“Ozwald Boateng has had a transformational impact on menswear fashion for almost three decades, with a design aesthetic rooted in savile row traditions but defined by international style, detail, and artistry.
His instinctive use of colour, cut and fabric fuses traditional classic British tailoring with a high end modern design focus on the refinement of a man’s silhouette, this has brought tailoring to a whole new generation of men.”
Recently I took a trip to Savile Row and had the pleasure of speaking to one of the tailoring assistants at Ozwald Boateng. Here is what he had to say:
You must have a style and you should celebrate your style. I don’t follow trends I just have my own style. Fashion changes but style is continuous.
How would you describe the house style at Ozwald Boateng?
“Revolutionary, always one step ahead according to the way Savile row works.”
How long would it take to make a bespoke suit?
Are they made in house?
Where do you source your cloth from?
“Ah almost everyone on Savile predominately uses, Holland and Sherry and Scabal.”
Do you ever source cloth outside of England?
“No we trust the English cloth, I’m not trying to undermine our friends in Italy, they have some of the most beautiful cloth in the world, but it’s not as robust as the English cloth, it’s not as durable. They don’t last as long.”
What would your guide be to buying a suit?
– “First of all, I’ve noticed people take a round about way to shopping. They ask about colour but when you are in the tailoring business the power behind a suit is knowing the cut. Trying on the cut of a suit and knowing what is suitable for you.”
“We can go all day talking about the cut. The most important thing is to always ask to try on the jacket. Do that with every store. Know your size then appreciate the cut. Once know which cut suits you best, then you can start to ask about colour and design that fits your style. Often you can see a beautiful jacket that visually – is spot on it has everything you want, but when you wear it it’s not comfortable in the right place.”
I think that’s one thing people don’t often realise. Often people treat buying a suit like buying a pair of socks. It’s not a one size fits all and then you’re done, right?
“Exactly, for example I’m quite tall with long arms. If I see a jacket that’s regular for someone else it may be a normal fit. But I can’t wear regular, my cut is a long cut – regular would not be proportionate for my size.”
What’re the Do’s and Dont’s for tailoring?
“Do know your body, because we are all individuals, we might wear the same size. I’m a 38″ but according to the size and shape of my body I need to find something that matches my proportions. So it’s not just finding the right size but finding the one that compliments your body shape.”
Lastly, how would you describe your personal style?
“Ah my personal style is a bit of tailoring with rock and roll. I wear my suits usually with my boots which is a big no traditionally. I don’t usually wear a tie.”
Any particular reason as to why not?
“I think style is a bit more profound than what people think of it. For me style is a big deal it’s like an extension of your personality. I mean I can look at how someone is dressed on the street (I’m not being arrogant to say that I instantly know what why’re trying to do) but you can get a glimpse of their personality. If for example you’re wearing a suit and you don’t wear it right, trying to be cool, there’s a misconception of what people think of you. I think with style, age has a lot to do with it.”
Chester Barrie is a modern Savile Row brand offering contemporary English tailoring to men who are looking for suits with style and personality.
An unashamedly British menswear brand who have dressed the likes of Winston Churchill, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra who were ‘attracted by the brand’s classic tailoring, beautiful fabrics and fine attention to detail.’
They are located on 19 Savile Row, Mayfair, W1S 3PP, and have the loveliest staff happy to help with any query/ suiting dilemma you have. Definitely one to visit! To hear what style tips they had to give check out this post ‘Chris Scott-Gray | Chester Barrie’
‘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