Within the world of bespoked suits, there is only one place to get one tailored: Savile Row in London.
But don’t take my word for it.
In the words of Kanye West, “Dressed smart like a London bloke. Before he speaks his suit bespoke.”
The top tailors have set up shop on Savile Row for some two centuries serving the rich and famous, from kings to Kanye West.
But the owners of the shops have always been men.
British-Ghanaian designer Ozvald Boateng became the first black man on Savile Row in 1994.
And today, finally a woman has her name above the door.
That name is Kathryn Sargent.
“The first time I walked down the Row I was just so amazed by all the houses and the beautiful garments in the window. How do you make those garments? I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Sargent.
That first walk was 20 years ago.
Since then, she’s paid her dues, rising up the ranks at famed Savile Row tailor, Gieves & Hawkes.
“When I joined Gieves & Hawkes there were very few women in the workrooms,” she said. “You were either a tailor or a cutter within the department. And I was really drawn towards the cutting side, cutting patterns and sort of executing the suit.”
In 2009, she became the first female head cutter on the Row. Over the years she’s worked for celebrities like soccer star David Beckham.
“I’ve even made a coronation uniform for a king,” Sargent said.
I know what you’re thinking: David Beckham — a king! How much do these suits cost?
“We would start at say $5,000 to $6,000,” she said.
And in this world of fast, disposable fashion, that’s a small price to pay, she says.
“If you actually add up what you might spend on a ready-to-wear garments over the years, that a bespoke suit would last you, it’s actually quite an economical investment,” Sargent said.
OK, but I need to add, that you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Come on. The musical theater nerd in me had to go there.
From PRI’s The World ©2016 PRI