Over at English Cut, a blog by an English Bespoke Tailor, you can read a fascinating look into the world of a bespoke tailor:
I was Mr. Hallberry’s striker (undercutter), and my future partner, Edwin was striker for Mr Harvey. Although this was comparatively only a few years ago, the company was still very much old school. Ed & I had to address the cutters as ‘Sir’ or ‘Mr.’ ….. The use of first names was far too informal.
It may look as if I’m painting a very austere atmosphere of the company, but although it was quite Dickensian at times, it was a great environment to be part of. Mr. Hallberry was every bit your Swedish expat cutter, silver hair & steel blue eyes. His attitude to the profession was as sharp as his shears, he didn’t suffer fools gladly; neither staff or customer.
On a red hot August day in early 1990, I sneaked out of the side door of Anderson’s to a cafe, no more than 50 yards away, for a sandwich to go. Unknown to me I had been spotted by Mr. Hallberry.
To go out at lunchtime was not a crime, however I had committed a cardinal sin. Not only was I without a jacket, but I was wearing braces (suspenders). For this I was summoned and duly berated for my sloppiness. As Mr. Hallberry said, cutters of A&S do not go out in there shirt sleeves, let alone their underwear.
When I write of my time with A&S it feels as if I worked there in the 50s , not the 90s. But you got used to such a formal atmosphere- no idle conversation, no whistling, no music or anything that could distract.
You remember how unique it was to just hear the clipping of shears into endless privileged clients’ clothes (Royalty, movie stars, that kind of thing) and the soft drone of the overhead fans. We had no air conditioning, and the fans were kept slow or they’d blow the patterns off the boards, if they were turned up to any worthwhile level. Comical really, but who’s complaining, we would’t have dared.