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Claire EmersonEdward Sexton
• Born – 10/08/1988
• Mentor – Edward Sexton
• Education - Newham College

What is your role at Edward Sexton?

I am a qualified coat maker. During my time here I have also been taught how to make trousers, waistcoats and do alterations.


When did you first become interested in tailoring?

It was more of a coincidence, I finished university after studying an art and design foundation and I didn’t really know what route I wanted to go down next. My friend informed me that she had read about a tailoring course that had just started at Newham College and that I should go down and check it out. I was sceptical to enter the fashion industry, so I thought it would be a good idea to visit the college and see what the course had to offer. I enrolled on the course and instantly knew that it was what I wanted to do, if it wasn’t for my friend I would never had known about it so I am always thankful to her.


What is your educational background?

I studied Art and Design foundation at university, and then I went onto study at Newham College for a year and a half.


Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?

It was Edward; after Newham College I continued to do work experience at a number of tailoring houses but I wasn’t certain of where I wanted to go. I sent out my CV to the all the companies and told them I was willing to do whatever it took to get a job. Edward was the last person I expected to get back to me, but he was the first to reply. I rushed across Knightsbridge for an interview on one of the hottest days of the year. When I arrived I was hot and bothered and wanted desperately to make a good impression. Much to my relief it went really well, he gave me a month’s trial and I have been here ever since.


What is a day in the life like at Edward Sexton?

It is very busy, I am constantly learning.  Since I completed my apprenticeship I have my own apprentice Leanne, she is a big help and is progressing so well I think that within the next couple of years she will qualify as a coat maker. Between her and I we have an efficient system, within a day we can comfortably make a baste, we’re a great team.


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

I would have liked to have been more aware of the money situation as an apprentice, I didn’t expect it to be so hard. Until last year when I completed my apprenticeship I was working in a restaurant part time to help me get by. That extra work and living at home with my parents made it all possible. It wasn’t easy but looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.


What has been your most exciting moment at Edward Sexton?

When Edward told me I was qualifying it was such an amazing moment. I was able to quit my restaurant job which was really hard because I had been there for nine years and made so many amazing friends, it had also been my back up for so long and had become a big part of my life. However I knew the reason I had been working there was to help me reach my  goal. Letting go of the restaurant job was bittersweet but I was so thrilled to start my career.


What are you working on right now?

I am working on a blue cashmere jacket for one of our more eccentric customers; he has quite flamboyant linings on the inside which adds to the fun when I am making it.


What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?

It keeps my creative side busy, I get bored very easily but when I am working here there is no chance of that happening. Every jacket it different and I am constantly using my hands to create and alter. It really does satisfy my need for artistic activity.


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

If you’re trying to get into bespoke tailoring with the dream of becoming the next Alexander McQueen then don’t bother, it’s not fashion. If it’s something you want as a long term career then just don’t give up, be persistent and put in the effort and you will get there too!