By David Brooke, 21-Sep-2012 17:33:00
By David Brooke, 30-Jul-2012 08:54:00
Mark Foster wearing a check sports jacket by Mathieson & Brooke Tailors Ltd. The cloth is a lightweight wool combined with a dark navy velvet collar and electric blue buttons holes. The shirt is from the Olympic Limited edition collection, made from light blue twill with a check collar in the Olympic Ring colours.
By David Brooke, 29-Jul-2012 08:25:00
Swimming legend Mark Foster looked fantastic last night wearing 1 of the 6 designs of shirt that we have made exclusively for the Olympic Games period. The cloth is a 109grm twill that works perfectly under the bright lights of a studio (it's also very easy to iron!). The shirts come in Blue, Light Blue, Pink ,Lilac, Cream and White and have the distinguished check pattern under the cuff and on the collar stand.
The collar is a 1 or 2 button Kent style and the cuffs are double button. There are no pleats on the back, a split yoke and side darts.
The shirts are also available in standard sizes as a ready to wear collection.
By David Brooke, 12-Jul-2012 12:25:00
A travelling or visiting tailor’s selling point is that they will visit their clients in their home or work place. How easy will this be in the Capital over the next 6-8 weeks? This summer London’s roads and public transport will be exceptionally busy. 109 miles of London’s roads will be part of the Olympic Route Network (ORN). How will this effect business, customers and deliveries? Many employees will be working from home over the Olympic period as the commute option could lose too many working hours.
It’s happening so deal with it! But how can we work around it to keep business as usual?
The Early Bird Catches the worm, in this case travel into see your clients in their office before working hours. An easier and less stressful commute for both the tailor and the client.
Arrange more fittings at client’s homes, after all that is the advantage of a visiting tailor. Avoiding London altogether is the best option. If many clients will be working from home over the Olympics then use this as an advantage to avoid congested roads.
Mail Delivery or let other people have the hassle of delivering suits option. If acceptable to the client this is another good option to avoid London’s streets. This is especially useful for existing clients where first fittings are not necessary.
Invest in a scooter? May be slightly quicker than driving around town and definitely the riskiest option.
Whatever the options you choose it’s not going to be easy. Let’s make the best of it!
By David Brooke, 02-Jul-2012 20:19:00
Opt for a slimmer cut, toss 'em on in the morning (with a slight taper below the knee), throw a neutral solid shirt, finish off with a pair of trainers and repeat.
If you'd like to step out of the box style-wise, but are still wary of shocking hues and prints, this is a good place to start.
Aubin & Wills
Similar to your favourite pair of denims, wear them like crazy until they take on a faded, distressed feel.
Red is actually the easiest colour to pull off this season - it can be worn with both light and dark tops.
McQ Alexander McQueen
A deeper shade best-suited at night, with a jacket and dress shirt.
On trend and unexpected, but still work-appropriate.
A washed-red hue is the perfect bold contrast to a crisp white shirt.
Polo Ralph Lauren
Complement the warm washed terracotta hue with greys and blacks.
Really looking for a reaction? Just go for it.
Band of Outsiders
By David Brooke, 27-Jun-2012 20:24:00
1) Effortless casual elegance for men ‘Easy to Wear’. Mediterranean styling and relaxed outfitting. Linen and cotton separates in summer neutrals. Soft tailoring including unlined jackets and low-rise trousers are perfect for keeping cool in the summer heat. Casual/formal hybrid in linen, washed cotton and soft denim, the more crumpled the better. Capri length linen trousers, a hip-length linen jacket and suede loafers are the new smart and smart casual.
2) Pastel and candy colours. Pink can even be spotted in AllSaints this season. Classic, timeless and subtle pastels which suit almost all skin tones. Will work with all outfitting; blazers, jackets and trousers. Catwalk 2012 summer pastel favourites are mint, yellow, pink and baby blue.
3) Yellow and Blue…are the colours that stood out on the catwalks showcasing the 2012 summer looks. Yellow for summer fun in the sun and blue from navy to azur. Key looks are pale yellow or pastel slim look jacket in cotton or linen with white chinos or trousers. Yellow or pale blue fine knit sweaters with summer light weight suits. Navy linen jacket with yellow trousers and navy loafers.
4) Patterns, florals and prints…..are in all the summer collections. Mix with plain tailoring to create a formal or casual summer look.
5) Checks and tartans…….again are in most designers collections. Check is a popular summer 2012 for lightweight overcoats, shirts and suits.
By David Brooke, 18-Jun-2012 09:39:00
It was great to see our great client and friend Mark Foster wearing his signature DJ designed by Mathieson & Brooke Tailors at the 3D premier of Titanic. The jacket is lightweight and can be worn with either jeans or the traditional dress trousers so perfect for any Summer Balls that you may have.
By David Brooke, 24-Apr-2012 10:20:00
A friend of mine who is a young, very successful businessman went into a tailors in Savile Row wearing shorts and a t-shirt (designer but all the same casual). He was told that he might have the wrong shop. He left....walked round the corner to his Ferrari, took the £5000 cash out of his shorts pocket and gave me a call.....
So why didn't he call me in the first place? Well, my clients are different from Savile Row's clients....marketing directors would say that we meet a demand in different segments of the same market. It is for this reason that I believe my business does not compete with Savile Row and visa versa. In fact it's the opposite, I want Savile Row tailors to be successful because I believe it raises peoples perceptions of the whole industry. Indeed, my client's are at the start of their careers and eventually I would want them to aspire to owning a suit from Savile Row......that's the customer journey. Unfortunately I remain to be convinceed as to whether this view is reciprocal.
Hearing stories like this ring alarm bells, and coupled with articles like the one attached it begs the question is Savile Row's strategy working?
Furthermore, I will attach another article in a moment published over the weekend about Gieves & Hawkes being sold to Chinese Trinity Group after not turning a profit since 2005. This suggests that it is very difficult indeed to make profit as a Luxury Men's tailor on Savile Row using English labour.....what Trinity are buying is the brand which they will leverage to maximise profit in markets where English Heritage is at a premium. This concerns me enormously for a number of reasons:
1. If the greatest brand we have in English Tailoring can't turn a profit what hope is there for the others?
2. Having worked in China and and on the perifery aquisition disposal of business I am acutely aware that Trinity group will want to maximise their return in the shortest period of time. This will undoubtedly impact on quality and service and the reflection of the UK industry.
So. I think a successful Savile Row is a benefit to the tailoring industry as a whole but their strategy isn't working.
In a nutshell you can increase profit by:
1. reducing costs
2. raising prices
3. increasing sales (customers)
4. changing product mix
Points 1 and 2 we know are very difficult in this ecomic climate. But what are they doing to increase the number of customers walking through the door? I believe that they are failing to recognise the customer jouney.....and to engage with the one group of people who will actually feed their business going forward and that is the growing number of tailoring companies that are introducing 1000's of new customers to tailoring every day. The SRB need to actively think how they can lead the industry as a whole and not just their own road.....big questions need big solutions so who will step up to the plate?
Not quite our class, darling! Savile Row tailors deny snobbery...independent.co.uk
The gentlemen of Savile Row are getting hot under their stiffly starched collars as they absorb the news that yet another vulgar imposter, this time The Kooples, a French fashion brand, is about to lower the tone of their...
By David Brooke, 14-Feb-2012 17:24:00
From the 13oz flannel in a mid grey, to the prep school stitching and patch pockets, everything about the latest Blazer by Mathieson & Brooke Tailors is Spiffingly English.
Yet, the signature button down lapel with storm collar in the recognisable orange makes this design unmistakably Mathieson & Brooke Tailors.
This is about understated style and incredible versatility. Worn here with a Mathieson & Brooke Tailors 100% Cashmere sleeveless pullover (£145) in navy blue, and a made to measure shirt in fine powder blue pinstripe (£105), the final look is as David Brooke would say "wearable by anybody".
Being "wearable" is a key element of all the made to measure clothes that David designs. "I never have understood couture" explains David "I will leave that to those people who want to be provoking extreme reactions on the catwalk. I want to make great clothes that people can look at and say......I could wear that....."
The Spiffingly English Blazer by Mathieson & Brooke Tailors is £535.
By David Brooke, 11-Dec-2011 20:34:00
Proposed by David Brooke
THE INDUSTRY IS CHANGING QUICKLY
The industry is changing rapidly to respond to the ever increasing demand for individualised products. Consumer’s don’t just want a car they want to choose from different steering wheels, gear stick knobs, paint colours and decals. They don’t just want a pair of golf shoes, they want their initials on them and pink stitching. And, they don’t just want a suit, they want to be able to choose the lining, the button hole stitching and the cut.
No longer is consumer demand for tailored suits associated with those with money. Global sourcing now means that tailored clothes are cheaper than ever before and therefore accessible to a far great audience.
These two trends, among others, have seen a rapid increase in the number of companies trying to meet this demand. Initially it was external market tailors coming to the UK to sell their service e.g. Raja Fashion. Then companies like mine set up to bring a local market infrastructure to the global sourcing model. More recently, many of the high street menswear stores have started to offer a tailored solution.
I see these changes as inevitable and a potentially strong stimulus to the industry. These new tailoring business are helping to grow the industry and attract new consumers who might otherwise not have had the experience of an individually designed garment. I also believe that these new consumers are actually at the start of a journey that could take them to the door of the finest tailors in the country. It is therefore in everyone’s interest to nurture them through this journey and make sure that they have the best possible experience at every stage.
RAPID GROWTH BRINGS BOTH OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
This period of rapid growth has brought with it a number of clear challenges that I believe are affecting the perception of the industry both from our peers in other markets but more importantly by our consumers in this market. I also believe that it is causing divides within the industry.
I have debated this idea on my Linkin Group ‘Bespoke Tailors’ over the past 6 months. The contributions have been excellent and I believe represent a true picture of the challenges that we face. The following list is not definitive but identifies a number of key issues highlighted in discussion so far.
1. Misuse of the terms bespoke and made-to-measure.
The definition of these terms is not agreed upon across the industry and needs to be if we are going to build a credible relationship with our consumers. If we are not clear, how can our customers be.
2. Lack of clarity with regards to the origin of a product.
People are not being clear about where their product is being made. This only becomes an issue when people mislead clients. Evidence is readily available on the internet of where this is happening. Either it is an English made suit or it isn’t.
3. Misuse of the Savile Row brand
People are using the terms Savile Row, or Savile Row Style which in itself is stealing brand equity and confusing the consumer. Holding a fitting in a Savile Row office doesn’t make you a Savile Row company or located in Savile Row.
4. Lack of industry/consumer data.
Simple questions that will help us understand our business remain unanswered. For example, is the market for tailored clothing growing? Which category is growing the quickest? What kind of person is buying within each category? How much do they earn? What is their job? In this day and age not knowing this is quite frankly unbelievable. If I grow my business by 20% but the market grows by 40% then I might not be quite as happy about it!
I have just carried out some research with the University of Hertfordshire which showed that you are twice as likely to be perceived as being successful, confident and wealthy within 3 seconds of meeting someone if you are wearing a tailored suit over an off the peg! Interesting? Useful information when talking to customers?.....It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
5. No clear career strategy to develop new blood.
One thing that I am clear about is that people are very interested in our industry. I am asked all the time about how people should get in to it. The answer to this question however is not readily available. Where are the training courses? Which tailors take on apprentices? Where are the case studies and success stories? What National vacancies are there at this moment in time?
6. Not building on best practice of Savile Row Bespoke.
The SRB is a good example of best practice that we should build upon. Their expertise and knowledge can help bring the industry as a whole together but I am convinced that this flow of information can be two way.
7. No central communication platform to discuss issues and opportunities.
Apart from my forum on Linkedin there is no other platform where people within the industry can share best practice, ask questions and find solutions to problems. The Linkedin forum is however constrained by the parameters of Linkedin and could be far better if set up externally.
8. No central directory for those within the industry
Many of the questions asked on the Linkedin forum relate to product or services sourcing. There is no directory that enables people to easily find suppliers. This also goes from a consumer standpoint as well.
9. Lack of group buying opportunities
There may be a possibility of group buying initiatives if we become more unified as an industry. This could help reduce costs and increase profits.
10. No medium to longer term strategy for the industry
So where do we want to be in 10 years time? How do we want people in other markets to perceive the UK...... The training capital of the world for tailoring maybe? What role can the government play in the industry? What role could a UK regulation body play in raising standards in the industry both in the UK and in other markets?
The industry has evolved quickly over the last 10 years. Consumers are unclear on the products that are being offered, and in some cases are being misled. The industry as a whole lacks direction and unification. This is having a detrimental impact on the industry’s credibility from a consumer perspective but is also creating factions within the industry (between ‘old’ and ‘new’).
We have a choice:
Either continue as we are...as individuals, with no cohesive strategy or support, and criticising but not doing anything about, those who are letting our industry down.
Or, we get proactive and make some clear changes that create a road map to make the UK tailoring industry the blue print for other markets.
PROPOSAL – ESTABLISH A REGULATORY BODY.
This industry requires regulating.
Experience has shown that it is not possible to make people do something they don’t want to do (example being the legal debate surrounding the use of the word bespoke). So a new approach is required. One that invites people who want to work within a set of rules to join rather than tells them.
By joining the regulatory body they will gain many benefits not least that they will be able to display the regulatory seal on their marketing and PR which, over time, will become an instant signal of trust in the consumers eyes.
They will have access to discussion forums, market data, consumer insight, buying groups, supplier directories, networking events, training and apprenticeship schemes, and extensive PR programs that build the credibility of those that carry the Regulatory Body’s seal. There might even be special prices with local market suppliers.
In return, they will have to trade within the Regulatory Body’s guidelines. This would include:
1. Always describing their products accurately and honestly against the agreed definitions of bespoke and made-to-measure.
2. Always being clear on the country of origin.
3. Not using the term Savile Row unless they actually operate a premises in the location or have done in the past (definitions needs agreeing).
4. Agreement to contribute sales and consumer data when required to build market insight.
5. To contribute and buy into a wider strategy for the industry with clear Visions and Objectives.
This is not a definitive list.
THIS PROPOSAL NEEDS TO BE PROPERLY EVALUATED
Initial feedback about this idea has been extremely positive however the concept needs to be shown to more key stakeholders particularly in Savile Row and the SRB.
A task force needs to be established to evaluate the commercial viability of the idea. Ultimately we need to understand the value of the concept. What would people be prepared to pay for membership and is this enough to cover the costs? What resource is required? Will this make the industry better vs other ideas and vs the time and energy it will take to establish. What should the scope of the organisation be.....UK, European, Global?
Critically we need access to someone with experience of setting up or managing a regulatory body in order to understand ‘the work’.
If you are reading this then you have been recommended as someone who can add value to this process and I would therefore value your input/comments/criticisms.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss at any time.
Mathieson & Brooke Tailors Ltd
m. 07962 141932
ABOUT DAVID BROOKE
After graduating in Psychology I worked for Nestle UK for 7 years before leaving my role as Global Account Director to set up a tailoring business.
Having worked in the industry for almost 7 years these are my thoughts on how we can make the global industry stronger.
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