What is your role at Anderson & Sheppard?
I’m an apprentice coat maker
When did you first become interested in tailoring?
At school I did textiles and my teacher encouraged me to make a blazer for myself, from then I was always interested in tailoring, especially menswear and the processes involved in making bespoke pieces.
What is your educational background?
I did an art foundation at college and then I went to London College of Fashion and completed a tailoring degree. This gave me a taster of what tailoring was all about, but it was not until I was working in a real tailoring environment that I could see the work that goes into a bespoke jacket.
Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?
Anderson & Sheppard did, I emailed here and I got a day’s work experience working with Derrick, an amazing coat maker. I came back the day after with a box of biscuits and asked for a work experience placement. The treat worked and I came in one day a week for over a year. I was so grateful for that opportunity, in that time I learnt so much that prepared me for the apprenticeship they offered me when Derrick’s former apprentice Sunna completed her own.
What is a day in the life like at Anderson & Sheppard?
Derrick and I work on different things; he will assist me if I need help or guidance with any jacket I am working on. As an apprentice you have to be ready to help in anyway so I could be preparing sleeves for Derrick to put in a jacket or getting the back lining ready and basted in place. Once I’ve done this I might continue with a forward I’m working on so I could be cutting out the fit ups in preparation to start the pockets. This part of making really shows off your skills and precision when a pocket is put in nicely.
Is there anything you had wished you had known before you started this journey?
How hard and quick you have to work to earn decent money. You have to ensure the quality is good but that doesn’t mean you should be taking all time in the world. The bespoke tailoring industry expects a lot from its apprentices that’s why it’s important to learn your trade well before going on your own. There is no room for error.
What has been your most exciting moment at Anderson & Sheppard?
When Prince Charles visited the shop and I got the opportunity to meet him. It was so surreal and I was even allowed to help out on one of his and Prince Williams’s jacket. I was doing work experience at the time and I assisted on some sleeves for Prince William padded Prince Charles’ jacket collar.
What are you working on right now?
A dark blue window pane check jacket, I am just canvasing it at the moment and I will put the facings on after.
What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?
Seeing the finished product is certainly my favourite aspect of it all. I do love learning something I have never done before and then perfecting the technique, it is really satisfying and rewarding to see gradual improvements.
What advice would you give to anybody that wants to get into the bespoke tailoring industry?
Get to know as many people in the industry as you can, get as much work experience as you can and bring along a box of biscuits with you, that worked for me.