After studying at the London College of fashion, I started training as an apprentice coat maker under Peter Giorgiou in September 2013.
After completing my studies at the London College of Fashion, I was fortunate enough to have started an apprentice at Anderson and Sheppard under Peter Giorgiou, a master tailor who has now been passionately working as a bespoke tailor for 50 years and who still continues to work at such a high standard for the firm. To be able to work alongside such experienced tailors and cutters in the trade has inspired me to learn the craftsmanship of one of the oldest and strongest guilds of the country.
Since I can remember I have always been interested in the arts and find great pleasure and satisfaction in being able to create something both aesthetically pleasing and functional, which is handmade and original. Craftsmanship is something which I admire in any kind of trade and is something which requires many different skills. To be of the craftsman’s creed, it takes patience, an eye for detail, and above all perseverance.
Despite being in the trade now for around 50 years, Peter insists that however many years you may have worked as a tailor, you will always have something new to learn. He believes that practice makes perfect and that one of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes along the way. After all these years of work, he still strives for perfection with every stitch. If something is not to his standard, it will be done and redone again until it faultless. As Peters apprentice, I can honestly say that his passion for this trade has rubbed off on me tremendously and I am very lucky to be working with such an inspiring and talented person.
It is fitting that the saying, “Never tire to study or to teach others.” is the phrase which is written on the left hand corner of his Chinese calendar, as it is exactly the kind of mantra he would use.
Shetland sweaters have arrived at our haberdashery shop!
Our Shetland sweaters were so successful last year, so we have added some new colours along with the favourites, and there are more on the way.
Made in Scotland, these slim cut sweaters look great under a sports jacket with a pair of flannel or corduroy trousers.
FOUBERT’S PLACE WORKROOM
The Anderson and Sheppard workroom at Foubert’s Place has been around for about 8 years. I have been there for just over 4 years, first as an apprentice coat maker and now as a self-employed coat maker. We used to work under a man called John Kyriacou, but he retired as I finished my apprenticeship and I was lucky enough to be able to take the helm.
Liberty, Ashleigh and I make all manners of coats here, from jackets, tailcoats, dinner jackets and overcoats; and we work as a team to get everything done. I was trained here and like Liberty and Ashleigh who are still apprentices; you learn each stage of coat making and progress through each level of the apprenticeship program. You learn how to fix, canvas, how to do the facing and how to baste the jacket for a fitting.
As well as doing all the practical aspects you are also learning important information along the way. There are so many intricacies behind the making of a coat or jacket; you have to recognise the many features included on coats and learn how to work with different cloths.
We will soon be moving to a workroom on St Georges street along with trouser makers Keith and Michael who are currently at Clifford Street. As great as Foubert’s Place has been; it’s exciting to move to a larger workroom with more light and space. It’s always great to have a sociable, friendly environment as a maker, which we definitely do have now but I’m certain that once we move it will be even better!
AUTUMN USA TRIP
It’s been all hands on deck since we returned from the autumn USA trip. It was a really successful two weeks; the first two days we were in San Francisco, then Chicago for the second part of that week and of course a whole week in New York as it’s always our busiest city.
This was the first trip without Mr Hitchcock for over 20 years. The team consisted of Danny, John and I and although we have all gone before; it was the first time it was just the three of us, but it was a seamless transition.
Over the fortnight we saw just over 180 customers, the most ever that we have seen since we started the trips. In New York we were seeing between 27-29 customers a day; from 8:30 am to 6:30pm so we had a lot of jam packed days; but they couldn’t have gone any better.
Seven trunks of fittings were sent over with us, one for San Francisco, one for Chicago and five for New York; plus additional boxes that had to be sent over whilst we were out there. We have such a good client base in the US and we had between 255-260 fittings. We took 8 new customers, some were recommended and others came off their own research. It’s always a positive to get new customers but it would have been difficult to see any more than that with the number of appointments that we already had.
The cutting room is filled with cloth from the orders that were sent back whilst we were away, so now we are back the work really starts.
It was great to meet all our US customers and we will be back there in the spring to visit New York, Washington and Boston. Dates and locations are available on our website:
MAKING THE CUT
Liberty and I were featured in the latest issue of Lula magazine, for a piece focusing on the new generation of Savile Row bespoke suit-makers. They asked us all sorts of questions, and we were included with a number of other tailors from Savile Row.
Lula- Why did you choose to go into coats?
Jennie- They’re are the most difficult part (of the suit) – I started off with them because I knew I didn’t want to be a cutter who greets customers and cuts the cloth; I wanted to be more practical. It was just a question of which garment for me.
Lula – What made you get into tailoring?
Jennie- I realised I wanted to do menswear. I appreciate the structure of it and the fact that most of it isn’t going out of fashion; it’s the longevity of the items I make.
Lula – How come you chose to be a coatmaker?
Liberty- When I was younger I used to work in a fancy-dress shop, where they had original period costumes. I’d always been really interested in making clothes, so I forced my mum to buy me a sewing machine. From then on I became interested in how jackets were put together.
Lula – What do you think it takes to get an apprenticeship on Savile Row?
Liberty- I first came in with a suitcase full of work I’d done at college, but Mr Hitchcock just said ‘go upstairs and show them your hand-sewing’ and it went from there. It takes dedication.