What is your role at Richard Anderson?
I’m a coat maker.
When did you first become interested in tailoring?
I first got interested during my A levels; I always loved making clothes when I was younger so it came to a point where I wanted to utilise my skills properly. My mother is an artist and she has always told me to choose a career where I could express myself creatively and get paid for it. When I was looking for a degree, I came across the bespoke tailoring course and it led me down this path that I am on now. I was interested in womenswear but naturally steered more toward menswear, I had a sporty upbringing and I could always appreciate the practical side of men’s clothing, so bespoke tailoring was perfect.
What is your educational background?
I did a handcraft tailoring diploma and a bespoke tailoring degree at London College of Fashion.
Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?
In the last year of my degree at LCF I entered the Golden Shears. Richard was judging so after the competition I told him I had decided to pursue coat making. I had a trial with the master coat maker and secured an apprenticeship that started once I had finished my degree.
What is a day in the life like at Richard Anderson?
I get in early enough so I have a little time to get prepared and start on time. I go through what I’ve got for the day which might be a finish or a forward. I always want to make a plan of what I need to get through for the day and try my best to complete it. I work till five or six and like to wind down after so I might do a yoga class or go for a jog.
Is there anything you had wished you had known before you started this journey?
I wish I had known about the openness of Savile Row. I did my degree at LCF because I was afraid to come here without any practical skill. I really like to prove myself so I wanted to get all the practical experience I could beforehand, but Savile Row is very open to taking on young people who want a chance. Tom came here right out of college and for somebody like him who started at such a young age there is more time for growth and also the added benefit of living at home and getting that support if you are based in the city.
However I still believe that getting my degree was extremely rewarding and I am still very glad that I did, I wouldn’t change that.
What has been your most exciting moment at Richard Anderson?
Making the full outfit for Golden Shears was amazing. I made a double breasted bright red cotton suit with a glen check bold black and white overcoat. I also made myself a blue and orange floral suit; so lots of colour all around.
Making my first jacket was also really exciting. I asked Richard after I had been here for about six months if I could make my own and he cut me a pattern. It was the first full jacket I had made here.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I am making a navy linen herringbone jacket, the cloth is tricky because it is constantly moving; it’s such an energetic cloth. I am working on the pockets right now and I keep telling myself once I have completed them it will get easier.
What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?
Seeing jobs come together is very rewarding, it’s great to get close to a finished stage and receive great feedback from my mentors and customers. When I first started I found it really hard to let go of jobs, you can get connected to something you have spent a long time making, but I learnt you just have to take all you can from each experience and each job.
What advice would you give to anybody that wants to get into the bespoke tailoring industry?
It’s very important to come and do placements and find out what you are good at and where you feel like you would be best placed. Be tenacious because I know bosses who will have respect for you if you keep coming back and enquiring, they like to see passion and determination.