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Alireza HarajiChittleborough & Morgan
• 17/08/1992
• Mentor – Joe Morgan, Head Cutter
• Education - Newham College

What is your role at Chittleborough & Morgan?

I’m an apprentice coat maker.

 

When did you first become interested in tailoring?

I was born into an artistic family. My father is a realist painter and my mother is a graphic designer. I grew up surrounded by visual arts and have always been very curious about how things work. As a graphic design student in 2012, I came into contact with a fellow in my class and he informed me about a tailor he had in Iran, where I’m originally from. I always had issues with my clothing and was never comfortable in them, so a year later when we visited Iran together I asked to be introduced to his tailor and get something made.

I was only supposed to be in Iran for two months but ended up staying for three months simply because our toothless pigeon enthusiast tailor wouldn’t finish my coat. I literally had to sit next to him for a few evenings so he felt some kind of pressure to work on it. Despite this I still left Iran empty handed. I received my coat six months later and it was an unholy mess.

I figured I didn’t need to go through this nightmare for somebody else to make my clothes and decided to give it a go myself. Without having any knowledge about it I asked my mother how to thread a sewing machine, I cut some cloth and went from there.

I recognised my talent in this combination of applied arts and craft. Both industries have moved so quick in to the digital age, but with bespoke tailoring the sharp eye and the skilled hands are still very essential.

 

What is your educational background?

I studied sound design and then graphic design at The Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague while I was working on a career in film making.

 

Who gave you your first tailoring opportunity?

Chittleborough & Morgan did, two weeks after I had started at Newham College I managed to get work experience here. I knew I wanted somewhere where they did constructive work, but wasn’t informed about the houses since I had no background in it at all. I brought all the samples I had made at Newham College and I came to Savile Row with the intention of approaching everybody with the hope of getting experience somewhere.

As I walked past Chittleborough & Morgan I felt like something was pushing me downstairs towards the front door so I simply followed that feeling. I introduced myself and showed them some of the padding I had done. After being exposed to the work that was produced at Chittleborough & Morgan I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I was introduced to Joe the next day and a new chapter started.

 

What is a day in the life at Chittleborough & Morgan like? 

There is always a lot to do. I sweep the floors in the morning when I get in, make some teas and prepare for the day.

At the moment I’m going through the process of baste fittings from start to finish. We’re all part of a team here so we discuss our work, thoughts and results and make sure we enjoy what we’re doing.

 

Is there anything you had wished you had known before you started this journey?

I believe that in some occasions the more knowledge you have, the more barriers you can create for yourself. The reason my passion dominates my intellect is because of my inexperience in tailoring. But for that same reason I have no limits or fear, giving this journey more colour and perspective.

 

What has been your most exciting moment at Chittleborough & Morgan?

I am always excited about everything I do here but I believe the most exciting moment is yet to occur. I am really eager to enter into a competition, possibly the Golden Shears. I have things to say about the trade that I’m in, and I’m not afraid to say it. I want to inspire people in competition and also be inspired. So I think my most thrilling moment is yet to come.

 

What are you working on right now?

Right know I’m working on the body canvas which is the skeleton of the jacket by padding the layers of canvas, horse hair and domette together. After that I will take a few cuts out and get it ready for the next stage.

 

What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?

The diversity of it, it’s a never ending alphabet if you choose it to be, with Savile Row as its grammar.

 

What advice would you give to anybody that wants to get into the bespoke tailoring industry?

The bespoke process is a tough one. Face the difficulties, work hard and make it gorgeous. Visualise and practice to make the difference.