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Tom CarrRichard Anderson
• Mentor – Richard Anderson

What is your role at Richard Anderson?

I’m an apprentice pattern cutter.


When did you first become interested in tailoring?

It was during my last year of sixth form, one of my art projects was to make a dress. I visited a bespoke tailor near me on weekends and they would teach me how to hold a thimble and the other basics of tailoring. From there my interest for the trade grew and I thought the best way to pursue it was by doing an apprenticeship.


What is your educational background?

I went to Whitgift School and studied art, design & technology and geography in sixth form.


Who gave you your first opportunity in tailoring?

My first opportunity was given to me by Dege &Skinner. They took me on during the summer holidays when I worked with Cass helping them set up for their trunk show, and I returned to do work experience there during the subsequent holidays.

Whilst there I was informed about an available position over here at Richard Anderson. I popped in and met Richard and was given a few weeks work experience over the holidays. At the end of my studies I was given a one month trail and was offered my full time apprenticeship soon after.


What is a day in the life like at Richard Anderson?

I get in at 8:15am, make the teas and check the diary. Richard will give me some jobs to strike out and cut. I also deal with the trimming here so if any need to be done I will make sure I do them.  I will also drop of jobs and parcels to other tailors if needs be, it is always a varied day.


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

I don’t think there is anything I wish I had known, at the beginning I didn’t really know anything about tailoring and I was glad about that. I was a blank slate so Richard could teach me everything he knows and I could pick it up without it contradicting anything I could have previously learnt.


What has been your most exciting moment at Richard Anderson?

Getting my left handed shears, it was almost impossible to find a pair. We were searching for months on eBay and asking people all the time if they had come across a pair I could buy. Finding them was a stroke of luck, we were at a party and I was talking about them and a guest told me to talk to a left handed tailor who had just retired. So I am now the proud owner of a pair of hundred year old shears, it is truly a privilege to be using them for my work. Before I had a shears I was only striking out, so being able to now cut is fantastic.


What are you working on now?

I am working on a green tweed riding coat for one of our regular customers. He rides and shoots so it is interesting to see the different types of garments coming through.


What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?

I like the idea that the concept of what we do is so simple; 2D cloth transformed into a jacket or some trousers; this is the normal procedure when making most garments but the bespoke process is such a special one.  The detail, skill and intricacy that we put into making a bespoke piece is so unique.


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

Knock on a lot of doors and physically go in and visit houses. Emails and phone calls are effective up to a point but you have more of a chance if they can see your personality and passion. I came back every few weeks and although you sometimes may feel like you are being a nuisance, what it actually does is demonstrate your persistence.