What is your role at Henry Poole?
I’m an apprentice coat maker.
When did you first become interested in tailoring?
I have always had an interest in real craft but I really became interested when I was at university undertaking a fashion studies course specialising in menswear. I enjoyed the hand sewing so much more than the machine work and I knew bespoke tailoring was what I wanted to do.
What is your educational background?
After college I attended Arts University Bournemouth for two years. I left in my second year to study at Newham College and completed the level one bespoke tailoring course there.
Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?
My fist opportunity was with Gordon over at Huntsman. We had visited the shop with Newham College and I approached him and grilled him about how to get into the trade. He informed me the best way was to come in and talk to people so that’s exactly what I did, I came in the next week and asked him for work experience. I got a week at Huntsman working under a coat maker.
As my work experience was ending I asked him for more and he brought me over here and I was thankfully given another two weeks. I was working under my current mentor Paul Freason and we got on so well that they kept me on for a further few months doing one day a week.
That also came to an end and then I was put in touch with Joe Morgan, I went in one day a week for work experience for six months. I was there until I was informed they had space back here at Henry Poole and they offered me an apprenticeship.
What is a day in the life like at Henry Poole?
We have so many different things going on, it’s diverse work and Paul always tries to switch things up so I am not doing the same thing constantly every day. It is not a bad thing if I am working on the same jacket throughout the day though because it shows I am able to do things by myself. I am progressing to a stage where I can make something closer to its completion as opposed to doing bits here and there on different jackets.
Is there anything you had wished you had known before you started this journey?
I think I went into an apprenticeship believing it would be a lot like studying but it is wasn’t; it is a real job which I had hoped it would be. You are treated like a member of staff. So maybe I would have been more confident going into it knowing that I was applying for job where I was wanted and valued.
What has been your most exciting moment at Henry Poole?
I made a jacket with a pattern that was done for me by Joe and Francis at Chittleborough & Morgan whilst I was there. I bought some cloth a year ago and Paul helped me make a jacket which I wore to the Sheep on the Row event. I was getting a lot of compliments for it so that made me feel very proud, and even though I had help from Paul I had done a lot of it myself. That was very exciting, it gave me so much faith for the future and how far my potential can reach.
What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?
The workshop is great, it is very important to have a happy environment and we all get on so well. Working with my hands is also my favourite aspect; it was always something I wanted to do and I feel so grateful to be doing something that comes naturally to me. Of course there is so much to learn, but I am learning what I love.
What advice would you give to anybody that wants to get into the bespoke tailoring industry?
Save up before you start this journey, the money isn’t great but it’s worth it. Don’t let the monetary issues put you off, just be creative and careful with your wages. I live on a narrow boat which is a lot of fun but it’s also a compromise for my job. Just be certain that bespoke tailoring is what you want to get into and the compromises will be easy to make.