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Ashleigh JonesAnderson & Sheppard
• Born - 06/08/1987
• Mentor – George Adamou, Coat Maker
• Education - Newham College

What is your role at Anderson & Sheppard?

I’m a coat making apprentice.

 

When did you first become interested in tailoring?

I was doing a menswear project at university, it was the only menswear project we had done in the three years I was there and I just loved making the jacket. So I decided to finish my degree, save up to move to London and get into bespoke tailoring.

 

What is your educational background?

I did a BA fashion design course at university and then I did a year at Newham College where I completed the bespoke training course.

 

Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?

A year into my course at Newham College I was given a six weeks placement doing the trimming upstairs with David Walters, coming to the end of that I asked Mr John Hitchcock for more experience and he took me over to meet John who works in Soho. I did some work with him for a few years and now I am finishing my apprenticeship with George.

 

What is a day in the life like at Anderson & Sheppard?

Whatever we have to do I get on with; I can say now that I have enough experience to work on a jacket from start to finish.  Earlier in my apprenticeship I was more focused on doing the same thing on a jacket over and over again, so I could be doing a canvas numerous times on different jackets. This was a necessary learning process but it’s great being able to work on something from start to finish.

 

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

How long it would take. I was pretty much prepared for everything else because I had spoken to people about what the apprenticeship would entail.  I knew it would be tough work and that it wouldn’t be glamorous, but I didn’t realise the time it would take to master everything.

 

What has been your most exciting moment at Anderson & Sheppard?

Golden Shears was definitely my most exciting moment, I was thoroughly exhausted after it but also so thrilled. The months of hard work were worth it, I got through to the final catwalk show and my family were all there to watch. You don’t imagine something you have made being modelled at a catwalk show when you first start as an apprentice so it was such an amazing experience for me.

 

What are you working on right now?

I am just putting the finished sleeves in a jacket which is a tricky part of the process. It is single breasted navy blue pinstripe worsted jacket, a good standard first suit for somebody.

 

What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?

In some other jobs you may go to work and not feel like you have anything to show for it at the end of the day, but when you are making something with your hands you can constantly see the progress. My favourite things to do are put the facings and the collars on.

 

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

I had to complete a lot of work experience and talk to a lot of people to get where I am today. If you are offered an apprenticeship after you have completed work experience you will begin a journey that takes between four and five years to complete, so ensure that you are certain bespoke tailoring is what you want to do.