Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bespoke: Lost in Translation?

Bespoke has lost its meaning.

"Bespoke" roots its meaning from the 17th century when men would walk in to tailors and pick a roll of cloth to be cut into a suit. The roll had then "been spoken for." Today the premise is still the same. Go to a tailor, pick out a fabric and have well over 20 measurements taken, multiple fittings, and a voice in every aspect of the handmade work of wearable art. The suit is constructed to specifications to flatter every line and measurement of your body. The average price for a Savile Row bespoke suit can quickly get above $7,000. There truly is no compromise for a bespoke suit.

However, in today's increasing quest for luxury within fashion, "bespoke" and "made-to-measure" are used interchangeably. This is unacceptable. "Made-to-measure" is simple having a pre-made template cut to your measurements and can be done by machine or by hand. Sadly, the British Advertising Standards Agency does not agree with the tradition of bespoke. On June 18, 2008, the British Advertising Standards Agency did not support the complaints Savile Row Bespoke (the group that represent Savile Row tailors) made against London retailer Sartoriani. Sartoriani recently ran ads for a "bespoke" suits for under $1000. These suits were actually machine cut in a German factory.

The British Advertising Standards Agency seems to have ignored all tradition and talent that goes along with the word "bespoke." Regardless of what the standards agency thinks, bespoke is a handmade suit with multiple fittings, well over 20 measurements, and custom in every aspect. True bespoke is really the ultimate in men's suiting and will always remain this way.

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