Why bespoke?

What you always wanted to know about bespoke suits…

… a few questions for Kathrin Emmer.

Why do customers choose a bespoke suit?

There are diverse reasons to choose a bespoke suit. Frequently I encounter issues regarding fit: sometimes because the client is very slim, has a large figure or is of short stature. Others may have had an accident that caused them to be lopsided — something they want corrected in their clothing. Some had bad experiences with bespoke tailoring before. Many need a suit at work to be dressed appropriately. Others have such detailed ideas of what their suits should look like that they haven’t been able to find them yet. A passion for movies and other hobbies can lead to the decision to invest in bespoke clothing as well. I have, for example, made clothing based on characters in movies or to match a specific vintage car. Some men don’t wear a suit in their everyday lives. If they do happen to need a suit, they prefer to have one they’re really comfortable with. And apparently this is where they trust a tailor.

What are the main differences between a tailor-made suit and off-the-rack-clothing?

Above all the fittings. They make the biggest difference, especially the first fitting, when the jacket and trousers are still in a very raw state. At that point virtually anything can be changed. Among them details like the length of the jacket, where the pockets are located and the width of the trousers.

How does the make compare to handmade clothing from Naples and Italy in general?

Italian suits have a reputation for being soft and lightly constructed. Based on several suits I’ve seen up close I can say that the way they’re made doesn’t vary a lot from my way of working — to an extent, tailoring is tailoring, it doesn’t matter if it is made in Italy or by me. What I construct differently is the front canvas of my jackets. While mine is also quite thin, it’s firmer. This way it’s better suited to support the jacket over the whole of the front, while Italian jackets usually hang from the shoulders. I can also construct an Italian shirt-shoulder, but it’s definitely not a necessity for me. I vary the shape of the shoulder based on the type of jacket the client chooses and the shape of his shoulders.

One client — two versions of a shoulder

Is it possible to alter the bespoke suit after for example gaining weight?

Within reason this is doable. There’s always additional material to let out in order to compensate for weight gain in both the jacket and trousers.

Is it true that bespoke suits last as long as it’s often claimed?

It really depends on how often the suit is worn, what cloth is used and how many suits a client owns and rotates. Heavy fabrics are more durable than light, finely woven ones. If one happens to own merely two suits which get worn every other day they won’t last as long.

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