What is your role at Kathryn Sargent?
I am Assistant Cutter under Kathryn Sargent.
When did you first become interested in tailoring?
I have always had an interest in art and fashion, but I really became interested in bespoke tailoring in 2010 when I was given a book on the subject from my mum for Christmas. I was always more interested in the pattern cutting and garment construction side of my degree in Edinburgh and when reading about the history and day to day working life of tailors on the Row something just clicked and I knew that this was the path for me. The day after I finished the book I googled “Savile Row Apprenticeships” and went from there.
What is your educational background?
I studied BA(Hons) Fashion at Edinburgh College of Arts and then on completion of that in 2010 moved onto Newham College. I studied there for a year and a half where I undertook the Savile Row Pre-Apprenticeship Bespoke Tailoring NCON Level 3 Diploma Course.
Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?
The Newham course was really good at getting you into the tailoring houses. When I was at Henry Poole on my college placement, they very kindly offered me two days a week for six months in 2012 assisting with the cutting and trimming. Philip Parker, Vice Chairman of Henry Poole, was incredibly supportive during my time there; he introduced me to a lot of people including Kathryn, this was after she had founded Kathryn Sargent Bespoke. From then it was a series of fortunate events that led to me to joining her in early 2014 after finishing my trouser making apprenticeship.
What is a day in the life like at Kathryn Sargent?
It’s so varied; we have a small team so it means we get to try a lot of things. I’ve always got some cutting to do, but now I am also starting to handle more of the client relation side of things, dealing with customers and suppliers. No day is the same but that is what I love about it.
Is there anything you had wished you had known before you started this journey?
Once I had finished reading my book on tailoring and completed my research I was certain it was what I wanted to do and I threw myself into it wholeheartedly. I knew it was going to be a long journey but I was prepared for it and wouldn’t change the path I’ve taken to get where I am now.
What has been your most exciting moment at Kathryn Sargent?
I really feel that being part of such a wonderful British institution and being able to come to work every day to do something I enjoy and I am passionate about is a real privilege in itself. Although I have really enjoyed the various Savile Row events I’ve been a part of, getting the opportunity to exhibit at the opening of the Maison Mais Non gallery in Soho last summer and being involved with the Sheep on the Row event was really exciting. I also got to visit America last year with Kathryn; it was my first time visiting the US so getting to go there for business was a thrilling experience.
What are you working on right now?
Right now we’re working on the garments for our Spring / Summer window display to go into our new Savile Row Seasonal Store which opens at No. 37 in April. We currently have some beautiful Men’s and Ladies pieces in production which you should keep your eyes out for, especially the new Sargent House Tweed that Tara is preparing fittings in.
What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?
I really love the process, so seeing something develop from a flat pattern, to baste and then to the completed garment is one of my favourite things. I also enjoy working with the clients; Kathryn has involved me more with them recently during fittings and consultations so I’m getting familiar with the cloth bunches and showing them swatches they might be interested in. It’s extremely rewarding to see a client happy with their experience; this is a bespoke service so customer satisfaction is what we strive for and it is fantastic to see a client come back in to order something new wearing something that we have previously made for them.
What advice would you give to anybody who wants to get into the bespoke tailoring industry?
Be prepared to work hard to get where you want to be, it is certainly not straightforward to get into bespoke tailoring but I found the Newham course to be very helpful. They cannot make it all happen for you though so you really have to focus and take every opportunity you can. Don’t give up, if you are determined to get the job then put all you can into making it happen.