I’ve actually lost track of the number of plans and schemes I’ve tried out since starting this business in 2014. I recently sat down with one of my mentors (a very famous man in the industry) and was struck by his clarity of perception.
(Cream Poly-Cotton Overcoat: R400)
Before I get going, I’m throwing in some images of these fantastic vintage coats I’ve got just chilling out in the Studio. Should you be interested in purchasing something you can always pop in on Thursday’s 10am to 10pm, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve.
Fashion is not for the Feint
The very nature of fashion makes the industry a perpetually tumultuous system. Clothing is, at it’s core, just another way in which we communicate. And if you’ve ever sat in on a chat amongst women, you’ll know there is no such thing as a coherent narrative when the conversation gets going.
(Charcoal Pinstripe Woolen Jacket R440)
And thus with fashion. People change their minds, their living places, their hair styles their genders with such rapidity these days, and their tastes and needs for certain clothing along with them.
My mentor reduced this beautifully when he said, half laughing half in exasperation, ‘what works today will fail tomorrow, and what flopped last year is the fashion right now’. Of course no one on the planet escapes the need to change and adapt with the times, but how can anyone survive in an industry so…well…frivolous?
(100% Cotton Black Overcoat R475)
Different strokes for Different folks
For some fashion is a statement of their social status, for some a statement against the status quo. For some a rag to keep warm on the freezing streets, for others an extravagance to indulge in for a day. And of course, the fashion industry covers EVERY ONE.
Show me a demographic (yoga loving divorced men who work in finance) and I’ll find you a clothing brand marketing specifically to that group. Probably there’ll be one undercutting the competition by producing as cheaply as possible; and one charging four times the going rate for ‘exclusive’ garments. And probably a couple brands in-between, all of them marketing to a group of people that they feel, deep within their inner hearts, would live a better life in the garments that they’re selling.
Though marketing is not the ideal term
(Not for sale, I just dig this pic)
You are here to Serve
No business can be successful without first understanding, and then addressing the needs of their clients. And no one’s live is completely the same from one day to the next, nor (for the most part) are their clothes. If you’re not moving with the tide of your client’s desires, you’ll pretty sure be washed up pretty soon.
How I haven’t properly realized this for so long I don’t know…true I do spend far too much time frantically stitching away and far too little time discussing my problems with my mentors. It does however bring up an important distinction between tailors and designers.
(100% Wool Purple / Black Windowpane Dinner Jacket R570)
A tailor does not begin with creating fashion that’ll help people express their inner selves, but with listening to what people want from his creativity. This is the only way we can create a garment appropriate to the hopes and dreams of each of our clients.
You’re not selling Suits
How you’re dressed is how you’re addressed. You’re wearing a suit because you’re a professional, or at least a good impostor 😉 The job of the tailor is not to make your clothes, but to give you the respect of your fellow men. Ultimately being a tailor is more of a service than anything else. Specific clothes are almost superfluous to the real job of helping gents present themselves in a way that’ll move them forward in life.
One definite thing I’ve heard from numerous clients is that setting up an appointment is a ball-ache in their already extremely busy lives. Which is often why they just opt for retail. Although my usual line is ‘don’t make your problems my problems’, it’s difficult for me even, with all the ups and downs to Joburg, all the breastfeeding patterns and factories and sourcing the perfect grey wool for yet another grey suit…it’s difficult to find a convenient spot to see my gents.
SOOOooo from now on the Studio is open, serving coffee and beer (and maybe juice and water…maybe) every Thursday from 10am to 10pm.
Pop in anytime and I’ll judge your clothes 😉