‘It’s not necessarily about standing out in the crowd but making sure that when you’re noticed you just look spot on.
Savile Row is full of bespoke houses but in the midst of them all is a special house offering something a little different. I had the pleasure of speaking with lovely Chris Scott-Gray (Marketing and PR) at Chester Barrie. Here’s what he had to say about the house:
What’s on offer?
‘Chester Barrie is not a bespoke house, we set ourselves apart by being a ready to wear specialist the business is set up that way 82 years ago. We took all the elements of a great Savile Row suit – the quality the attention to detail, some of the fabrication – then turned that into a ready to wear suit.’
‘Which meant that: A – it wasn’t near as expensive, so you aren’t paying four thousand for a suit, and B – that you can get it off the peg there and then. We can do a made to measure version, but really it’s about customising what we do. It’s about taking our Chester Barrie look and the expression that comes with what we do and putting that into a made to measure product.’
‘The great thing about doing it as a ready to wear product is that as well as having accessibility, it means at times we can also be a bit adventurous, especially in some of the jackets and fabrications we use. We have some alpaca and wool mixes, linens and Tobacco linen mixes.
The beauty of having freedom to be adventurous is – ‘it’s not the kind of thing (product) people are going to buy immediately or buy bespoke, because what if it goes wrong and they don’t like it. This way they are able to see it, try it on, buy it and walk away happy.’
What do your prices range from?
‘Entry point suit is at £595, and works its way up to £1,500.’
Famous customers you’ve dressed?
‘Everyone at some point, we’ve dressed Sir Winston Churchill, Cary Grant, I’m more interested in the modern people that come through the door. Most recently however, David Gandy wears a lot of Chester Barrie, we sponsored the Olivier awards, so on the back of that we’ve had people like Lenny Henry and David Haywood come in. Yannick Bolasie – he actually got married in Chester Barrie. We’ve had Dillon Hart (England rugby captain). We have dressed the whole of the Leicester Tigers rugby team. A lot of them have come back for their weddings as well.’
‘Something that’s sort of fashionable, that’s got some expression, shows your style.’
What tips would you have for someone wanting to buy an entry level suit?
‘Take your time, put some time aside to do your research. Think about fit, what wear you’re going to get out of it. Don’t just slavishly chase fashion and start wearing bum freezers (Eton jacket colloquially known as a ‘bum freezer’) just because everyone’s wearing them.’
‘If this is your first suit you’re going to want it to last you a little while. So get something that’s sort of fashionable, that’s got some expression, shows your style. Something that’s going to enhance your shape. A lot of jackets these days are short and just sort of hang whereas what you want is going to accentuate what you’re wearing.’
Being a ready to wear specialist, where are the suits made?
‘Majority of the suits here are made in Italy.’
Is that where the cloth is also sourced?
‘Cloth is sourced in Italy and the UK.’
Describe the house style here?
‘Chester Barrie are clothes for when it matters most, there’s a bit of red carpet in there, a bit of glamour, a bit of putting on a show.’
Is that how you would also describe the Chester Barrie customer?
‘Our customer knows that it’s important to look your best and there are times when you need to do that with your clothes and they can do that with Chester Barrie.’
Would you say you’re the go to house for that?
(Laughs) ‘I think that’s what it is. It’s not necessarily about standing out in the crowd but making sure that when you’re noticed you just look spot on.’
To see more of Chester Barrie visit them on www.chesterbarrie.co.uk