For the latest piece in our ‘Get behind the suit’ series we interviewed Mike Deans, the young bespoke cutter who recently made the move off of his Savile Row training ground to head up operations at Oliver Brown.
Tell us more about your career, Mike.
I’ve always been fascinated by style. For me dressing is a form of creative expression. After working in a variety of jobs, in industries as diverse as engineering, music and pharmaceuticals, I landed myself a job managing a small menswear boutique. At the time I was very much into the Mod subculture and as I dug deeper into the history of the early relaxed Ivy League influences, the sharp suits and button down shirts, I started to discover a real passion for tailoring that I wanted to explore.
I took my first steps into the Savile Row world working as a fitter at Cad & The Dandy. This was a great opportunity to explore the relationship between customer and tailor and I was lucky to have people around me that appreciated my enthusiasm for the craft. I started to learn some cutting from them in my free time but I knew that if I really wanted to master the craft I would need to find an apprenticeship.
Motivation, persistence and a rather large dusting of luck landed me a cutting apprenticeship at Gieves & Hawkes, working under Senior Cutter Nina Penlington. It was such an incredible team to learn from; very free with their knowledge, progressive with their approach to tailoring and a real focus on high quality craftsmanship.
Dugdale Bros has always been a company that creates high quality and hardy British cloth. But suits are also about the story – the blood sweat and tears that goes into making them.
When I first joined the industry I came to Dugdale Bros in Huddersfield to learn more about the cloth and was really inspired by the passion shown by the workers in the mills, which mirrored the passion I had for my own craft. As I got to know more about the processes and production, I gained even more appreciation for what goes into cloth making. That appreciation for story and craft is something I hope to be able to pass onto my customers.
Earlier in the year I finished making a navy suit for myself, something I believe should be a staple in every wardrobe. My old navy suit had worn out and I wanted something that would stand up to the rigours of daily wear, sculpt beautifully and allow the shape to do the talking. I was aiming for understated elegance. Dugdale’s navy Cavalry Twill leant itself to that task perfectly.
Other bunches that I enjoy working with are the New Fine Worsteds bunch, Tropicalair, Natural Elements Linens and the Formalwear bunch.
What’s next for you?
I had a great time with Gieves but recently left to head up the team over at Oliver Brown in Sloane Square. The bespoke department at the company is still very young but we are situated in an unique position and I think there is an opportunity to create our own story. It’s rare that you get such an opportunity to start to form a company’s heritage from its infancy and I feel privileged to have been entrusted with that.
What’s next for the suit?
We do a lot of relaxed and more casual garments over at Oliver Brown. I am hoping to expand on that with the current customer base, whilst also introducing others to what we do. The suit is certainly not dead, it’s merely evolving and in the industry we have to understand that. 2020 was a difficult time for the tailoring trade and people in general. My hope is that we can have a small part in injecting some positivity and excitement back into people’s lives over the coming year.
Photography by Liz McAuley
Shop the look:
Mike wears a two piece navy suit with notch lapel made using Dugdale Bros 15/16oz Navy Cavalry Twill (4216)