What is your role at Graham Browne?
I am an apprentice trouser maker but I am hoping to start training to become a cutter.
When did you first become interested in tailoring?
I have always had an interest in garment construction and drafting patterns. Once I was at university, I had the chance to experience this on a mass production scale and realised that my interests were with bespoke.
What is your educational background?
I studied Product Design in sixth form, which was textile based, and then I studied fashion design with garment technology at university for three years.
Who gave you your first opportunity?
When I was looking for a work placement in my second year of university, I managed to get a week at Jones, Chalk & Dawson. I then spent three weeks with an independent tailor who makes for companies such as Chris Kerr and Dege & Skinner.
When looking for somewhere more permanent, I spent a few days walking up and down Savile Row asking for advice and trying to build up a list of contacts. A tailor at Davies & Sons helped me with contacts and Graham Browne was one of them. I spent two weeks here on trial and was given the apprenticeship. I was lucky to have been taken on so quickly because I know others can spend a long time doing work experience, but thankfully I came at the right time.
What is a day in the life like at Graham Browne?
It is always a busy day; I could be trimming up trousers, overlocking, felling hems and waistbands and sewing buttons and buttonholes. I then sort out all of the finished trousers, match them up with their jackets and call the customers to make sure things are collected or delivered.
Is there anything you had wished you had known before you started this journey?
That you may not get the apprenticeship you want right away. In my case, I am training on trousers right now, but hopefully I will soon be learning how to cut. I also wish I had known there would be very little customer interaction as an apprentice; you rarely get to meet the customers you are making for.
What has been your most exciting moment at Graham Browne?
When we went to the Sheep on the Row event. We were one of the few tailors who are based in the City, so it was so nice to see so many apprentices together in one place. I didn’t really know anybody there but it was nice to know that everyone was on the same journey.
I also like it when customers come in and opt for something other than a grey or navy suit. When you get the opportunity to make something slightly more eccentric for somebody it is really exciting.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on some black dinner suit trousers and some women’s white satin trousers. I am trimming them up ready to be overlocked in preparation for the trouser maker.
What advice would you give to anybody that wants to get into the bespoke tailoring industry?
Keep on top of your contacts and always show enthusiasm even if you have faced some rejection. No matter what your educational background is, just prove that you can do it. I was told many times that it would be hard for me because I didn’t go to Newham College, but I didn’t let that deter me. If you want something just work for it and show your willingness to learn.