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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 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 Association’s lawyers Olswang.
Developing Training Initiatives
The SRBA has devised and administers apprenticeship courses in conjunction with the Merchant Taylors’ Livery Company and Newham College.
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 meet 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 to be 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 national 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 to maintain Savile Row as the international home of bespoke tailoring in central London.
Savile Row Bespoke Association
With such an incredible product receiving little by way of deserved recognition in recent years, The Savile Row Bespoke Association was formed in 2004 through an alliance of five like-minded houses – Anderson & Sheppard, Dege & Skinner, Gieves & Hawkes, H. Huntsman & Sons and Henry Poole & Co. – tailors which understood the need for a trade association capable of safeguarding Savile Row’s unique bespoke standards. Today, the SRBA has twenty-two member and associate member houses, who work together to protect and champion this understanding of bespoke tailoring and to promote the ingenious craftsmen that comprise the community of Savile Row. The SRBA sets the standards that define a Savile Row bespoke tailor, and all members of the Association must conform to the above definition of a bespoke suit and much more besides. A Master Cutter must oversee the work of every tailor employed by a member house and all garments must be constructed within a one hundred yard radius of Savile Row. Likewise, every member must offer the customer a choice of at least 2000 cloths and rigorous technical requirements are expected. For example, jacket foreparts must be entirely hand canvassed, buttonholes sewn, sleeves attached and linings felled all by hand.
In addition to promoting and securing the working practices of Savile Row tailors, the SRBA has played a key role in promoting Savile Row’s continued relevance as an international centre of modern, luxurious men’s style. Since it was founded in 2004, the SRBA has initiated and taken part in a number of events throughout the world, including presentations at the British Ambassador’s residences in Washington, D.C., Florence, Paris and Tokyo, the Friday Late exhibition at the V&A in London, the British Fashion Council’s London Collections: Men men’s fashion weeks and it’s own, widely celebrated, Savile Row Field Day. These showcases serve to both celebrate the art and craft of Savile Row and demonstrate to the fashion industry and international press how the Row remains at the zenith of its trade through its enthusiasm and willingness to contemporise and innovate. Many SRBA member houses design and tailor specific pieces for these events to convey their place at the centre of modern men’s style to a young, dynamic and diverse audience.
The SRBA is not only connecting the Row with a younger audience, but with a younger craftsman too. The Association has introduced over fifty new apprentices to Savile Row since 2004, ensuring that the lifeblood of The Row – the extraordinary skills of its master tailors – can be passed onto the next generation. Every member house must employ a salaried apprentice at all times, whose work is overseen by the Technical Committee of the SRBA, staffed by the Head Cutter of each member house. Crucially, through this initiative, the Association not only ensures that Savile Row’s future is secure, but also that the community of Savile Row retains a valuable connection to a younger, more contemporary customer, as well as its traditional, established clientele.
In the same vein, the SRBA promotes greater innovation within the industry through a connection with its associate members. Foremost amongst these are the abundance of world famous British woollen mills and cloth merchants that create the superior fabrics which each and every tailor uses. Firms such as Huddersfield-based Dugdale Bros & Co. and Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, historic London-based merchant Dormeuil and Harrisons of Edinburgh work closely with the SRBA to ensure that the tailors’ fabrics are not only of an appropriate standard, but that they too are innovatory. These mills work upon the feedback of the SRBA, producing ever more engaging and elevated cloths whilst still using the appropriate traditional weaving methods.
With the balancing of tradition and innovation in mind, it should be noted that although the Association’s primary objective is to promote Savile Row bespoke tailoring at its finest, it would be a mistake to ignore the continued modernisation of Savile Row’s retail practices. A number of houses have introduced beautifully conceived and crafted ready-to-wear capsule collections to complement their core bespoke offering, whilst others have transformed into extraordinary international retail destinations – expanding the appeal of Savile Row still further, without compromising The Row’s central values of quality and service, nor neglecting its core bespoke product, which every member tailor retains as the heart of their business. With the work of the SRBA, Savile Row has undergone a timely renaissance, retaining its global reputation for quality whilst developing a new vibrancy and dominance in the luxury retail sphere. Excitingly, the Association itself is continuing to grow alongside the Row, with three more member houses joining this year alone, helping to secure Savile Row’s enduring identity in an ordinarily fickle and changing industry.
In such an environment Savile Row continues to grow from strength to strength, demonstrating its relevance and confidence, promoting British style and retaining its reputation as a global icon of men’s luxury; a reputation which the Savile Row Bespoke Association is proud to play a dominant role in upholding.