Savile Row Bespoke Association

Rodica Prato

Angry at the misuse of the word “bespoke,” established tailors seek to define the term once and for all.

John Hitchcock of Savile Row’s Anderson & Sheppard scoffs at the blurring line between made-to-measure and bespoke. “A salesperson can learn to take measurements in a single day. It takes five years to train as a tailor, another five to become a cutter—that’s longer than it takes to become a doctor.” So now, perhaps a little belatedly, real London tailors are fighting back. Founded in 2004, the Savile Row Bespoke Association aims to do for high-end menswear what the Appellation d’origine contrôlée system has achieved for wine: Lay down some laws. To be considered bespoke, a suit must start with an individual pattern created by a master cutter, who will also superintend all production; the tailors will be based in England; and all work will be done by hand and require a minimum of 50 hours. The garments resulting from this time-honored process—and only those—will be worthy of bearing the label Savile Row Bespoke.

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