Monday, 13 February 2012
What is Bespoke Tailoring?
Since the appearance of Off the peg clothing in the 20th century a bespoke item generally became synonymous with great quality and elegant dress and fit in your apparel.
Savile Row has for many years done this honourable task and dressed the gentleman of the world in the finest fit and cloth there is. But the wider and more bastardised use of the term has only really recently appeared with the boom of the Internet.
Bespoke: A garment selected and individually picked out and made specifically to instructions and measurements of a customer, or on the advice of an expert or personal shopper.
That is what the term generally means. And there are grey areas. Like "made to the measurements of". What measurements? How many? So if I took a chest, waist, bum and trouser length could that be considered bespoke? In fact it could and it does. By many companies who wish to seem more tailoring then they really are. And that is the problem with the term. And why I believe that the Advertising Standards Authority in Graet Britain should rise to the occasion and be Definate about the kind and amount of work done to be called a bespoke item. They, sadly, see no conflict in the use of the word and feel it does not confuse or deem to lie to the customer.
So the tailor takes 20 hours to make your suit. And let's say he's a cheap tailor at £10 per hour. Probably not the best in the industry at that price but we're being positive here. Maybe he's down on his luck. So, at £10 per hour and the suit, which he makes by himself, with no help, in 20 hours.
Do the math. A cheap tailor working for 20 hours for a £199 suit. Really? Even if the company made a profit, which they couldn't do as they would lose £1 for every suit they did at that price, then that tailor could make only 2 1/2 suits per week if he was working 10 hour shifts every day. It doesn't add up. There has to be a profit in every item sold. So if the price of the suit is £199 then they have to cover these things in that price even before profit:
1. Cost of fabric (can be anything depending on quality from £6-£100 per metre. 4 metres will cover a 2 piece suit making.
2. Cost of labour (as mentioned before can range from £10-£30)
3. Cost of advertising (all these suits must cover a basic cost of the adverts put in the papers and I've seen them in there so know it must be a real cost)
4. Cost of admin (be that office staff, your own wages if you are not the sole worker but the manager of an establishment)
5. Rent (of office space or shop front)
6. Bills, etc....
So take away all those things from the price of £199 and you aren't left with a huge amount but you better believ there is a profit somewhere in that suit. I doubt any business would count it as an acceptable loss item.
But I don't think it is. I can't say for sure but think its just a loose use of the word Bespoke.