November 16, 2015
Are bespoke clothing labels taking over the fashion industry?
By: Lynsey Bowen
Mention bespoke clothing to the average person and they will automatically think of men’s suits and shirts, made to measure by a tailor. Old-style tailors shops aside; the trend that began with printed t-shirts and sweatshirts, initially for the corporate workforce, is very much a growing industry.
On the way to becoming a phenomenon and no longer just available to the very rich and famous, plenty of business men and women, are rapidly abandoning their much-loved designer labels in favour of having individually designed suits and dresses.
Now considered the most discerning way to shop for business attire and in most cases, the cost of a unique outfit is on a par with that of a similar item sourced from a well-known designer which will be sold many times over.
Making the most of advances in technology, thus enabling many more people access to bespoke designer labels from which they can source virtually any garment and have it made to their personal specifications.
In a nutshell – freedom of choice.
Aside from the conscious desire to be unique, bespoke clothing labels and designers are created to fit perfectly to its owner and most designers very cleverly hide plenty of room for adjustment into their creations, thus allowing for changes to body shape over the years.
In addition, it enables customers to find the ‘perfect’ outfit; something that is virtually unachievable when scouring the rails of even the best and most expensive retailers.
The end result: to have created a totally unique and ‘perfect’ item of clothing in every respect – not just a perfect fit, but the perfect style, material and colour. This automatically precludes the embarrassing prospect of arriving at an important business meeting or social gathering and finding a counterpart dressed identically!
Naturally, individually designed clothing labels are not an option for all buyers, but this just serves to make the trend even more desirable for the likes of actresses, socialites, top business personnel and even some minor Royals.
Buyers of women’s fashion in top London stores have been among the first to recognise how rapidly this trend is increasing and some have already employed their own design consultants to cater for those seeking that extra special and individual ‘look’.
With their dress-sense constantly being under the eagle eye of the press, the celebrity market was inevitably one of the first to adopt the trend towards individuality that only bespoke designs can offer to them.
On occasion, celebrity patronage can radically increase the designer’s popularity, sometimes almost overnight, especially when a more ‘outlandish’ outfit is spotted by the media!
As an example, Katy Perry’s ‘dice’ dress, along with other costumes, was designed by Jeremy Scott for a one-off performance in Las Vegas.
However, the new trend for bespoke clothing labels is not always about being sensationalist, some celebrities are claiming that it is the anonymity of bespoke clothing that first attracted them.
Business women on the other hand are using their bespoke outfits to make a unique and powerful statement to their counterparts and colleagues.
The dictionary definition of bespoke reads as follows:
1 (Of goods, especially clothing) made to order e.g. a bespoke suit
1.1 (Of a trader) making bespoke items of clothing e.g. the bespoke tailors of Savile Row
1.2 (Of a computer program) written or adapted for a specific user or purpose e.g. completely bespoke software systems
NB: Although we are discussing a clothing trend, the third definition has become integral to some aspects of bespoke clothing labels as designers and manufacturers are using bespoke software to help both with the design and to cut the material pattern for their creations.
An individual and personal service following through the entire process including: measuring, designing and choosing the fabric right through to creating the garment and undertaking any subsequent alterations. Usually the whole process would be carried out on one premise.
A personal measuring and design service, but with the actual making of the garment carried out off-site. Usually with the final fitting and any minor changes required being completed by the original fitter.
This is usually an entirely online service. After placing an order, the customer will receive a package containing necessities such as tape measures, fabric swatches and instructions. They will then take their own measurements, choose their fabric and complete the order form with any ‘extras’ they require detailed. Thereafter, the whole transaction takes place online until the finished item is sent to the purchaser.
As with everything, alongside the true bespoke design artists, there is the ‘get rich quick’ element; those who are offering “cut price” made-to-measure garments at a cost seemingly little higher than High Street prices.
Bespoke design is a great concept and offers unique opportunities for individuality to those who desire it, for whatever reason. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for so pay attention to Caveat Emptor and remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
So will bespoke ever take over from the existing fashion industry? Maybe not just yet, but watch this space……….!