Sunday, September 27, 2009


Miss Bowtie

Workshop Visit - The Bespoke Tailor

Tailors abound, but good ones are few, and those who do bespoke tailoring are rarer still. It use to be that bespoke tailoring was the norm, when one could speak to their tailor and give order - to bespeak - for a garment to be made from scratch, according to their wishes, for them and only them.

Let us take a look at the workroom of a local tailor who is keeping bespoke alive and well in Vancouver:

A backdrop of natural light, exposed brick and wood highlights the expansive worktable, five sewing machines, two steam presses, bolts of fabric, countless spools of thread, tailor's forms and all the other tools necessary to a tailor's art.

Customer-tailor communication is vital for the tailor to deliver what the customer seeks. All aspects of a garment's design are open for discussion. Ideas take shape. Sketches turn into paper patterns.

In the making of a suit jacket, an initial fitting is carried out with a cotton garment cut to a customer's pattern. Any changes in fit and silhouette are made to the paper patterns as needed. Only then is the cloth for the actual suit cut.

More fittings follow, changes are made on the actual jacket, and the paper patterns are updated as needed. Countless hand stitches later we arrive at the embodiment of what the customer asked for. On this example, the pattern is matched from collar, down through the lapel, across the chest and through the sleeve.

Of note:

* A suit takes around 40 hours to make. All aspects of making a suit are done in-house, the majority of which are accomplished by hand.

* Suits, jackets, pants, shirts and overcoats lend themselves to bespoke.

* Clients are encouraged to be discerning, know what they want, and ask for what they want.

* This particular tailor has yet to make a black suit.

My thanks goes out to David Wilkes of David Wilkes Bespoke for sharing his time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What You Make of It

Clothes are what you make of it. Sure there is the saying, "Clothes make the man", but that only gets you so far. It is the person who brings the inspiration, flair and quirk to what they wear, and more importantly, how they wear it.

Case in point, artist Brent Ray Fraser used donated suit jackets to create art: canvas imprints (on rack) and mounted works (on wall).


Photo: Byron Dauncey
I was out taking pictures and noticed someone else doing the same. Good to see street style photographers out in Vancouver.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Beginnings

Around the Block


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Belt as Bow

Saturday, 3:01 p.m.

Made-to-Measure Event: first things first, wine and cheese; over 450 combined fabrics for coats, suits, shirts and ties; national representative on hand; discussions of fit and silhouette; and 6-8 weeks for delivery - all for that perfect piece tailored to you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sunday, 1:30 p.m.

Visual art installation: on-site tailor and photographer; racks and racks of clothes; hair and make-up; general public invited to play role of designer, stylist and model; and a $500 art grant up for grabs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Memory Lane

Scrapbooks on display in celebration of 35 years as a standalone store in the retail clothing trade. Newspaper clippings, event invitations, thank-you notes from customers, images of the day's leading fashion - all captured in minute detail and worthy of perusal.

Everyday Luxury

It use to be that cashmere was just for sweaters, but over time the luxurious fibre found its way into a variety of clothing and accessories. There are the usual suspects, namely scarves, gloves and coats. But how about cashmere socks or corduroy fabric? No need to stop there. I saw a cashmere beanie not long ago, and now laces for boots! What is next? I put my vote in for the cashmere handkerchief.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Metallic Groove

Wednesday, 7:35 p.m.

A fall men's catalogue launch: three buyers from head office on the podium; 15 looks modelled by sales associates walking amongst attendees; wine and hors d'oeuvres; and prizes to end the evening.


Retirement for some - boots that is - may mean a landfill, neighborhood vintage store or local non-profit, and yet for others greener pastures are on the horizon. No longer a slave to tasks or getting from one place to another, there is suddenly time to enjoy the sun shining down, the breeze in the air, the greenery around and maybe a flower in bloom.