At Dugdale Bros, we love to see long-standing textiles and tailoring traditions being passed on through the generations. Our own story is just one chapter within Huddersfield’s illustrious cloth-making history, so it’s inspiring to see young, talented individuals from the area continuing to drive this narrative forward.
The next sartorial professional to take part in our Q&A is Mike Deans – undercutter at Savile Row’s Gieves and Hawkes – who recently completed a suiting project using our Navy Cavalry Twill cloth.
1. What cloth did you choose?
I chose the 15/16oz Navy Cavalry Twill (ref:4216)
2. What was the project?
Excitingly, I am making myself a bespoke suit. I have drafted the pattern and I will also be making it to the same standards that we expect of all garments at Gieves & Hawkes. It will be used to display my skills in aid of completing my cutting apprenticeship.
3. Why did you choose this specific cloth?
It’s a cloth I am familiar with. I know that it suits the way we construct suits here on Savile Row and will produce a clean and sharp looking garment come the end of the process.
4. Where did your tailoring journey begin?
My tailoring journey started by working front of house on Savile Row. Whilst in that role I was driven by a thirst for knowledge and the idea of acquiring mastery in a skill, that drove me to seek out a cutting apprenticeship.
5. Where did you study?
Tailoring was something that I had never studied, at least not in an academic capacity.
I was working front of house at a tailors called Cad & The Dandy and would conduct the initial consultation, as well as measuring the customer and fitting the garments. This allowed me to gain a wealth of knowledge that would become useful once I moved into the cutting room at Gieves & Hawkes.
10. What is your favourite part of the job?
The variety is what I love. Being able to interact with the customer, the psychology that goes with making that person comfortable and bringing their ideas to life.
I enjoy the art of drafting the pattern from the measurements and observations. Ultimately the pattern is just the starting place but there is a lot of enjoyment in its creation.
11. Which of your pieces are you most proud of?
In the grand scheme of things I am still in the early stages of my tailoring career but one of the most rewarding was to cut and make a suit for a relative to wear on his wedding day. I cut, fitted and recut the suit before constructing it as well. Being a cutter I was helped across the finish line by Vivien Wang and Robert Parkin, who were working as coat makers here at Gieves.
12. How important are ethics and sustainability to you?
It’s a pertinent issue with the struggles we will face in the future and the clothing industry has been a major culprit in creating the excesses that are such a problem.
Savile Row has been practicing ethical and sustainable garment production since its inception as the niche industry we know today. We make garments to order, knowing they will be worn. To reduce waste we order the exact cloth we need for that garment and this cloth is more often than not woven and finished within the UK.
13. Describe your style of tailoring in three words?
Clean, comfortable and functional.
14. What is the Gieves & Hawkes house style?
At Gieves we like to work with customers on a one to one basis, with function being the driving factor in designing the garment.
If you are designing a garment for the functions of that particular customer’s lifestyle and body, you will naturally create a garment that is unique and what someone would consider as truly bespoke.
Over recent years, we have been using lighter weight canvasses, removing more padding from the shoulders and concentrating on making suits that are supremely comfortable whilst retaining the longevity that customers expect.
15. What one piece of advice would you give to anyone wanting to start out in tailoring?
The most important advice I can give is to concentrate on quality over speed in your work. When you are learning you have the luxury of spending the time to hone your skills and the speed will come through repetition.
16. What do you hope to have achieved in 10 years’ time?
Right now my focus is on making valuable and productive use of my time as an apprentice and learning from those skilled around me. There is no rush in this game.
17. If you could describe Huddersfield’s reputation on the global cloth map in one word, what would that word be?