Kunal Arora, London Bespoke Club
The London Bespoke Club is not your traditional clothing buying experience, nor should it be. Their unique approach to styling and addressing gaps in men’s wardrobes makes them a preferred tailoring destination in Toronto.
What business aspects have led to the success of London Bespoke Club?
Since our inception the major modus operandi that we’ve strived to emulate daily and will continue to do so well into future; has been to “dispense with the traditional tailoring stuffiness.”
What do we mean by this?
Let me preface that by saying; the bespoke tailoring industry has traditionally been a very exclusive one. It has for a long time been, an experience reserved solely for the aristocratic, rich and those wealthy enough to afford it. Having a singular or small group of highly trained master tailors; hand draft, cut, baste, sew, shape and finish (not necessarily in that order) a single garment was a very special experience. In today’s tailoring market, this is no longer the case. You now have some very “fun” and easy MTM experiences. These are quick, cheap and relatively stress-free but come with one major sacrifice: the quality of the garment, and fabric options can be questionable. There are limits to the amount “good or great” that can be had for $700. On the other hand you can get full bespoke with exceptional tailors starting at $3000 (or more) with that same “stuffy” old world mentality still ever present.
At The London Bespoke Club our business decision to remain approachable to the common man has largely led to our success thus far. We’ve kept our tailoring standards high and sales pressure low. We understand that no gentleman needs a $1500+ suit, when they can address that simple need with ready to wear clothing at any other mass chain (and be sold to). We cater to the wanting desire in each gentleman. Ensuring that they don’t feel pressured or sold to in any regard. This process lends to a more relaxed and natural sitting, in which we learn about our client and guide them through our process with their needs and wants in mind. A well-constructed, hand finished garment is the icing on the cake at the end of it!
What do you think is the future of tailoring? Do you see technology replacing the essential art of tailoring for instance, cutting, measuring or producing bespoke suits?
As time passes there are certain aspects of tailoring that can and will evolve to help the future of bespoke tailoring. Reducing the time that it takes to produce a high quality bespoke suit helps with the overall experience and final cost to the end user. The simple answer is this; there are aspects of tailoring that can be helped with technology, however, not all potential implementations will catch on. In my opinion, there will never be a substitute for a well trained eye and a measuring tape. Measured properly, with correct notes taken for each individual client, the pattern drafting process should also be completed by hand. Once the pattern has been drafted, the process of cutting a pattern by machine can greatly reduce what would normally take a few hours down to a few minutes (if not less). Finding that gap between hand drafting and machine cutting will be tricky.
Further down the line I believe it will be difficult, but not impossible, to find technology capable of mimicking the handmade intricacies of padding a lapel, shaping of the chest canvas and many more necessary details of garment making. Having seen a garment being made by hand; the level of fluidity and movement required for such details mentioned previously will be very difficult to replicate by machines. Garments need to flipped, rotated, turned and manipulated in multiple different directions that (I believe) only the dexterity of 10 fingers are able to accomplish so far. This dexterity requirement is yet again required for the finishing details of a boutonniere hole (regular or Milanese style) and the sewing of button holes. Pick-stitching? If you want perfect, then the AMF machine will treat you wonderfully. However if you want the imperfections of hand finished pick-stitching, there is no other substitution. At the end of the day, technology will dramatically help the speed and cost of the final garment. But in turn there will be a romance lost in the end product. If the goal is to save money, embrace technology. If the desire is to appreciate and save an art, retaining highly skilled people is a must.
What is London Bespoke Club’s unique value proposition and how do you acquire your customers?
There is a large grey area between the words made-to- measure (MTM) and bespoke. With definitions varying greatly depending on whom you ask. For the average client it is firstly important to understand what their goal is. High quality fabrics can be used for MTM as well as bespoke tailored suits. Fabric choice aside for a moment; we must first understand, is the client looking primarily for quick turnaround? Does he/she mind machine level finishing and satisfied with limited levels of customization?
More importantly, what is their body type like? Are they close to a 40R or other ready to wear sizes? If any of these questions are a yes, then MTM may adequately suit their needs. Alternatively, if they are looking for something more special, specifically tailored to their body; with the potential for more unique designs, bespoke tailoring is the only option. This is due to the higher level of customization options available coupled with superior hand construction and finishing’s topped with an endless array of high quality fabric options and internal trimmings. The London Bespoke Club gives each client the unique opportunity to create a wardrobe specific to their needs and fashion goals. As a result, their own unique style identity shines brightly, with the added benefit of knowing that their clothier will guide them in the right direction. If, however; unique is not the client’s goal and a simple British Navy Vitale Barberis Super 110’s perennial cloth will do the job; knowing that our garments are built to the most exacting standards of construction, trimmings and finishing details; should, in itself satisfy any man. Quality trumps quantity any day of the week.