The Young Tailor of the Year
The BBC’s Young Tailor of the Year for 2102 is Savile Row Bespoke Association member Dege & Skinner apprentice Emma Martin.
Announced on BBC3 television on Sunday 5th February, the award forms a part of the BBC’s ‘Britain’s Best’ series, which identifies the cream of young British talent working in such diverse, traditional trades as farming, baking and carpentry.
Emma graduated with a Bespoke Tailoring Diploma from Newham College, which works closely with the SRBA and acts as a springboard to a career on Savile Row, before becoming an apprentice Coat Maker at Dege & Skinner.
With a ‘thirties, jazz theme to the competition, Emma had to display her full range of bespoke tailoring skills and pad a collar; finish a waistcoat; pattern cut a pair of ‘Oxford Bags’ trousers from measurements alone, and then make the trousers to compliment the look of the present jazz band.
She then underwent a fierce grilling about bespoke tailoring techniques, the history of Savile Row and the sources of her inspiration, during which she paid warm tribute to her mentors at Dege & Skinner and reflected on the demands of a Savile Row apprenticeship:
“I trained with Stefano Tormambe, who was an awesome Coat Maker, but since filming has sadly passed away. He was generous with his time and shared his experiences of Dege & Skinner and other tailoring houses. My apprenticeship is extremely demanding. From the moment I enter the work room I’m alert to the precision of every stitch. Were I to make a mistake, even a small one, I would ruin the coat, disappointing the client, my company and, most of all, myself.”
The judges of the competition were the renowned tailors Richard Anderson and Mark Powell who, between them, have made bespoke garments for some of the most fashionable names in the world, including George Clooney, Kate Moss and David Bowie. Richard Anderson commented:
“It was an incredible show to work on and it was rewarding to see young apprentices such as Emma at the start of their careers. The value of apprenticeships is often overlooked, but in today’s climate they are more important than ever.
“Emma has obviously learnt well in her short career and was a worthy winner; through every stage her enthusiasm for the craft of tailoring shone through; her technical skills were excellent and even if she made a mistake, she was quick to recognise it and correct it. She is a credit to her masters at Dege and has an amazing future ahead of her.”
Philip Parker, the Managing Director of Henry Poole & Co and the man who oversees the SRBA’s training and apprenticeship programme, added:
“I am delighted that a young coat maker from Savile Row won the young tailor of the year award. Training is of the upmost importance to all industry in this country and Savile Row has, is now and always will provide training for our future masters to ensure that Savile Row tailoring stays at the pinnacle of world bespoke tailoring.
in Savile Row Bespoke Association :
The Savile Row Bespoke Association was founded in 2004 with the aim of protecting and developing the art of bespoke tailoring on Savile Row. Today, the Row continues to flourish – the home to more than a dozen bespoke tailoring businesses, employing over 100 working craftsmen that form the centre of a unique community of businesses in London’s West End. Savile Row is a community that not only creates a unique English luxury product, but one that also forms the training base for young craftsmen and women who will go on to become tailors or designers themselves
The not-for profit association was founded to fulfil the following roles:
Protecting Intellectual Property
In the general interest of member firms, ensuring that the mark ‘Savile Row Bespoke’ is neither abused nor devalued. Savile Row Bespoke Ltd is the owner of the Trademark. The mark is a collective mark. Further information can be obtained from the Company’s lawyers Olswang.
Developing Training Initiatives
The SRBA runs a pre-apprenticeship scheme and has active links with Newham College in East London.
The Savile Row Bespoke Association has a close association with the London College of Fashion.
The Savile Row apprenticeship scheme is the form of in house training and accreditation for Savile Row Cutters and Tailors recognised by the SRBA.
The SRBA welcomes proposals for training and development in conjunction with other institutes
Promoting the Art of Bespoke Tailoring
Working to promote the art of bespoke tailoring and to represent the interests of retailers and tenants of the Row whose businesses are sympathetic to the aims of the Association.
The Savile Row Bespoke Association has drawn attention to planning issues that are detrimental to the Row and the measure of care needed to maintain a working craft industry in Central London. Favourable press comment has reminded the public that bespoke tailoring is a home-grown and successful luxury industry, bringing vitality and originality to a great city.
To protect and ensure the future of true British bespoke tailoring, the Savile Row Bespoke Association has defined the strict quality criteria and manufacturing standards that are upheld by member firms.
The Association board meets regularly and welcomes applications to join.
Establishing Synergies with Weavers, Suppliers, and Subcontractors
Facilitating discussion to ensure the future of the industry.
The Savile Row Bespoke label
In 2006 the Savile Row Bespoke Association members convened to establish a method of identifying garments specifically made by the Savile Row tailors who met the association’s required specifications. From this the Savile Row Bespoke label was launched, which all the members now include in their work to formally denote a genuine Savile Row bespoke garment.
Made by hand, using skills that the modern world considers archaic or lost, Savile Row suits are simply the best suits in the world.
The Savile Row Bespoke Association protects the art of bespoke tailoring and works to ensure that the well dressed man will always consider Savile Row his spiritual home.
Addressing Collective Problems
The Association is a place for discussion and consultation about collective problems of concern to the members. The Association acts as spokesman for the industry with local and government services and trade unions.
To Protect and Promote London as an International Capital of Men’s Elegance
Working with local government, United Kingdom and International organisations to maintain and develop London’s unique position as one of the world’s great cities and home of male elegance. Savile Row typifies the values of London. It has a heritage of over two hundred years; it has a rich mix of style, craft and individuality and an international reputation. Westminster Council and the Central London Partnership have now declared policies of active support in maintaining Savile Row as the international home of bespoke tailoring in central London.