkes Savile Row David Taub

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#1 tailleuse

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 10:58 AM

New Yorker article on the author's experiment in having a jacket copied. The original was made by David Taub of Gieves & Hawkes.

 

"Among the interesting things about Savile Row is that the people who work there have complete confidence that what they do is genuinely different and better than what other people can do. They appear to invite scrutiny, arguing that when their work is examined, it will be found admirable. Not only did Taub say yes [to the copying], he also offered to give me a garment, so that it could be taken apart and so that the tailor who was trying to reproduce it would have the best possible information. His reasoning was that something made by Gieves & Hawkes could be taken apart but not put back together again in as lovely a form. Many of the decisions that go into making a garment what it is—how tightly a piece of cloth is pinched when it is sewn, or what angle the needle enters at—leave no trace except in the result."

 

...

 

"I asked him what faults he was finding in the jacket. He hesitated, but I pressed him. He then explained that the stitching around the buttonholes was very rough, and that this is such a basic mistake that it even has a name: the squashed bug."

 

 

Here is Taub's blog.


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#2 Claire Shaeffer

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 06:03 AM

The New Yorker article is interesting. I don't know Taub, but I know his predecessor Kathryn Sargent who has her own tailoring house now. 

I've compared the G&H, Richard Anderson, and Henry Poole jackets to those made in Thailand and Hong Kong. The bespoke jackets have hand-padded canvas and a built in shape that makes them very comfortable to wear. You cannot create this kind of shaping with fusible interfacings. 

 

When I was in London recently, I visited several workrooms (Huntsman, Anderson-Shepherd, Henry Poole, Richard Anderson, and Kathryn Sargent) and talked with the tailors and only sometimes the cutters. I am most interested in tailoring techniques because that is what I write about. Cutting is quite different.. 

 

I saw bespoke jackets made in several different ways: sometimes all by a single tailor, sometimes all except finishing (buttons, buttonholes, pickstitches) by the tailor, sometimes pockets were made by a pocket maker. The hand shaping, ironwork, and attention to detail were important to all. Equally important was the attitude of the tailors and the pride they have in their work. These are some of the elements that set English bespoke apart; and even though it is expensive, when cared for properly, it will last for many years.

 

I might add that the tailors I met and watched were very patient with my questions and several stopped to show me techniques which I did not know.


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#3 tailleuse

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 06:13 AM

In addition to enjoying the observations by a writer with no knowledge of tailoring, I liked the humor:

 

[The tailor] ... was both calming and professional. He struck me as having the soothing, nonjudgmental manner of a therapist. At one point, I told him that I hoped to lose weight.

 

“We all dream,” he answered.


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#4 Bullbutterfly

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 08:46 AM

The NYT article shows the obvious: that a less skilled or less committed bespoke tailor cannot replicate the art of top cutter Taub.
It would have been more relevant in my opinion to try and find out to what extent the most elegant and technical specs (ex: a subtle roped&pagoda shoulder, as in Taub suits) could be replicated or imitated, be it by:
- a cheaper MtoM tailor/maker,
- a luxury RtW manufacturer,
(partly) using machines (those asian subcontractors used by some Savile Row tailors for non bespoke, the Zegna factory that makes Zegna Couture and Tom Ford suits, Caruso,...).
Does anyone have an informed opinion on this?
Cifonelli now has a RtW offering that to me seems Technically close to what they can achieve bespoke (I believe their RtW is outsourced in Italy, probably 100% handmade though, suits priced from 2000 vs 4000+ for bespoke).
Thank you

#5 Terri

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 11:32 PM

In addition to enjoying the observations by a writer with no knowledge of tailoring, I liked the humor:
 

[The tailor] ... was both calming and professional. He struck me as having the soothing, nonjudgmental manner of a therapist. At one point, I told him that I hoped to lose weight.

 

“We all dream,” he answered.


A bit like Jeeves' reponses to Bertie. "Indeed sir?" "Precisely sir."
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#6 tailleuse

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 04:38 AM

A bit like Jeeves' reponses to Bertie. "Indeed sir?" "Precisely sir."

 

I love it when Jeeves gets Bertie out of yet another pickle and his reward is being permitted to pitch an item of Bertie's clothing that he finds objectionable. 


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#7 greger

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 05:47 AM

Mass-produced has made many interesting garments in the past. And some of it is well made. The problem with these garments is that few people actually fit in them and look splendid. Tiny variations in body shape changes the quality sometimes a lot, because fit is also part of quality.

As far as custom/bespoke tailors, not mtm, skill varies here, too. Some tailors are not capable. Some who could be don't have the desire. That leaves less at the top. I really don't like his roped&pagoda shoulders at all. When does certain art belong in a horror movie, and not outside of that? Some pagoda shoulders, that I've seen, are better than his. Some of his garments are really nice. There are less tailors today to compete with. Back to Mass-produced. It really can't do, nor compete with custom work.
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#8 Measure Man

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 07:25 AM

" I really don't like his roped&pagoda shoulders at all. When does certain art belong in a horror movie, and not outside of that? Some pagoda shoulders, that I've seen, are better than his. "

 

Davide is a highly skilled cutter with an extensive repertoire!

 

He is capable of sculpture in cloth, from a soft silhouette to full up shoulders of varying degrees (also seam displacement and curved seams). I feel sad that you feel his pagoda shoulders belong in a horror movie.

 

This skill is a great asset to have in your tool box, it helps disguise figures with an extreme shoulder slope or whose shoulders round off at the end. Only a tiny percentage of his customers will go for the full up style, but he is willing defy convention and experiment which makes him stand out.



#9 greger

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 05:20 PM

Some of his work looks creepy to me. Some of his other works looks fine.

#10 Jeffrey

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 12:41 PM

Hello Greger,

Will you please show us some photos of your fine tailoring?


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#11 Measure Man

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 06:04 PM

Many people are quick to say what is wrong with other peoples work, but I would be very surprised if they have the skill to make something themselves!

 

Let alone put it up for us to criticise. 


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#12 lepus

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 03:01 AM

Hello Greger,
Will you please show us some photos of your fine tailoring?

 
 

Many people are quick to say what is wrong with other peoples work, but I would be very surprised if they have the skill to make something themselves!
 
Let alone put it up for us to criticise.

 
 
I'm sorry, but what has greger's work got to do with the fact that he dislikes some of Davide Taub's shoulders and says so? Is a person incapable or not permitted to voice what they like and don't like if they don't show the audience their own product? greger doesn't deprecate the technical aspects or question the cutter and/or tailor's skill, he just expresses his opinion, based on his taste. And apart from some special cases of figure peculiarities, shoulder shapes and crown sizes are largely a question of taste (and fashion). The comments quoted above seem to suggest an implied jalousie de métier, for which there is no evidence at all.

I found the article disappointing; the title seemed to promise an interesting experiment. Instead of "The Suit That Couldn't Be Copied" it should have read something like "The reproduction that was never even attempted". One remark, where the writer probably refers to p®ick stitching, gave rise to a mischievous grin though:
"the endless amounts of topstitching, which, for those in the know, show that a garment is handmade"
Aww... What you don't know won't hurt you, I suppose...
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#13 greger

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 07:38 AM

Sorry guys, the first pictures shown to me of his work were a creepy coat, hence, belonging in a horror movie. And I would say the whole coat at that. First impressions sometimes stick. Having looked at his blog, posted above, he indeed makes some very nice garments.
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#14 Measure Man

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 08:04 AM

Yes you are correct this has nothing to do with professional jealousy or Greger's work. And yes he is entitled to his taste and views.

 

 I was just making the point that Davide can also make soft shoulders. He is a very skilled but yet modest cutter.


Edited by Measure Man, 04 September 2016 - 08:43 PM.

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#15 tailleuse

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 10:24 PM

The NYT article shows the obvious: that a less skilled or less committed bespoke tailor cannot replicate the art of top cutter Taub.
It would have been more relevant in my opinion to try and find out to what extent the most elegant and technical specs (ex: a subtle roped&pagoda shoulder, as in Taub suits) could be replicated or imitated, be it by:
- a cheaper MtoM tailor/maker,
- a luxury RtW manufacturer,
(partly) using machines (those asian subcontractors used by some Savile Row tailors for non bespoke, the Zegna factory that makes Zegna Couture and Tom Ford suits, Caruso,...).
Does anyone have an informed opinion on this?
Cifonelli now has a RtW offering that to me seems Technically close to what they can achieve bespoke (I believe their RtW is outsourced in Italy, probably 100% handmade though, suits priced from 2000 vs 4000+ for bespoke).
Thank you

 

The periodical was The New Yorker, not the New York Times. It's a general publication and the result wasn't obvious to the writer, an intelligent person who knows nothing about tailoring, like 98% of the world.   If you are willing to fund the described experiment, we all will eagerly await the results.


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#16 greger

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 04:10 PM

Measure Man, you do some nice work, as shown on your instagram. It is nice to have another opinion here.

#17 Bullbutterfly

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 07:27 PM

 
The periodical was The New Yorker, not the New York Times. It's a general publication and the result wasn't obvious to the writer, an intelligent person who knows nothing about tailoring, like 98% of the world.   If you are willing to fund the described experiment, we all will eagerly await the results.



#18 Bullbutterfly

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 07:36 PM

Have I ever questioned the writer's intelligence? Can't one formulate an opinion or share a question with the forum without being told to fund a survey oneself?
The point is that the title of the article is misleading, in my opinion, while it has an influence onto its numerous non expert readers, who may all be(come) bespoke customers, worldwide.





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