Tailor Ritchie Charlton of Hayward creates a traditional bespoke tuxedo jacket live, with Bobby Gillespie standing in as a fit model.
Tailor Ritchie Charlton of Hayward creates a traditional bespoke tuxedo jacket live, with Bobby Gillespie standing in as a fit model.
LIVE STREAM Q&A
20 JUL 2011. 18:24
Q: Very nice & interesting project! I liked it so much.
A: Thank you!
20 JUL 2011. 17:53
Q: I would like to know if the full process is going to be posted later for those who could not manage to watch it completely?
A: Yes indeed! We will re-stream the whole three days of unedited footage, keep your eye on the blog for details and dates. Then the footage will be edited into a short film, which we aim to have on the site within the next few weeks.
20 JUL 2011. 15:17
Q: Breaking over the shoe? or slightly above? how should a bespoke pair of suit trousers hang?
A: What I do is I allow from the absolute net length, imagine it was touching the shoe at the front crease, I allow about an inch and a quarter break. Although everyone likes their preference. Trousers shouldn't be pressed hard at the heel, if they are pressed at the heel they will stick out and make the front look too long.
20 JUL 2011. 15:07
Q: how long does it normally take you to make a bespoke suit for a man? this seems like an excellerated process!
A: Probably if I hadn't been answering questions and I was working completely alone without any disturbances I could do it quicker than this. But not a lot quicker. A quick job is known in the trade as a skiffle. But in that case you end up putting it in front of someone else's job, and if that's the case you can end up with a chain of delayed jobs which is stressful. When ordering a suit, it depends on how much work we have on at the time and availability of the customer for fittings. At the moment it's about six to eight weeks.
20 JUL 2011. 15:06
Q: it seems awfully calm there considering that bobby Gillespie is coming in. is this the calm before the storm? or is this how you always finish?
A: I'm miles behind. I'm slightly worried it won't be finished tonight. There's a lot of work that needs to be done to it yet.
20 JUL 2011. 14:29
Q: bit of a random question, but I'm curious - what's the story behind the gold ring that you are wearing? It's fantastic - had my eye on it throughout the streaming!
A: There is a story, it's a family thing. We're in Bruton place here and my Mother's side of the family were based in Soho, only about half a mile from here. Their family business, they were restauranteurs, and fish mongers. They used to keep horses as they had a delivery service. There's a stable block on Brewer street, my Grandfather used to work for his brother as a stable boy, the ring is actually a horse shoe nail made out of gold. This was my Grandfathers one, he fell out with his father and he kicked him down the stairs, he ran off to Switzerland and couldn't bare to wear the ring again so he passed it to my Mother who eventually passed it on to me.
20 JUL 2011. 14:24
Q: Hi Ritchie - Do you ever work with leathers, skins, furs to make your suits or outerwear garments at Hayward's? How does that impact the lead time/labour?
A: No I wouldn't know anything about leather, even cutting patterns from leather is different from cloth, it demands different techniques, different machinery. I have made things with a fur element - a fur collar or fake fur collar. I've made coats lined with Mink. I've put leather elements on shooting clothes. I've never made a complete garment. You've got to treat leather very carefully, you can use a little bit of heat but no steam.
20 JUL 2011. 14:01
Q: Who may I ask is leading this interview/on the camera.
A: Firing away the questions from our viewers, that's me, Amy, Production Manager at SHOWstudio. Zoe Hitchen is on the camera, Nick Knight's first assistant, assisted by Elisabeth.
20 JUL 2011. 14:01
Q: Afternoon Ritchie - do you have any advice re: domestic irons? I am looking to invest in a good iron to work with from home - but can't afford a 'full-on' one like the one you're using today. Perhaps Alice or Emily have some tips...?
A: domestic one, you won't really be able to tailor with it. That one over there, I find too light weight, I can't get the effect I want. That would be better than a domestic iron but you're looking at four or five hundred pounds. The one I'm using weighs over a stone.
20 JUL 2011. 13:59
Q: oh by the way, it's an honour watching this process! this is teaching me so much!
A: Thank you
20 JUL 2011. 13:57
Q: how many fitting on average do you do for one client?
A: Three on average
20 JUL 2011. 13:52
Q: What was the most valuable lesson you learned while working at Hartnell couture?
A: What I saw there for the first time was actually being given a sketch and interpreting it, that's something that I hadn't done before. Apart from that it was just a fantastic experience.
20 JUL 2011. 13:49Q. if watching you has inspired someone, how would you advise them to start?
Definitely get a college course, and then if you like it try to get into one of the Savile Row tailoring houses, maybe an internship or placement. I have to say that it is the sort of thing to learn when you're young. It's hard to learn when you're older.
20 JUL 2011. 13:38
Q: I recently came into the possession of a vintage handmade fishing/hunting jacket. The name inside is Scrambell is this a known Saville Row tailor?
A: I don't know the name. American maybe? Usually if it's a tailor made jacket there will be a name on the inside of the right in-breast pocket of the tailor who made it, and the customers name, and the date.
20 JUL 2011. 13:34
Q: Did you ever come across Alexander McQueen when he worked down Saville Rowe?
A: He did come into one place that I worked at. Prior to me working at Hartnell Couture he worked there for a short time. Whilst I was there he came out with his first collection and everyone was just absolutely amazed.
20 JUL 2011. 13:05
Q: Have you ever had to work all night long to finish a three piece suit?
A: Yes I've had to work very long hours at times. All night long... yes once or twice. What we've been doing here is actually what the trade is always like, we're always working to deadlines. You get used to working at a certain speed.
20 JUL 2011. 13:00
Q: What time is Bobby making an appearance and our we on schedule?
A: That's exactly what I'm thinking! Not quite on schedule, I'm going to give him a call shortly. I think it'll be about six o'clock this evening by the time we get everything pressed, finished and tried on properly. But he is due in soon, around
Change of plan, the jacket isn't ready to be fitted just yet so Ritchie has asked Bobby to come in around 6pm this evening.
20 JUL 2011. 11:57
Q: What's roughly the age of the youngest person you've ever made a bespoke suit for?
A: I've made a suit for a five year old. It was for a wedding, he was one of four brothers we made suits for, and the groom, his father. Myself and a colleague shared the workload. Getting a five year old to stand still long enough to fit the suit was a job in itself.
20 JUL 2011. 11:33
Q: Audio Question "Now Technics 1210's have stopped being produced by the manufactures. Does that make the price of them go up or down."
A: There's so many of them around, second hand, everyone's using computer based software to dj now so the price is going down. I think they're really good and can be tweaked to sound incredible.
20 JUL 2011. 11:13
Q: which shape of lapel do you prefer?Is there a specific trend in the shape of lapel nowadays?
A: Yes I think trend says narrow, not too much round, or belly, as we refer to it in the outside edge. I think I like it narrow, I like the idea of a slightly sixties style lapel, I think that's quite discrete.
20 JUL 2011. 10:45
Q: Are There Particular Places That You Buy Equipment And Supplies From That You Would Recommend? (Threads, Pattern Cutting Equipment etc)
A: I think Moreplan is pretty good for cutting tools. I love the equipment, I've always collected bits and bobs to do it. A lot of my things are old. I like the old tools, honestly. Franks used to be quite good near Great Titchfield street. Ebay can be good. For threads, in the West End you've got Weldons - Richard James Weldon on Berwick Street.
20 JUL 2011. 10:44
Q: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about the transient nature of a creative process. "When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life." Csikszentmihalyi is the architect of the notion of "flow" -- the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.
A: Thank you, that's exactly it, exactly what we were talking about this morning.
20 JUL 2011. 10:38
Q: Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. I've been watching you while I work over the past few days & been inspired by your focus & excited to see the jacket take shape. It's been profound, for real!
A: Wow. I am amazed that people find this so interesting. Thank you.
20 JUL 2011. 10:27
Q: If I where looking for a jazzy little tie and waistcoat "Britsh Designer - Past and Present' who would you recommend ?
A: I'm not sure, there used to be a place called the waistcoat gallery in the West End, I don't think it exists anymore. Come to Hayward and have one made. I've made a few waistcoats this year.
20 JUL 2011. 10:24
Q: To be a tailor do you need to have an obsessive personality?
A: Yes. I used to have tremendous trouble with perfectionism which isn't very helpful.
20 JUL 2011. 10:15
Q: How many stitches do you think there are in a jacket?
A: Perhaps someone at SHOWstudio would like to count them...? I have no idea.
20 JUL 2011. 10:11
Q: What would Campbell being doing at Hayward while you are on this project?
A: Holding the fort! He's probably working extremely hard, and resenting me a little.
20 JUL 2011. 09:57
Q: A bit casual today Richie? Thought i had tuned into the wrong channel.
A: A little disorganised this morning, early start.
19 JUL 2011. 20:44
Q: Unbuttoned cuffs are used by some to show their suit is bespoke. How does one spot a bespoke suit?
A: I think Churchill said that all men should have four buttons on their cuff but gentlemen never undo them. Meaning that undoing it is possibly a way of showing off that your suit is hand-made. Lots of Italian men undo the bottom two of their jacket cuff buttons, but most British men don't, although some do. If a suit is well cut you'll look at a guy and think that he's well dressed, that's what it's about. It's a bit like looking at a Ford, then looking at an Aston Martin, you can tell which one is hand made. Tailoring is a similar thing.
19 JUL 2011. 20:10
Q: I see you use proper measurements ie feet and inches. Did you ever get grief from euro type people to force you to use Napoleons measurements?
A: No, not really. Cloth is now sold in metres and centimetres, so from that angle maybe, I don't know if it's grief or not. It's been like that ever since I can remember, since the 80's at least. I quite often work with factories in Europe making ready to wear clothes. Production patterns have to be very accurate, so milimetres are more applicable.
19 JUL 2011. 19:28
Q: is Bobby having a fitting and will you have to tweek it
A: Very good question. I'm making it straight finish. I may well have to tweak it, we'll see. He'll be here tomorrow to try it on. I'm not sure what we're doing with it yet, whether we'll exhibit the jacket here at SHOW, or whether he'll want it we'll have to see.
19 JUL 2011. 19:18
Q: Do tailored garments become family heirlooms?
A: Definitey yes! Without a doubt. I'm constantly adjusting clothes that have been passed down from father to son.
19 JUL 2011. 19:05
Q: Tailored garments are made to last and therefore must help the enviroment ultimately? compared to throwaway culture.
A: It's not something I've ever though of really. I'm a terrible hoarder myself. Maybe there is some truth in that.
19 JUL 2011. 19:00Q. Did The Recession Effect The Business In Anyway And How Did You Adapt If So?
Yes the trade is slack compared to how it was in 2007, it's a case of just living with it. The lead time is shorter that's for sure. In 2007 it was taking us three or four months because there were so many. At the moment it's six or eight weeks.
19 JUL 2011. 19:00
Q: to ritchie- whats your favourite garment youve ever made??
A: I really don't know about my favourite. It's strange you get so used to doing it and there's so much of it, you make one and you're onto the next. I can remember the first time I made a suit well that I was actually pleased with. As a tailor I used to have terrible problems with affection. I used to try to be perfect all the time, I was making things very difficult for myself. I don't try to be perfect anymore and actually I make better clothes for it.
19 JUL 2011. 18:54
Q: Do your hands suffer?
A: Oh yes! They're looking a bit battered after the last couple of days but not too bad.
19 JUL 2011. 18:31
Q: how often do savile row tailors take in interns, these days? How would you go about getting in, as an american?
A: I would send a very concise CV. I can say from my own experience of seeing many CV's coming through, keep it concise. Just say you'd like to be a tailor, tell them what you've studied etc and if you're really keen... I'm actually a firm believer in pestering people. If you want to get in you have to keep pestering.
19 JUL 2011. 18:05
Q: How do you imagine the future of the tailoring business over the next 10 or 20 years?
A: I think it'll carry on as it is at the moment, there will be subtle variations in style. There are a lot of young people in the trade. As long as there are people ordering clothes they will find a way to make them. It's true it's not like it used to be, people don't dress as they did in the 60's and 70's. Wearing a suit isn't necessarily passed down from father to son, but there's definitely lots of modern men who don't want to dress casually all the time, I think there will always be a trade.
19 JUL 2011. 17:32
Q: Is that a special needle you are using or just a regular one? It looks smaller than usual. Hi Alice!
A: I use a size four-between which is quite small. the guy who taught me used a size two-between which was huge, he had the same one for about twenty years.
19 JUL 2011. 17:23
Q: There seems to be a lot of layers of fabric on the piece you are working on at the moment! How many layers would there be in a final jacket?
A: Through the chest there is a layer of cloth, then cancvas, lapt hair, another layer of lapt hair in the armhole, so probably five or six layers in certain areas. Tailoring is all about the layering of fabric, each one manipulated to be longer or shorter than the one on top of it. Each layer has it's own role.
19 JUL 2011. 17:12
Q: Do you think the skills learnt in Universities have any quality or should one just do a apprenticeship?
A: I think spending time at university, it's not just about skills. I never did that so I'm always envious of people who've been through college. You've got to apply yourself without anyone pushing you. I would suggest doing that first, then do an internship. Although I think the younger you start tailoring the better.
19 JUL 2011. 17:10
Q: Do you get many people coming to you who have never had a bespoke suit made before? Do you enjoy guiding a newcomer through the process and weeding out their preferences and style?
A: Yes there are a lot of first timers, and hopefully they do come back. It is enjoyable guiding a first timer through the process. I always want to do a good job of it.
19 JUL 2011. 17:09
Q: What was it like working under Marc Bohan at Hartnell couture? What was the most important thing you learnt while you were working over there?
A: I absolutely loved it, it was a great experience and I was a little out of my depth for a while. I remember talking about it yesterday, and it was in hindsight that I remember it was absolutely fantastic working there. Instead of just working i a gents shop, I got to work on collections, it was just a different culture than what I'd been used to. I made some friends there that I still keep in touch with. It was an exciting episode.
19 JUL 2011. 17:04
Q: What is the most difficult aspect of making a suit?
A: Customer satisfaction. It's not always easy to please the customer. This is difficult, being filmed and asked questions whilst I work! When you enjoy something you don't think of it in that way. It is very labour intensive, as an apprentice you have to get over that. People drop out when they discover it's back breaking, but I really do enjoy my work.
19 JUL 2011. 17:01
Q: What are you sewing at the moment? The question is also as you mentioned before, that the italians were sewing entirely by hand, is it actually possible to sew a really straight seam by hand, comparable to sewing machine.
A: It is possible, that's how it used to be done. Practice makes perfect!
19 JUL 2011. 16:54
Q: What is the ratio of male to female tailors in your experience and has it changed through the years? And where have your assistant gone?
A: They're waiting for me to get the work up to the stage where they can do a little more work on it. I think I'm being too slow... either that or I'm hogging all the work. I think it's a more recent thing that there are trained female coat makers, there's more than there used to be, but there's always been women in the trade. It's definitely good to have a mix.
19 JUL 2011. 16:49
Q: How important do you think it is, not only 'to be' a great tailor but 'to look' like one too?
A: I used to be clothes obsessed, it's expensive even for a tailor to make your own suits. I've got children now and they tend to take priority over me these days. But yes it is important to keep up the image. I don't actually wear a suit to go to work, I wear jeans then change into a suit when I'm there. My business partner is very into his clothes and looks fantastic every day, he puts me to shame.
19 JUL 2011. 16:25
Q: What suggestions would you have for a gentleman looking to aquire a ready-to-wear suit if one is not able to have one tailor-fitted? Are there aspects we should look out for or consider?
A: The best thing to do is to go for the upper end of your budget, you do get what you pay for. You want to go for something that is made in a traditional manner with a floating canvas inside, they last longer and don't de-laminate, meaning there's nothing to come unstuck inside it so you don't get that bubbling in the chest after a while. Decide on the style you want, if you've got the time it's worth investing time into shopping around and getting an idea of what you want. Make sure you leave a bit of money for shoes, shirt, tie, socks. The whole is better than the sum of it's parts.
19 JUL 2011. 16:17
Q: I am curious about the difference between British tailoring and Italia n tailoring. And what do you think about the old Shanghai tailoring?
A: I've had a lot of experience with Shanghai tailoring, when I worked for Kilgour we used to work with a factory in Shanghai. The people there are brilliant. I've been there a dozen times at least and have made some great friends there even though I don't speak the language. A mutual respect happened when we started sewing with each other. I don't know what it's all like in Shanghai. In Italy the tailoring is absolutely fantastic. I've seen breathtaking suits in Italy. I've seen suits made suits completely by hand, not one bit of machine stitching. I think their style is more ornate, the cut is different. Their clothes have less shape. The shape is different in the north from the south. At Kilgour I worked with Italian tailors, their work was just beautiful.
19 JUL 2011. 16:08
Q: I spilt a rather large glass of Xo brandy on my velvet jacket, what's the best course of treatment?..dry cleaning?
A: It sounds like someone privileged... did you have one elbow on the mantle piece at the time? I'm afraid it sounds like it might be ruined. Liquid and velvet don't mix very well.
19 JUL 2011. 16:03
Q: Where do you think Ladies tailoring stands today and where do you think it can go? Is there a market for it?
A: Most of the London couture houses seem to have disappeared so maybe there isn't a market for it. There are some very good ladies tailors in the west end. Edward Sexton who works in Knightsbridge is a fantastic ladies tailor.
19 JUL 2011. 15:52
Q: Is this suit for a woman or a man? What is your opinion on Savile Row tailors cutting for female form?
A: There are some really good ladies tailors, however it's not necessarily how they're cut it's how they're made too. Honestly, getting a gents coat maker to make a ladies jacket, there aren't that many who do it nicely. There are some who do a really good job on Savile Row, but gents tailors tend to make them too heavy. Andrew Ramroop is at 19 Savile Row, he is also a fantastic ladies tailor. This particular coat is being made for Bobby Gillespie, but it's quite an androdynous coat.
19 JUL 2011. 15:52
Q: WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE
A: Believe it or not I have four cars. My fathers old car is rusting in my back yard, that's a Peugeot 205. Series 2A Land Rover about 40 years old. A Chrysler Voyagerr people carrier for the family which we actually can run. And a station car, a blue Fiat Punto which is filthy. No Aston Martins in the garage I'm afraid.
19 JUL 2011. 15:49
Q: What's the proudest moment of your careeer?
A: I've had quite a few of those moments where you think 'wow'. I'm very proud of Hayward, having got to a position where I can be 'boss' if you like. As for making clothes it's what we do so I take pride in doing it well, but that's what makes it interesting, being into the craft.
19 JUL 2011. 15:49
Q: I know there's no such thing as a 'standard' jacket, but how many pattern pieces does it take to make a jacket?
A: They're on the wall here! There's the fore-part, the back, the under-sleeve and the top sleeve. Then we cut a facing which would go on the lay. So five. A mourning coat is slightly different.
19 JUL 2011. 15:47
Q: Can you describe your job on a day to day basis?
A: Very different from today. I rarely get the chance to make anything. Most of the time I'm cutting patterns or I'm up in the fitting room. There's a degree of business I need to take care of. Hayward have a fledging ready to wear collection which I'm very much a part of, making patterns, developing the collection. I do my rounds. So this is actually rather nice to come here and play.
19 JUL 2011. 15:47
Q: Lots of people know the story about Doug Hayward 'wearing-in' a suit for a client who hated the idea of wearing a brand-new velvet jacket, but what's the most unusual request you've ever had from a client?
A: I once took an order from a guy who never actually came to the shop. I took the order in a hotel bar in Switzerland. Fitted him in Geneva airport, then in another hotel. Then I sent it to him. He's followed me now to Hayward. Meeting a customer's expectations, whatever that might be, is all part of it.
19 JUL 2011. 15:41
Q: what's your opinion on a handkerchief in the front pocket?
A: Nice. Theres one or two ways of doing it. What's in vogue now is to have something 60's style where you fold it so there's a quater inch showing. This jacket doesn't have a breast pocket. Some guys like a flamboyant thing. Some have the tips coming out. I think it's nice to dress like that when you don't have a tie on. Having said all that I don't do it myself.
19 JUL 2011. 14:09
Q: Were Do You See The Future Of Tailoring And What Do You See Developing And Changing ?
A: Not including myself, I think some of the future of tailoring is in this room. It will carry on for sometime still, there's always people who want hand made clothes. I don't see it getting into 'these are the clothes we'll be wearing in the future' kind of thing. I think it'll stay classic. The trade will change somewhat, there's less coat makers and trouser makes coming into the trade from other countries, the trade is dying out in other countries. There aren't so many Italian's in the trade now, more Malasian and Chinese people now. So the trade carries on it's just changing slightly. It's always changing. It's healthy to have a diverse range of tailors on Savile Row particularly. Richard James and Oswald Boateng are the so called 'new tailors', they offer different things to each other. The classic tailors all have their established shapes. I can see it continuing.
19 JUL 2011. 13:54
Q: ps MJN from Jay Kos NYC is a girl...lol Miss J Nash - ;)
A: Sorry! That was question master's fault.
19 JUL 2011. 13:51
Q: Hello Ritchie - Watching from NYC before I leave for my work at a bespoke tailor's too! I'm in training at Jay Kos - we get a lot of our RTW jackets and trousers made in London (as well as Italy, France...) Pleasure watching you - keep up the good work ;) MJN
A: Why thank you!
19 JUL 2011. 13:48
Q: In bespoke tailoring, what does it mean to be creative?
A: With some customers your own creative instincts need to be kept out of the equation, with other customers you can be creative. It's a more collaborative process. There's not an awful lot of creativity that goes into making a standard suit. Although the job is creative just as it is. The word design always makes me feel a little queasy, people ask if I design my suits, it sounds a little pretentious. There are suggestions I would make, there are lots of things you can do to a suit.
19 JUL 2011. 13:31
Q: Do you have set dates for New York? How would I know?
A: At the moment our website is under construction, but usually on the homepage we would post the dates - it's around mid June, then the end of October, and sometime in February. The next trip will be in October. Keep your eye on the homepage or get in touch http://www.douglashayward.co.uk/
19 JUL 2011. 13:21
Q: Do you ever travel to New York and see customers who are rarely in London?
A: I don't do so much of that anymore. I have done in the past. The American trip is handled by my business partner. I hope to be doing it again sometime but it doesn't make too much sense both of us going. American customers tend to like a less shaped suit than London customers. They like their trousers slightly shorter, but that's a big generalisation. And their sleeves slightly longer.
19 JUL 2011. 13:01
Q: Where were you taught Ritchie?
A: I started off with my father, he's semi retired, then went to work in a factory for the best part of a year. Then started doing a college course in cutting, and an evening course in hand craft tailoring. I met a couple of other guys there who are still int he trade, and they were doing apprenticeships on Savile Row. I wrote off to about 40 companies on Savile Row and the surrounding area. I managed to get 2 Interviews, one for an undercutter, but I wanted to learn how to sew. I was taken on by Norton and Sons by the Granger family, I was put with a Sicilian coat maker who was absolutely fantastic, top class. I was very lucky to be put with someone so brilliant. I spent four years with him, it was hard work but he made me laugh and taught me so much. I went on to become an undercutter for Maurice Sedwell, but I also got the chance to carry on coat making. Then I went to Hartnell then back to Maurice, then back to Norton's. Working for small companies I got to do a bit of everything which was a great experience. In 1998 I was offered a fantastic job at Kilgour, they were known as the tailor's tailor. They had a team of brilliant coat makers. I spent 12 years there and became the director of the company, which we re-branded. I worked closely with Carlo Brandelli. I've been learning all the way through and I still am. There are always things you can do better.
19 JUL 2011. 12:40
Q: Hi Ritchie, I have a long, long morning suit jacket and I find it doesn't hang like it should, especially in the wind. I'm after a more smoove look any ideas?
A: It sounds like it might be ill fitting and out of balance, it may be too big. Mourning suits tend to flap around if they're not balancing and fitting into your waist. If it's a bespoke mourning suit then quite a lot can be done with it, but if it's a ready made one, not much can be done. Send us some more information if you wish, perhaps a picture? http://showstudio.com/studio/contact
19 JUL 2011. 12:27
Q: Want you to work with Lady Gaga ?
A: Absolutely! When?
19 JUL 2011. 12:18
Q: Dear Ritchie, Considering the improved skills of modern tailors, have you ever tried to make a suit using 18th or 19th century cloths and using 18th or 19th century equipment?
A: I haven't got an iron that's heated with coals. Sewing machines are now electric powered, but we do actually still have ancient equipment - our sleeve board for example. It's probably turn of the 20th Century. Built to last. So we still have those and these things get passed down. There are elements of the roots of it that still exist now, but we're always miles behind factory technology, and so we should be. The point of hand made tailoring is that it's hand made.
19 JUL 2011. 12:13
Q: Why are you so hurry ? I see that when you sew .
A: I don't think I'm in a hurry! Well actually I'm slightly concerned that we're getting behind time. After a while it gets natural to do it at some speed.
19 JUL 2011. 12:12
Q: Have You Ever Considered Women's Tailoring Being Apart Of The Business ?
A: Primarily, speaking honestly, I'm a gents tailor. I've made a lot of ladies clothes but not for a while. You do kind of get out of the pattern of making ladies clothes. You have to make a toilet in calico so there's a bit more work involved. Generally you're making a one off garment tat is going to need working up, so having a twoil is like having a fitting before the fitting. It may not work so if you cut it in the fabric you'd end up wasting the fabric and therefore wasting money. The designs are limitless, so it's how you sell tailoring to ladies. That's why couture is so different, you're working with designs and then adapting those to customers.
19 JUL 2011. 12:00
Q: Where is your shirt from, the cocktail cuffs look different from The ones Turnbull & Asser do.
A: This is a Hayward design of course! Its actually not too fiddly to do up, it's an interesting detail. It's not been done before. We actually follow that detail on to the collar so it just crosses over. We've got several designs for our shirts, my personal preference is that the shirt collar sits just underneath the jacket. If you have a pointed collar it often sticks up or you can see the shirt point when worn with a jacket, I don't particularly like that.
19 JUL 2011. 11:56
Q: Hello Ritchie, ever thought about doing a "vintage " line at Hayward and reviving some of the great suits of the past?
A: I suppose in someway we do have a vintage line as we carry on the house style which is pretty well established. There were so many suits in the business. There were years worth of suits at Hayward, we were actually drowning in them. Some of them we kept for inspiration, more for the fabrics. In some ways that's where the trade has changed more than anything else. Manufacturers are making fabrics ever lighter and more luxurious. Even the way they're breeding sheep is so different now, they're producing finer and more luxurious yarns even. When I first started they'd say it's not like it used to be and the expertise has gone out of the trade. I think it's actually the opposite. The tailors who work with lighter and lighter fabric have got to be fantastic, you can't treat it like a piece of tweed it's completely different. I think the coat makers now are probably the best the trade has ever produced.
19 JUL 2011. 11:47
Q: Hi Ritchie. what's the best method to ironing the sleeve of a shirt? I always find it the trickiest bit to get right.
A: So there's usually a pleat up the sleeve, if its a double cuff undo it so its laid flat and press that flat. The pleat should run straight up the grain of the cloth straight up to the yoke. Lay it so the 2 seams are on top of each other, the yoke and the seam running up the sleeve, then you'll find the cuff will lay flat. It's much easier to do than to explain!
19 JUL 2011. 11:26
Q: Hi Ritchie, I've heard mention of a 'lay' by tailors/cutters. Is this something that happens often, I'd be interested to hear how you 'lay'.
A: The lay is what you can see here behind me - the lay of the pattern. All tailors would try to lay one way so it all flows in the same direction, its like having a jigsaw puzzle you've got the pieces you just have to fit them in to one place. It's to be sure you're not wasting cloth. Laying the pattern down and knowing where you're wasting cloth, it becomes second nature, it's very difficult to learn at first. These days in factories, it's important so no money is wasted. The pattern is input into a computer and then the computer grades the pattern - it makes all the sizes to a base model. Once that is done there's a lay planner who manoeuvres the pattern around the length of cloth on the computer screen the lay is printed out on paper then stuck to the top of the fabric and cut out by a machine which is guided by a laser. For me, a man who deals with one piece of cloth and one suit at a time, its mind boggling.
19 JUL 2011. 11:18
Q: Would you mind introducing us to your assistants?!
A: We have Alice who is a trained coat maker, Alice is helping me to put the garment together, and Emily will be working with us today on the finish of the suit - the button holes and the felling which is sewing the lining together. She is also the niece of the late great John Barry who we also have a pattern for here so there's a nice symmetry.
18 JUL 2011. 18:51
Q: Is there any particular garment that you enjoy making over others? What is the most ambitious garment you've made? What is the longest you've spent creating any particular garment?
A: When I was a coat maker full time I liked making velvet, and got reasonably proficient making velvet smoking jackets. I'm not making a velvet jacket this time as its fraught with problems, it's very difficult. I liked making morning coats, dress wear. As far as ambitious garments, recently I made something for a customer who will remain nameless, it was a halter neck jumpsuit for a lady with an integral waistcoat. Quite a challenge! As for the longest.. I don't know really, this could may well be the longest...
18 JUL 2011. 18:01
Q: this is incredibly fascinating. thanks to all involved for streaming this. watching this in NYC. picture as getting darker again though.
A: You're very welcome. Unfortunately the British Summer has disappeared so it's getting dark out already. Glad you're enjoying the stream, do you have any questions you would like to ask out tailors?
18 JUL 2011. 17:38
Q: Cock and Horse came from Mike Smith by the way Ritchie.
A: Oh was it now... Hi Mike
18 JUL 2011. 17:37
Q: To what extent is the bespoke trade exploring new technologies such as 3D scanning? For you, does the adoption of these represent a departure from the original principles of the craft or a modern approach to achieving a perfect fit?
A: When I was at Kilgour, about 10 years ago we did a survey with a scanner, they had the thing installed at LCF, a chap went in there I had to cut him a suit from the measures. It came out a bit shorter than we wanted, but from the scan I could see his figure and it did actually work. I think it's almost against what bespoke tailoring is all about though. What's the point in having a scanner if you're not getting the treatment. It's a bit like having a hat that cuts your hair, you're missing out on the interaction between yourself and the tailor. You're missing out part of the process, you need to know how the customer sits, how they stand how they walk about. You can't get that if they're in a scanner at some other location.
18 JUL 2011. 17:24
Q: have you ever made tailored pyjama's? if so, how much would they cost?
A: I haven't made tailored pyjamas but I have made indian style trousers, very narrow at the bottom with baggy hips with a draw string, of course they would be seriously expensive. They were a very fine raw silk. They were for a traditional Indian wedding, I made three or four outfits. It's good fun doing that sort of thing. We actually make some very nice ready to wear pyjamas...
18 JUL 2011. 17:12
Q: What are your favourite and most inspiring books about fashion?
A: Most of the ones that I have aren't really about fashion, I have old cutting manuals which I find interesting. I haven't got much of a library of fashion books, I'd love to have one. I have collected quite a lot of old cutting books, manuals, different systems. Some of them are Edwardian, some are 40's, 50's.
18 JUL 2011. 16:34
Q: I would love to be a tailor or a pattern cutter for a tailor... any advice on maybe how to get there? Thanks x
A: Try to get on a college course first of all, there are schemes up and running in tailoring. Once you've done that try to get an internship in a firm in the West End, the way to do that is to literally cold call, I did it, I sent off 40 letters to Saville Row and the surrounding area. I did hand craft tailoring and gentleman's pattern cutting at college, as it was called then in the 80's. They used to run a night class. I think that's finished now, but there are tailoring courses.
18 JUL 2011. 16:10
Q: have you always used the same machine? how important is a good machine to the process?
A: Really important, I actually donated this one to the company, the tools of the trade are very important to me, this is from the 1970's made by Brother. The more modern ones aren't as smooth. For what we do we don't need speed we need precision and smoothness. A good machine is important, learning how to control it is a very big part of tailoring. The foot of the machine pushes as the cloth goes through, underneath there's a claw that feeds the cloth, the top layer is getting pushed, the bottom is getting pulled so you have to be very careful.
18 JUL 2011. 15:08
Q: What's the mean of 'to cock and horse' something?
A: No such thing!
18 JUL 2011. 15:04
Q: How did the idea of you working live on show studio come about? Is there a history of you working with Nick Knight?
A: Yes I've made Nick some suits in the past. One evening he asked me if I would be interested in coming into SHOWstudio to give a live exhibit. I said yes before thinking about it and here I am.
18 JUL 2011. 14:56
Q: There are always people we might aspire to dress, but have there been any clients you would rather not have made suits for? What were the circumstances, without divulging who they were?
A: No comment
18 JUL 2011. 14:55
Q: What is your favourite suit from cinema history?
A: That's an easy one to answer, Steve McQueen's tailoring in The Thomas Crown Affair is pretty good, that was done by Hayward. It's quintessential tailoring. The suit isn's particularly sharp, the thing that's sharp is Steve McQueen. I think the whole wardrobe is fantastic.
18 JUL 2011. 14:54
Q: do you normally add a coin pocket to the trousers, or would this have to be a specific request?
A: Yes sometimes you can have one on the outside, sometimes in the band so it'd be concealed. It's quite useful to have one. I've not decided whether this suit will have one, good point...
18 JUL 2011. 14:29
Q: Are there any new fabrics (high-tech microfibers, nanotech synthetics etc) that you've had a chance to work with? If so do you like/dislike them and do they make your job easier or harder?
A: I would say anything micro-fibre makes the job harder. The technique we use, I'm pressing something with heat and moisture, micro-fibre fabrics don't take to that easily.
18 JUL 2011. 14:26
Q: What is the origin of the tuxedo?
A: I knew this would happen, you're really testing my knowledge now. I think you're best off asking SHOWstudio Fashion Director Alex Fury for that one...
18 JUL 2011. 14:19
Q: Does the personality of your client affect the patterns you make?
A: Definitely! Any tailor should be mindful of the person he's making the suit for - how they live, where they're going to wear it. You're looking at the guy's figure but you need to make a judgement of what his life is like. This suit is being made for Bobby Gillespie, he's a rock 'n' roll kind of guy, I want to make it sharp and androgynous, that suits his physique and his personality.
18 JUL 2011. 14:09
Q: what would you say the main stylistic difference is between what you used to do with Carlo Brandelli at Kilgour and what you are doing now at Hayward?
A: Kilgour have a house style and we adapted it as we went along, 12 or 13 years ago when I started working with them we developed a block together which had an element of the house style and a more fashion forward style. Hayward's house style is somewhat different, and as a tailor I should be taking on the Hayward style which is a little softer, not quite as full in the chest, but there are elements of Kilgour in what I do as I worked with them for a long time
18 JUL 2011. 14:02
Q: Would you have chosen this over any other art form?
A: I think it chose me. I wouldn't call it an art form, more a craft. It's something I fell into because my family did it, and I grew to love it. I still love it.
18 JUL 2011. 14:01
Q: If u had to change career to something not in fashion, what would it be. Graeme.
A: I guess that what I do is something that the craft aspect I could apply to some other craft. I might have got into another craft but I suppose the thing that really pushes my buttons is music. I collect records, I used to play the drums. I suppose my real passion is for music and the audio equipment involved so something involving music.
18 JUL 2011. 14:00
Q: Do you use a special hanger, to store your suits on? One that helps to maintain the shape while it rests?
A: We have a hanger at Hayward, it needs to be forward enough on the shoulders that it holds the garment, if the hanger is too flat the coat will slip off and it will stretch the collar which is not at all ideal.
18 JUL 2011. 13:48
Q: does it ever occur where a pattern cutter from (e.g.) a womens luxury label would become a tailor?
A: Yes I would think that would be possible, you can do anything if you want to. I do know a girl who was a tailor, went to work in mass production at a pretty high level, then she came back to the trade and applied some of that stuff to bespoke tailoring and now runs her own business making bespoke clothing for ladies.
18 JUL 2011. 13:44
Q: I once heard from an Italian tailoring firm that they train their master tailors from a very young age, and that they don't do any "labour" using their hands from age 9. This is to preserve the sensitivity of the fingertips. Do British tailors have any similar "quirks" that you have heard of?
A: I've never heard that particular quirk, I actually trained under an Italian tailor, he said the way they started was on 'turning' coats, when it was looking tired on the outside they would turn it inside out - unpick the whole thing and turn it the other way around. The best coat makers I've ever seen are Italian. There's an Italian flair for design, it's in their culture. We've not got quite the same desire for craft. From my point of view, my fingers will probably bleed today, the tips of your fingers have to build up a hardness. Because I don't sew all the time, mine have gone a bit soft.
18 JUL 2011. 13:37
Q: How long should a well tailored suit last?
A: That's difficult to put a time on it. Depends on how well you look after it, I would say a long time, ideally you should have 5 suits that you wear in rotation, that's the ideal. Just like wearing a pair of shoes two days running isn't a good idea, it's the same with suits. It's better to hang them in a wardrobe and let them rest for a day.
18 JUL 2011. 13:37
Q: do you have some favourite menswear labels in mind? or menswear designer that you admire?
A: I suppose outside of tailoring brands I really like authentic clothing - Belstaff and traditional shoes like Trickers of Churches. I really like denim, I collect jeans the best ones these days are Japanese Evisu, Sugarcane. I love Issey Miyake how he takes one great idea and continuously re-invents it.
18 JUL 2011. 13:21
Q: Where do you find assistants when you need them?
A: People approach us through colleges, we advise them that it's a long drawn out process, you need a lot of enthusiasm. If we fail to put them off we give them a trial then they get quickly swallowed up into the world of bespoke tailoring. Alice my assistant used to work for a coat maker at Kilgour where I used to work, we got very busy and Alice was taken on, she's now a coat maker in her own right. If you want to learn the trade, you need to be working with someone who's doing it every day. There are never quite enough tailors, there is still a lot of interest in the industry and a lot of young people applying.
18 JUL 2011. 13:18
Q: are there many female tailors in the industry? it seems to be predominantly male, why do you think that is?
A: There happens to be one sitting right here who's about to help in a moment. There are lots of female tailors. Outwardly it's probably is male dominated, but behind the scenes there's always been lots of women involved. Anyone looking for an in to the trade who isn't a man, don't let it put you off.
18 JUL 2011. 13:10
Q: Is there any hand sewing involved? Where do you like to put your label?
A: On a bespoke jacket the label isn't visible, it's inside the right breast pocket. There's an inordinate amount of hand sewing as you're about to see!
18 JUL 2011. 13:09
Q: Do you have any tips on keeping your shears sharp? I once heard that tailors cut with the fabric on one side of the shears, and when cutting papper they cut with it on the other side. Is this an urban myth?
A: Urban myth definitely! You need two pairs of shears. I would say it would be disastrous to cut paper with a pair of fabric shears! I don't ever sharpen my shears, I use them just for fabric. Sharpening is something I wouldn't trust, I've had a pair ruined before so it's best not if you ask me. I tend to lightly oil them by rubbing them on my hair.
18 JUL 2011. 13:08
Q: How would you deal with a sway back (goes in at the waist) on the pattern?
A: It depends I would bring the centre back of the pattern in if he had a straight back and I might let it out at the top of the centre back. If its a round back you have to get that round shape by opening the pattern up so the centre back fits into the nape of the neck.
18 JUL 2011. 13:03
Q: Is there a reason you use tailor's chalk rather than wax?
A: Yes. Wax doesn't stay in, well it does stay in, but with a hot iron it just melts into the cloth. We don't generally use wax. There are coloured chalks in all sorts of colours. If you make a mark on the outside of a garment in the fitting room it will come out.
18 JUL 2011. 13:01
Q: As with all things in design, there are "fashions," and depending on the discipline these change with varying speed. What would you say was the "fashion" of the moment when it comes to tailoring in London, and what kind of speed have you seen it evolve over the course of your career?
A: I would suggest when I first started in Saville Row in the 80's the double breasted was king. Around the time Reservoir Dogs came out everyone wanted to look like a gangster so it was single breasted coats. The double breasted has never come back into fashion. There are double breasted suits around but it's not a major thing. The 90's saw sloppy Armani suits and the Miami Vice thing. I remember making very loose fitting things like that. Then there was a renaissance thing, very sharp and angular, very British suits. Since then probably the influence of Dior - everyone started making everything very skinny. It's beginning to relax slightly now. I'm cutting a shorter jacket than I was 10 years ago with a narrower lapel.
18 JUL 2011. 13:01
Q: How much would it cost for a suit like this one Richie is making?
A: We'd add a bit more as it's a dinner suit, there's more work in it so it's more expensive to make. Also it has satin facing so more expensive again, and the fabric is quite costly. I think it would be around £4,000.
18 JUL 2011. 13:01
Q: Best advice for fashion students studying menswear here in London.
A: I think if you want to get some sort of background in tailoring, try to get an internship to see how the tailoring houses operate. If you're keen you'll find a way.
18 JUL 2011. 12:48
Q: Do you have a favourite colour for lining your garments? perhaps a flash of a bright colour?
A: No. If the customer wants in then of course and it can look nice if it'sdone well. But generally I prefer to match the lining on the inside. I suppose I'm a bit old school in that I thing the clothes should be about the customer and not about themselves. But again what I do is to make clothes to order.
18 JUL 2011. 12:46
Q: Do you have any input on the shirt to be worn with the suit? Do you consider the shirt when designing the suit?Do you make suggestions to the client of the shirt to be worn with the suit and do you have a favourite shirt maker?
A: Absolutely. How much cuff you show at the bottom of the sleeve, British style dictates that you show a little bit of the cuff, American's don't. And how much of the shirt collar will show is a definite consideration. Our ready to wear shirts are made in Italy. Turnbull and Asser in London are great. Some of the old ones on German street all have their little differences. Yes I make suggestions to the client, but it's a judgement whether they want my suggestions or not. There's nothing worse than making a suit for someone who accessorises the suit badly. Socks are important! Your socks should match your suit.
18 JUL 2011. 12:46
Q: Do you ever make suits for yourself?
A: Not enough! I honestly have worn most of my suits out. I'm wearing one of our ready to wear suits today so I'm cheating. I used to all the time, I got to the stage where I had around 25. Some were disasters!
18 JUL 2011. 12:45
Q: How many tailors are involved in creating each unique suit? Is there just one personal or a team?
A: It depends usually there is the cutter, in this case that's me, the coat maker and a trouser maker, then at the very least a finisher, so that's four in total. In that case the coat maker will press it. Sometimes coat makers use a machinist, they're sometimes called 'jumpers' as they jump from one tailor to the next machining the suits.
18 JUL 2011. 12:45
Q: what's the best method of storing fabric like this?
A: Moth ball tends to make it smell but it keeps the moths out, the best way is to wrap it in polythene on a board so it's wrapped round something.
18 JUL 2011. 12:36
Q: what scissors are you using? should I be looking to buy a particular brand?
A: These are Wiss, an American brand, they're not available in this country anymore. The wonderful eBay you'll find some. These were originally my cloth shears, but about 20 years ago I dropped them and they were never quite the same again. They're very good for cutting paper now. The best make is probably Kai - a Japanese brand. They're very good! These shears are German, but they're ancient, about 16 or 17 years old. I'm sorry to say the modern cutting shears aren't quite as good as they used to be. I inherited these from my father.
18 JUL 2011. 12:14
Q: Its fascinating to see you make aesthetic decisions straight onto the pattern. Do you have any element of surprise when you see the suit together for the first time or do you have a strong picture in your minds eye of the changes your making?
A: Great question! I do have a strong idea of how the thing is going to look, cutting patterns over and over again - you develop the experience and you're able to impose that onto your process. You can't cut a style if you don't know a style, that's a little confusing but what I mean is if you know how to cut one style, you know how to adapt it and change it to make another. So yes, famous last words but I do have a strong idea of how this is going to look.
18 JUL 2011. 12:13
Q: What kind of fabrics do you prefer?
A: Ask most tailors and they say a nice 12 ounce worsted, basically we need heat and moisture to make the suits. Most suiting fabrics are worsted, developed 150 years ago. The cloth trade in London there are a few merchants, there are some Italian firms. If I'm asked for showbiz I might look on Berwick Street to find something interesting. Sometimes customers bring their own fabric.
18 JUL 2011. 12:10
Q: How much do a custom bespoke tailoring suit would cost for a customer? how much do a coat cost? how is the cost calculated?
A: We have a base price at Hayward which is £3,300, you calculate that on the cloth and the labour. Obviously if you order very expensive cloth, the price of the suit goes up somewhat. Fabric manufacturers are able to weave the fabrics finer and finer now. It depends on things like rarity of the fabric, that makes a huge difference to the price of a garment.
18 JUL 2011. 12:08
Q: What style of suit are you making?
A: This is a dress suit. A dress suit would never have a pocket flap and traditionally wouldn't have vents. Bobby tends to put his hands in his pockets, and without vents he wouldn't be able to do that so I am cutting in side vents. I'm making the lapel as long as possible so it's elegant. Haywards house style tends to be a square looking lapel at the top so that's what we're going for here, with elegance.
18 JUL 2011. 12:02
Q: how long is the whole process !
A: For this I think this is going to take the best part of three days, I'm going to have a couple of people helping me make it. If I was just working with no disturbances, I could make a coat in two days. Although I'm not as fast as I used to be, unfortunately it isn't like riding a bike, you have to be doing it all the time.
18 JUL 2011. 12:01
Q: how much do you allow for fluctuations in weight gain or loss in a garment
A: We allow actually in the garment extra cloth to the tune of 3 inches. We can't allow anything on the front edge, in the side seam or the back there's usually around 3 inches. Having some allowance in their as they're wearing it, that's down to the customer. If a customer asks to make it a little easier, I do that sometimes.
18 JUL 2011. 11:50
Q: Is it true it is harder to cut a perfect pants than a perfect suit jacket? fitting the crotch area for example. or are they all the same difficulty depending of the customer figure?
A: They're about the same difficulty, cutting ladies clothes are more difficult, but I make more mens clothes than I do ladies. I wouldn't say it's harder to make pants than a jacket. Trousers are quite simple, it's just getting them so they're the right size that's all.
18 JUL 2011. 11:50
Q: How long did you train for?
A: I worked for 4 years with my Dad. Then was put under the training of a coat maker at Norton and Sons, but my technique was all wrong, I'd developed some bad habits early on. I spent another 3 or 4 years with the coat maker. I then worked in another company, I became what's called an undercutter. I started to learn how to cut, having already done a college course at the London College of Fashion. I started working for Hayward quite recently, Doug Hayward died in 2008. The company went into administration, but I was determined to have it so talked some guys into buying it for me, in 2009. I've been there for 2 years now.
18 JUL 2011. 11:40
Q: how is saville row tailoring compared to french couture tailoring? which is one is better?? to learn?
A: Well, I have worked for a couture house in the past, at the time the creative director had just come from Christian Dior and he brought with him several people, and I got to see exactly how that was done. Some of the work was exquisite, but very different, very structured. They back a lot of the panels in organza or other fabrics to achieve certain effects. Generally the pattern is modelled on a dummy, instead of cutting a flat pattern first. The style is developed on the stand. But yes the work that goes into it is amazing. The very best tailoring available in London though is beautiful. Things are made in a totally traditional way. A couture garment is a piece made for the catwalk and then sold from the show, then re made for a client afterwards. Whereas mens tailoring is all about the suit, there aren't as many variables than there are for couture garments. We make the same garments over and over again but just for different figures, different needs.
18 JUL 2011. 11:38
Q: Do you think London/England is the best place to be a tailor? Do you think the quality of tailoring here is better, or even has anything to do with region?
A: I think that in the West End it's still THE place to get bespoke tailoring, world wide. It's famous for it's tailoring trade which doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. There are good tailors in Rome, Naples, Paris. I suppose there isn't the concentration of them as there is in Saville Row. However if you want a suit in a certain style, if you want an Italian suit it's probably best to go to Italy to get it. It's a different culture though, Italian tailoring is less structured but more ornate.
18 JUL 2011. 11:31
Q: Is there anyone you haven't made a suit for yet who you'd like to?
A: That's a difficult one to answer. If anyone wants a suit made... I'm not fussy.
18 JUL 2011. 11:28
Q: Do you always dress this immaculately when you work?
A: Well thank you very much. Yes I do always wear a shirt and tie when I work. You do have to look like a tailor thats for sure.
18 JUL 2011. 11:20
Q: Is there a standard process to the creation of a suit, or does each one vary according to the customer?
A: There are small variations, it depends on the garment ordered. But yes there is a standard process that you learn. But it's pretty much impossible to learn all of the things that you can come across. I'm constantly finding that I get asked for small differences, most are to do with peoples figures. There are certain things that you do, but I still come across things that I haven't before, all the time. Nobody can get in the fitting room with you when you start making a suit for a customer, you have to gain the experience.
18 JUL 2011. 11:19
Q: How many hours would you say it takes to make a tailored suit, on average?
A: It really depends on the customer. The process involves several people working on the same suit, on average to make an entire suit it would take up to 80 hours.
18 JUL 2011. 11:13
Q: who are you most proud to say wears your clothes?
A: Most tailors are very discrete about who they make their clothes for. I wouldn't say pride, I've kind of got over the pride bit. It just becomes what you do, dealing with well known people becomes part and parcel of what you do. I've made clothes for Bill Nighy, Daniel Craig. I've worked on clothes for ladies including the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.