In case you weren’t aware of it, I also make bespoke clothing for women.
This young lady is the daughter of a Dutch client of mine. She came over to visit her mum and complained of having trouble finding trousers that fit properly. In her own words: “I studied in America for a year, and now my behind is big.”
[EDIT: I just received an email from a reader who was upset about the above remark regarding culture and diet. Please know that I mean no insult, offence or judgement in any way. They were her words and I only included them in this story because I found it an amusing thing for her to say about herself.]
I’m not about to get into a discussion about diet and/or culture, but I can well imagine that she isn’t satisfied with the choices available to her in the RTW industry. If trousers need to fit around the hips while the waist is small (as you can see, she has a lovely figure) then the waistband will always be loose around the waist.
This is the great benefit of working with a tailor. Not only can you get the design and cloth and style that you like, you can also have the cut compliment your figure. You can hide or obscure, or emphasize, all depending on the look you are after.
A small detail I worked in was a hidden pocket. She’s used to carrying her phone in her pocket, but I felt it would be better not to have pockets since that would draw attention to the hips, which is exactly what she wanted to avoid. So I made a pocket in the waistband. It opens from the top between the waistband and the waistband lining, and the pocket bag hides behind the pleat so there is no bulge on the side of the hips. Clever, eh?
The lovely Charlotte enjoying a well-deserved break and a nice cappuccino. Did I mention I make the best suits coffee in Europe?
Every now and again I receive an email from a (not necessarily) young appassionado, asking if I can take them on as an apprentice.
Usually, these folks are very serious and tell me they would go to any length to find a tailor to teach them. But I can’t very well justify having someone come over from another continent in hopes of learning a trade. It’s a very long process, and my biggest worry is that someone will last a few months, and then leave again.
That would mean that they have gotten disillusioned, and that’s a pity. It also means that I have spent time training someone, which is fine to me, but I find it a waste of time if they leave before they’ve actually learned something solid.
But Charlotte is spending some time off from her historical clothing studies at the University in Bristol, so she was around anyway, therefore I had no problem in letting her come over and get steeped in some old-school tailoring mentality. She’s a fun and bright young lady, and I seriously hope that she’ll continue on to become a tailor. I’m trying my best to infuse her with that ol’ passion for good togs.
- Usted elige la tela, el estilo y la forma de una prenda personal, única y elegante. Absolutamente nadie tendrá la misma, y no hay nada más exclusivo en el mundo
- Usted experimentará el lujo de la atención individual de un artesano que hará verse y sentirse increible.
- Usted puede escoger, a su conveniencia, la reunión en su casa, o en mi taller en Salobreña, o por Damaris Novios en Fuengirola… Vestirse nunca ha sido más fácil!
- Usted puede tener una prenda de vestir hecha a mano, de alta calidad, confeccionada con métodos tradicionales, como siempre se ha hecho. ¿Qué tal un traje, vestido, o blusa que no pase de moda?
- Usted recibirá mi garantía personal de satisfacción
- Usted me llama al 656 321 321 o me manda un correo electronico a firstname.lastname@example.org, y podemos hablar de sus deseos y hacer una cita.
- Me puede encontrar en uno de los siguientes lugares: Damaris Novias en Fuengirola, su casa o oficina, o en mi taller en Salobreña
Allí usted puede elegir una tela de una gran colección de muestras.
Llego al trabajo.
- Durante dos a tres pruebas, voy a terminar sus ropas. En estas pruebas, los cambios en el estilo y la forma pueden ser realizados en función de sus deseos.
- Usted tendra un elemento único y lujoso de la ropa. Así de simple.
Llame ahora para obtener más información: 656 321 321
For the last twelve years I’ve been working as a bespoke tailor. Bespoke is an old English word which means: Made exclusively for you, the way you want it, to your sizes. It stems from the time when tailors would stock cloth on the premises. When a customer ordered a suit, he would select a length of cloth which would be marked with his name. From that moment, the cloth was ‘spoken for’, which evolved into the term ‘bespoke’.
Every garment is absolutely unique. From the choice of cloth, to taking measurements, the style and silhouette you desire, right down to the choice of lining and finishing: everything is about making you look and feel amazing.
So why go to a tailor?
Because where else do you get 100% of individual attention and service?
You can go to the best restaurant and pay a fortune, but the next customer will eat the same food. You can buy a 50.000 Euro Mercedes, but you and I both know that there are many many of those on the road. You can buy Zegna, Armani, Yves-Saint-Laurent, but all of those have a factory and you will not be the only one wearing that suit or dress.
A bespoke tailor works for you, just for you, and he dedicates his time to make you something truly unique and exclusive.
I’ve made all kinds of clothes over the years, from suits, to shirts, dresses, blouses, trousers. I take pride in giving my customers the absolute best there is, and I never stop until we are both satisfied with the result.
There are three points around which my work focuses: comfort, style, and fit. It usually takes three to four fittings to get things right. These fittings can be done in various locations: Damaris Novias&Novios in Fuengirola; in my workshop in Salobreña, or at your home, should you choose to have the best in personal service.
I work with the best materials available. Aside from my vast stock of fabrics, I also have literally thousands of cloths for you to choose from in sample books. These cloths are some of the best in the world: Scabal, Dormeuil, Acorn, and much much more.
If you’d like to know more about the way I work, please call me at 656 321 321 or email me at email@example.com.
My first ever client, yonks ago, ordered a few shirts a while back. It just so happens he lives in the neighbourhood nowadays, and he orders things from time to time. This shirt is made from cloth by Acorn. They make some of the best shirting cloth in the world. This one is a 2-ply egyptian cotton, and it’s just amazing how this material behaves. I have to admit, it takes a few times of washing before it really starts to live, but then, it’s just miraculous. For some reason, at first it seems to be hard to iron it without wrinkles, but once it’s been washed two or three times, it becomes silky and smooth and so very luscious. It’s got an ever so subtle sheen to it, almost as if it’s silken but it’s not, it’s simply 100 % cotton.
The pick-stitching is done by hand, as are the buttonholes. A fairly labour-intensive job, but this particular client has been my patron for many years so I went a bit further on this one. That is what people seek in tailor-made, designer clothes. Perfection, elegance, and style. They should not expect any less than the best, and designers should always try their best to create even more beautiful pieces.
A lovely jacket in silk velveteen from one of my english suppliers.
Photoshop, anyone? Yes, I’ve tweaked the colours a bit because this is about the most difficult cloth to shoot. I mean, it’s already difficult to take a good photo of a ‘normal’ cloth, but this is just impossible. My uncle Bert, who is a professional photographer, made the photo of the coat a few posts down, and it’s easy to see why he gets paid the way he does. Wish I had his knack for lighting and stuff. If he’d be here right now (instead of being frozen over in Holland) he’d make minced meat out of this little piece of work.
The backing of the velvet is cotton, and the actual pile is pure silk. I don’t know where the maker gets his stuff, but it’s some of the most smooth, and even, kind of velvet I’ve ever seen. It reflects light in a terrific way, it makes it look like it’s changeant, but it’s actually just one solid colour. Truly stupendous and amazing, but very difficult to tailor. It takes about all of a split second to completely destroy it with an iron, so it took me some sweat to get it right. I think the end-result is quite nice though.
Oh, by the way, I’ve been giving some thought lately to what this blog is actually supposed to be about, and I have some ideas about it. Things are going to change. Things are going to become a whole lot more fun, but more about that soon.
1: We get amazing sunrises here.
2: Sometimes, aliens come to help make them.
No, seriously. I am not kidding. A few days ago I read an article on a dutch news-site (http://www.nu.nl/wetenschap/2175534/merkkleding-maakt-vrouwen-slimmer.html) (in case you understand dutch) which reported on a scientific study that has recently been performed in The Netherlands. In this research, a group of women was given a G-Star jacket to wear, and were then asked to complete a series of tests to establish how well they performed from an intellectual point of view. Half of the subjects were given jackets where the label had been carefully removed, and were told that it was a cheap piece of garb from the local market, the other half wore a G-Star jacket. Interestingly enough, it was found that those women wearing the branded jacket, scored sigificantly higher on tests involving linguistics, mathematics, and, my favourite one: self-confidence! (I have to admit: I usually wear pretty casual clothes here in this dusty town, but whenever I do wear a suit, I feel soooo much more…. I don’t know…. Powerful? Ballsy? Something. In fact, on those rare occasions that I do dress up, I often happen to run into an acquaintance or friend and sell a suit or shirt, without even trying to. Magic? Oooooh… electricity comes from other planets…)
I don’t really care much for statistics, but hey, it’s science, so it’s got to be true, right?
So, here is how to beat the crisis, depression, low self-esteem and being bullied by your wife/child/dog/filling station attendant or whatever: Buy a damn fine piece of clothing, put it on, and “comete la calle”. That’s spanish, and it means something like: go kick ass.
Of course, I’m not a brand. I’m Martin. Still, I think your best option is to buy a suit from me, but that’s just because I really like my work, severely so.
Buy whatever. Look sharp. Feel good. And go be remarkable.
[EDIT: I found the original title: "Quotes from the master: A good tailor has any cutter in his pocket" a little bit too heavy, so I changed it. Small edits in the text below as well.]
Ok, I hope the title of this post causes some curiosity. As I’ve said before, my teacher mr Dahoe, used to speak at great length about all kinds of clothing-related topics. His favourite expression was always: People underestimate this work. And it’s true: in a general sense, people have no idea what it takes to make a jacket, or a shirt, or a pair of trousers.
First, you take measurements on a person. This is a three-dimensional, living and moving body. The measurements are a very rudimentary distillation of some of the aspects of this person.
Then, you draft a pattern based on those measurements. That very pattern is a two-dimensional thing, it’s just lines and curves on a piece of paper. The tricky bit is doing it in such a way, that once all the seams are closed, this becomes a well-fitting, three dimensional garment that is adapted to the client. So essentially, you translate three dimensions into two, and then translate that, back into three dimensions. The first half of the process is mostly the part of the cutter, the second, putting it together, is then the tailor’s job.
One of the things mr Dahoe used to say was: “A good tailor has any cutter in his pocket.” What he meant by that, was that a tailor, when making up the cut fabric, needs to apply many tricks and knacks. He may be less experienced than the cutter who supplied him with the cut cloth, but no matter how good the cutter is, in the end it is the tailor who applies the art when it comes to making. He is the one who actually needs to assess how much the cloth needs to be eased in, or stretched. He may decide to alter the line of a seam ever so slightly, based on his judgement. With his iron he actually makes the cut into a garment, and in many ways therefore, has the final say. And if he’s wrong, he can very easily mess up or destroy a wonderful cut. Obviously he can’t go and change the cut or the design, because these were created by the cutter, according to the clients’ wishes.
This is the fun part for me. Since I’m a cut&make tailor, I do everything myself, from cutting through fitting to stitching and pressing. It would be great to have a few tailors working for me and turn out 200 suits a year, but that’s not reality.
I guess I can say I have myself in my pocket. Makes me feel a trifle schizofrenic at times. But seriously, I often find that when making up a garment, I will want to change what I had previously designed, so mr. Dahoe’s axiom does hold true.
The empire of my forebears. The text reads: Specialty: Overcoats and fabrics
Sometime in the second half of the 19th century, a young man by the name of Heinrich Stall, loaded a few spools of tapestry yarn onto a wheelbarrow and set out from Germany, on foot, to The Netherlands. After some lengthy trekking and a good deal of hardship, he arrived in Amsterdam.
There he got married, and ended up running a rather succesful business, buying and selling yarn. Over the years, and a few generations later, it had evolved into what looks like a fairly big clothing enterprise, considering the image above was created at the beginning of the 20th century. I found the image on a postcard when I was emptying my fathers’ house after he passed away a few years ago, and I recently came across it again, so I thought it would be a nice little background story.