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Abby RobertsonHenry Poole & Co.
• Born - 01/06/1990
• Mentor – Maria Gomes, Coat Maker
• Education - Heriot-Watt University

What is your role at Henry Poole?

I’m an apprentice coat maker.


When did you first become interested in tailoring?

When I was in my second year of university studying fashion in Scotland I did one module of tailoring and I was hooked on it. I finished my studies focusing on menswear tailoring, specialising in coats.


What is your educational background?

I went to Heriot – Watt University in Edinburgh and did two years of civil engineering but decided that the job satisfaction wasn’t there for me; it was less design and more number crunching. I wanted to be more hands on, I always loved making clothes when I was younger and I discovered that the university offered a fashion course so I switched over.


Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?

I applied for a job at Oliver Sweeney; they were primarily a shoe company when I first started but they employed me as an apparel developer, so I did their outerwear and moved onto shirts and polos. A year and a half into that I knew I wanted to join Savile Row.

I had some contacts that put me in touch with Henry Poole and I started off as a striker. My job was to lay out the pattern on the cloth, bundle up with trims, log the job onto the system and hand it over to the designated tailor. A month after working as a striker I was informed that there was an opening for an apprentice coat maker so I jumped at the opportunity.


What is a day in the life like at Henry Poole?

I have been here for eight months so apart from stabbing myself with needles, I can baste a jacket and pad the lapels. I am not yet at the stage where I can make a full jacket but I can get it up to a stage where Maria can take over to finish the job in a few hours.

I am very thankful for Maria; she is hilarious I am lucky to have her as a mentor. It is honestly so much fun here, everybody has such different characters and we all get on so well.


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

To get into tailoring earlier, most people start this journey much younger than at the age I did. However I picked it up at university so I guess it all worked out because I am exactly where I want to be now.


What has been your most exciting moment at Henry Poole?

Probably the parties, we have some great ones here.  The archive opening party was probably the best one, a small spare room was converted into an archive room and we had an amazing bash to celebrate.


What are you working on right now?

I’m doing a baste at the moment so I am putting the shoulders together on a lovely navy flannel cloth.


What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?

I like when the suit becomes 3D; I think that is where the whole engineering side comes into it. I like the structure over the shoulders, how it perfectly fits and how its cut. It’s like magic when it all comes together.


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

I would say start young and don’t try and get into it if there is only a small amount of interest there. This is not fashion you’re not creating your own designs; the customers come in and pick what they would like down to the very last details.  As an apprentice you’re learning how to perfect such a special craft, so if you have that passion for bespoke tailoring, try as hard as you can to get your foot in the door.