Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is tailoring a dying craft, in Durban..?

I'm a bit flummoxed right now because I don't know where to begin with this post. There is just so much to write about. What I want to intimate though is something that has been a long time coming especially considering that I've experienced it since my childhood.

Tailoring. For me this aspect of men's style and fashion is of utmost importance because it is a process that involves and engages the prospective wearer from start to finish. From conceptualisation to the final product nothing is more involving and requires special attention like the tailoring of a suit, made to measure or bespoke.

This, is a rant. My tailor is the nephew of the original owner of the tailors I was introduced to by my dad. Over the years however I never really was into custom clothing as almost everything I bought off the rack was 'perfect'. However since being bitten by the style bug I have had no choice but to have some of my clothes tailored, altered and deconstructed because of the 'fit' rule.

Nephew, has not lived up to his uncle's standards. His work needs a lot of guidance, both in theory and in practice and he is not really open to suggestion. Yes, he's dogmatic like that. I mean one time I was in there to pick up an item of mine and there was an Indian lady with her teenage son, there to pick up a pair of pants. The kid not happy with the width of his bottom wanted his bottom a lot more wider. I was incredulous. The kid wanted to have his pants looking like Bell-bottoms. And, he, nephew, agreed to widen them a little bit more. In my book this is one instance where he was supposed to give some advice and guide the young buck. Which proves to me that he is not well versed in men's tailoring.

A few of my alterations have been totally messed up by him. One time I took two pairs of pants for reduction at the waist and the length. The waists were somewhat ok, but the lengths were like not done at all and what exacerbated things was that the turn ups had been taken out after I had specifically told him to leave them be. There were jeans I took to him for alterations and they all came back fitting funny. A reduction on the waist ended feeling like skinny jeans, a reduction in the taper and waist just totally sucked the life out of me and some other mishaps that needed attention but didn't get it.

Therefore based on these reaons and myriad others I am no longer going to be a customer at this particular tailor but will be experimenting with two others. One was recommended to me by a freind of mine, the other I've always walked past and have at times been intrigued by it. They are Soli Omar Tailors and NEW York Tailors respectively. After reading this article about the latter tailors I have been motivated to go out to them and experiement with one item of clothing that needs altering and from that result I will then decide to stay or go else where. In fact I will take two items to both the above mentioned tailors and see who does the precise job.

The one thing I picked up from the article is that tailoring, made to measure and bespoke clothing for men is a dying craft in Durban. Especially since off the rack clothing seems to be more prominent and always readily available. I for one have learnt that attention to fit and detail is the difference between a well dressed man and well...the ordinary bloke. It's not a resolution for the new year but rather an alternate route that I hope to stay on for as long as I'm satisfied and happy.

I still find it odd though that a suit jacket with no vents cannot be aletred, not even to allow for even a middle vent..?

Oh, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge my inspiration for this post. An online acquaintance of mine from Made to Measure and his best visual on a tailored and made to measure to suit.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.


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Lewis Fritz said...

Nice information you shared.. Tailored suit or Mens Made to Measurement is most important part to getting your suits to look the way you want it..! Thank you for sharing the post with us...