A Savile Row suit is the best a man can get, but for the sartorially-minded living outside the UK, owning one can seem like a distant dream. However, did you know that many of The Row’s famed institutions travel the globe to visit their customers?
In fact, for Henry Poole, who have been taking their swatches and tape measures over to the US since the 1950s, international clients account for 70% of their business. Though America is still their biggest market, today they also make regular visits to Asia and the rest of Europe, specifically Germany, France, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
While these appointments take place far from the Georgian Mayfair buildings, you’re guaranteed the same first-class service and, most importantly, that your suit will still be cut and made on Savile Row. Some tailors, such as Dege & Skinner, whose European travel schedule includes Scotland, France, and Switzerland, even ensure that returning customers are met by the same cutter every time they meet with them, no matter where in the world that happens.
William Skinner, Managing Director of Dege & Skinner, explains what to expect from a trunk show appointment, “We normally take a suite in a hotel and take as many fabric samples as suitcases will allow – these are displayed around the suite along with clothing samples and accessories. We recreate the Savile Row experience as much as we can.”
Though the process remains exactly the same for clients at home and abroad, a long-distance relationship can mean a longer wait for the final product. Simon Cundey, Managing Director of Henry Poole, explains the process:
“You choose the suit, go through the suit design with us, and then about three weeks later on you’d be ready for your first fitting. Then about two weeks after that, a second fitting, and two weeks after that, a final fitting and ‘the blessing’ as we call it.”
The entire process usually takes around two months for customers able to visit them in London, though some international customers are willing to wait up to as much as a year before receiving their suit in order to arrange fittings. They aim to accommodate every time frame and travel schedule though, explains Cundey:
“Most of the customers at one point will come and see us on their trip,” he says, though some choose to wait until Henry Poole make a return visit to their country for follow up fittings.
You don’t have to be a regular client to make an appointment during their overseas tours though. Both Henry Poole and Dege & Skinner welcome first-time customers to book in with their cutters. Increasingly they’re finding more new business from people researching them online as tour dates are listed on their websites, as well as being sent out to their existing mailing list.
While it’s reassuring to know that world-renowned tailoring may not be as far away as you think, there’s still something to say for visiting the heart of it all. Skinner says, “I will always recommend a customer to visit our store in Savile Row – they will then experience the wealth of samples we can show them. Coupled with this we will give them a tour round our workshop and cutting room where they will get to meet the people who are involved in making their suit.”
Upcoming visits for Henry Poole:
Luxembourg: October 5th & 6th 2017
Germany: November 29th & 30th
Writer: Olivia Pinnock
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