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Oral History of Savile Row

Savile Row bespoke tailoring tailoring history interviews with tailors

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#1 tailleuse

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 08:57 AM

Tailored Stories: An Oral History of Savile Row, is an ongoing project.  Interviews with tailors are being posted on the site.  I learned about it from the About the Notebook blog.


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#2 tailleuse

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 09:01 AM

I've been listening to the first interview, with Stephen Lachter.  He, too, makes a distinction between "Made to Measure" and "True Bespoke."  In a previous discussion, some members claimed that the two terms were always synonymous, while I said they weren't.


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#3 greger

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 10:18 AM

That is a great find.
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#4 Henry Hall

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 10:20 PM

The interview featuring 'George', an old Cypriot tailor from Maurice Sedwell, is brilliant. He completely subverts all the interview questions, by either slightly misinterpreting them or answering in the matter-of-fact way of the ordinary working man. He has a sly dig at the Thatcher government for raising the rates on tailoring workshops in line with offices.

 

You can tell the sorts of answers the interviewers expect, but George wants to offer the simple, unvarnished truth. 


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#5 Henry Hall

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Posted 19 April 2015 - 10:37 PM

I've been listening to the first interview, with Stephen Lachter.  He, too, makes a distinction between "Made to Measure" and "True Bespoke."  In a previous discussion, some members claimed that the two terms were always synonymous, while I said they weren't.

 

That's not exactly what he says. He talked about a few made-to-measure tailors (Burton, Colliers etc) as compared to bespoke tailors; using 'true bespoke' to mean 'bespoke proper'. 

In the previous discussion the terms 'custom' and 'bespoke' were compared, not made-to-measure at all.


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#6 tailleuse

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 02:01 AM

 

That's not exactly what he says. He talked about a few made-to-measure tailors (Burton, Colliers etc) as compared to bespoke tailors; using 'true bespoke' to mean 'bespoke proper'. 

In the previous discussion the terms 'custom' and 'bespoke' were compared, not made-to-measure at all.

 

He says that he originally worked for a Made-to-Measure/RTW tailor, whose work wasn't "True Bespoke."  Eventually, he moved to a Savile Row tailoring establishment.  He's clearly making a distinction between the terms MTM and True Bespoke.


Edited by tailleuse, 20 April 2015 - 02:03 AM.

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#7 Henry Hall

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 02:27 AM

That's what he said, but he's not referring to a special concept called "true bespoke". He's referring to bespoke as compared to MTM tailoring; that distinction is clearly established in British tailoring.

 

The other discussion, the one you referred to, was about the distinction between 'custom' and 'bespoke' (and to a lesser extent MTM) and if the distinction was mere terminology.

 

Use of the word 'true' in this context is no different to using it in reference to anything you consider authentic. There is no such phrase 'true bespoke' in reference to a  concept. It's either bespoke or it is not, the 'true' is just differentiating from people who use the word in a way removed from what is traditionally meant. fine furniture-making has been cheapened in many ways, but the hand-craft cabinetmakers don't call it 'true cabinetmaking'.

 

Getting bogged down in this sort of terminology is just a nuisance. One can just look and see if the process tallies with expectations: is it made from a unique drafted pattern, with a lot of hand-work, several fittings etc. Then you have what, in the UK predominantly, has been called Bespoke

 

There's not much more to it.


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#8 greger

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 05:34 AM

It's not that simple. Until recently bespoke had a certain meaning. Now it includes m2m. The tailor saying true bespoke means he is referring to the previous meaning. He certainly disagrees with the current definition, as he should; for the purpose of language is to separate this from that. Which leaves me wondering why the British messed up with the word custom. Why are they misusing the word custom? Why didn't they pick the wrong word for the concept of mtm. Americans picking mtm is not a good choice, either (but not as bad). The word bespoke was stolen. Nowadays, how are real British tailors supposed to separate themselves from mass-produced?
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#9 Henry Hall

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 05:55 AM

Quite, that's precisely what I wrote, but with different words.


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#10 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 07:59 AM

I think those that want to know the difference do. There are many that like to throw the jargon around to make what they own seem more impressive to others - most of whom have no need to distinguish the meanings as they wiil end their days having worn nothing but RTW all along the way.





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