I would like to introduce myself to you. I am a practical tailor who learnt the trade with the Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard. I started there straight from school in the year 1990, the first four years as an apprentice coat maker, then five years learning to cut and fit. To my knowledge there has been no one else who has gone through this vigorous training. People have been taught to make coats and others have learnt to cut but it is rare to have completed both . I was very pleased in 1995 when Mr Halsey the Managing Director at that time invited me to join the cutting room. This year (2013) I have been running my own business for 14 years and been in the tailoring trade for 23 years. I have followed in my fathers footsteps in the way I have learnt my craft, he joined Anderson’s when he was 15 years old and was taught his sewing and cutting skills in the traditional way. Today, he is the current Managing Director of A & S and for me the king Pin of the firm. Please remember that any tailoring firm is only as good as their cutters and tailors that make the suit.
The above picture is of me starting out on my tailoring journey in 1990 as a coat maker apprentice at Anderson and Sheppard. You will note that I have already adopted the classic position of sitting on the board whilst working. This picture was taken by a trade magazine and was my first experience of appearing in print.
This is a picture of me in one of the fitting rooms at the original Anderson and Sheppard premises at 30 Savile Row. I was trying on The Prince of Wales, Norfolk jacket. My father asked me to try on the jacket as I had a similar slim figure to the Prince at that time. My father just wanted to make sure it came up to his measurements. I was 21 years old at the time and I was the under cutter to Mr. Pitt.
At the age of 24 I decided to start my own tailoring business. I took a sitting within James and James, 11 Old Burlington Street. I spent 4 years in these fabulous old premises, and appearing in the Financial Times and the Independent newspapers with glowing reviews, allowed me to firmly establish my business. I also started my business trips to New York and I still have many of my clients from those first trips, whom I now count as friends.
Due to the re development of Savile Row I moved from 11 Old Burlington Street, and in 2003 decided to move to 13 New Burlington Street, and shared the premises with Denman and Goddard.
My business continued to grow and in Jan 2009 I was given the chance to move back to The Row, and it was an offer that I could not refuse. After all the years it felt like I had returned home. I currently work at 13 Savile Row which has afforded me more opportunity to attend to my clients needs.
The art of soft tailoring has stood the test of time and is a style reminiscent of the golden age of mens clothing. My soft tailored hand crafted suit will be lighter in weight to wear, much more comfortable and individually stylish In order to achieve this unique style there are a number of very different elements in the making.
When I create my canvas, unlike the standard tailoring process, I like to have as little hair cloth(stiffener across the chest) as possible. By not using a big piece of hair cloth, much more skilled craftsmanship is need to create the shape in the chest, but the result is so worthwhile as it results in lightness and extra comfort in the jacket. My canvas is hand padded and not machine stitched as is common with many other tailors.
Unlike standard jackets, these are sewn in by hand and I do not use shoulder pads. Depending on the client, I can use the smallest amount of wadding, i.e. 1/8 or 5/8 inch. I can make a straight or natural round shoulder line, again on the clients request, but always very soft and lightweight for ease of movement. I do not like to see the shoulder seam from the front view, so with a smaller back neck ,the angle created is a longer line, which then enables me to sew in more fullness(length) which I believe to be more comfortable. The wider shoulder and drape make the illusion of a smaller waist.
Arm Hole and Sleeves
All are sewn in by hand and once again this allows more fullness to be sewn into the sleeves than a sleeve that has been machine stitched. This in turn is hand sewn into a high and comfortable arm hole. Great care is taken to get the right runs and shapes to match between sleeve and arm hole for perfection, thereby creating a stylish drape at front and back for comfort and style. My high arm hole ensures that the collar stays anchored to the neck. This ensures that there is no unsightly gap between collar and neck.
Picking a bespoke tailor to suit yourself is not as easy as it might seem, (pardon the pun) most tailors in the Row have different house styles. My coat style prefers a softer front, soft natural shoulder and higher cut arm hole, with the sleeves still being sewn in by hand. The coats are all hand cut by myself, then hand crafted by skilled individual tailors, as are the trousers and vests, right here in Savile Row.
I truly believe that I am one of an exclusive group of Savile Row Tailors who are still making traditional Savile Row bespoke clothes, here in London. It is very rare to find a proprietor who has been through their apprenticeship as I have, which gives me a great advantage.
I oversee my suits from start to finish. After taking measurements I then cut the paper pattern exclusively for every one of my clients before the clothes are made by my craftsmen tailors. As I am a practical tailor I know both how to make and cut suits. I have trained my sewing tailors to produce garments in the way that, over the years I have come to demand. This year I have been in the tailoring trade for 23 years, starting straight from school at the age of 16 and I have run my own company for the past 14 years. It’s hard for me to believe that the time has gone by so quickly. I feel lucky to continue to make my living in the trade that I enjoy so much.
As I have a shop in Savile Row and I do not need to travel around every day to meet my clients. This allows me more time to concentrate on the art of cutting and fitting and to continue with my business attending to my clients sartorial requirements. Therefore, my suits are completed quicker, for example, a new client’s suit would take around 6-9 weeks, however, with existing clients who may need fewer fittings, around 4-6 weeks depending on time of year. I can also take on ’skiffle’s’ (tailoring slang for a clothes to be made more urgently) depending on how much work I have in progress at the time.
As with my existing clients I look forward to building lasting relationships with new clients in the Savile Row Showroom. I feel in the next 5 or so years Savile Row will change a great deal, with many Master Tailors retiring and new so called ’Master Tailors’opening up selling made to measure suits produced in factories overseas with no training or feeling for craft or tradition. These so called Savile Row tailors do not have any formal training in cutting or sewing which is in my view denotes the very essence of British handcrafted bespoke tailoring.
I use only the very finest cloths available from a vast selection of the best woollen houses and the highest quality trimmings, (as you may be aware most ’travelling tailors’ that use the famous tailoring address are locked into selling fabric from only that one cloth house).
I am so happy to have my own showroom in Savile Row. I share my premises with another tailor and cut all my paper patterns myself so my overheads are much lower and these savings are passed on to the customer. This allows my price to be around 20% lower than larger houses.
If you are passing and would like to meet me and see some of my work please feel free to call in. If you can contact me beforehand for appointment it would be appreciated. However, if you find yourself outside my door please pop in and ask for me in person. Thank you for taking the time to read my story so far. I hope this has been some help to you and I will leave you my details if you wish to get in contact. Steven Hitchcock.
Why Choose Steven?
- I have been in the Savile Row bespoke tailoring trade for over 20 years.
- I served a full apprenticeship at Anderson and Sheppard where I was comprehensibly taught the soft tailoring style.
- My soft tailoring creates soft shoulders, high arm armholes, unrivaled comfort and a unique look for every individual client.
- I am not merely ‘based’ in Savile Row. My shop is in Savile Row and that is where I work every day in order to provide the best service to my clients.
- I personally measure all my clients and cut all the paper patterns and suits.
- I am an independent friendly and approachable Genuine Savile Row Tailor.
- All of my coat makers are the very finest Savile Row trained you will find and have to meet my exacting standards. My suits are hand crafted in England in the true bespoke Savile Row tradition.
- My work has been complimented in a raft of magazines and by my clients.