Tuesday, 1 November 2011
The atelier atmosphere of Timothy Everest
I had a fitting last week on a jacket at Timothy Everest. A summer jacket, in entirely the wrong season, but I get these timings so wrong that I’ve ceased worrying about it. I didn’t have enough lightweight jackets this past summer, so I ordered one for next. If I left it until Spring I’d only forget.
Afterwards I wandered around the various floors of Tim’s Spitalfields atelier, and it occurred to me that I’ve spoken most in the past about the design aesthetic that makes Tim unique. But lots of people design; they are called designers. The important thing to remember about Tim is that he is a tailor that approaches design, rather than the other way around. It makes a fundamental difference to the quality of the output and the types of designs.
This is best reflected in the various people busying themselves around the place. Pictured, upstairs, is Cassie, who has just finished her apprenticeship as a coatmaker. She’s been at Timothy Everest for about a year, having previously started her apprenticeship at a Savile Row house. One of the reasons she loves working here, she says, is the atmosphere. And you can see why, as casual chatter floats in from next door and you glance out of the window at the sunny garden below. Here Cassie is stitching on and then pressing the collar of a jacket, trying to get the tension right.
That chatter is coming from Lloyd, head cutter (above), who is working on a series of pinstripe suits for a movie star (who will remain nameless). Undercutter Rhiannon is on the board opposite (and pictured top), marking out a similarly striped suit for the same character. And then behind them we have Laura (pictured below), who is affixing some rather affecting braiding to a black trouser. Apparently the Mayfair branch has some rather extrovert clients.
Missing from the picture montage is Annika, the senior coatmaker, who generally does the complicated work on things like Tim’s travel blazers. They require saddle stitching in two rows round all the edges, which takes time. About three days to make the whole jacket, in fact. Then there are two trouser makers in the basement and one more coatmaker across the road.
It’s a lovely little clubhouse, and I do wish every tailor on Savile Row had this kind of space to create their own, unique atmosphere.