What goes into the making of a custom suit? What is “junk” fashion and how is buying bespoke an act of protest against it? Nad Lawrence reveals all in this Q&A.
What are the advantages of buying bespoke over mass retail suits?
- Fit. A good bespoke suit should hug your shoulders, create a clean back, and run in a sharp, flattering line from shoulder to waist. It will also be more comfortable.
- Longevity. The work that goes into everything from the lining of the waistband to the stitching of the pockets means the suit should last longer than anything mass-produced. That handwork also makes it easier to adjust over time, and it will be adjusted by someone that has served you before and is familiar with your body and your style — unlike a salesman who is likely to change every year.
- Total Creative Control. Bespoke also offers the opportunity to develop a truly individual garment, not just in shape but in material, detail and finishing.
Are there any potential drawbacks to bespoke?
It won’t be perfect the first time
You’re opening the creative floodgates, stepping outside the mathematical rigour of mass production. It’s great fun, but there will always be things that you want to change six months later, if only because you only slowly realise what you wanted in the first place.
While your imagination is the only limit, a good tailor like me will also use their experience and sense of style to help guide you in pushing those boundaries without going too far. First-timers often make very showy suits and then barely wear them, despite their high quality and perfect fit.
Walk me through the Nad Lawrence bespoke suit creation process. What happens during a fitting session and after?
The process begins with a Negroni. For your Negroni, prepare:
- 3 cl of gin
- 3 cl of Campari bitter
- 3 cl of red vermouth
- orange slice
The Negroni is to facilitate the initial discussion as to your needs (what type of suit you are after, your ideas on the style and material if any, and the ways and occasions you may have to wear it).
There are many custom tailors who do what we do. But how we do it, no other tailor can.
We apply a new production process based on a unique, innovative, digital design process. Our system captures customers’ weight, posture, body shape and requirements for materials and designs and automatically converts them into manufacturing specifications.
The material you’ve chosen is then cut using this information, and over the course of the final fitting the fit is refined to the final product.
How have you adapted your custom fitting sessions into virtual sessions?
The COVID-19 situation made us think about our business model, and we came up with an idea which could be groundbreaking for the future: crisis makes you inventive.
We have a virtual method to take measurements with minimal physical contact. It’s as simple as downloading an app and snapping two photos. We’re currently offering an enticing 50% off to clients who send us their dimensions using this digital tool.
I think we will have fun implementing the process, and it will continue to evolve in the future.
What are some common myths and misconceptions about bespoke tailoring?
Tailoring can be scary. It’s not easy to know how to describe what you want or whether you’re getting value for money. There is a lot of ignorance about how to get a bespoke suit. But it’s not hard to become educated about tailoring: all you need is a little passion.
What sets you apart from other custom suit creators?
I am the only one who can make devils look like angels.
I am enthusiastic, I am sophisticated, I am refined, I am iconic, I am cosmopolitan and what I look like has to be exceptional — I am the closer.
I believe in elegance, I believe in taste, I believe in style, I believe in impeccable manners and etiquette, I believe that you will stand out from the crowd with my skill.
What inspired you to “declare war on junk fashion” and how does Nad Lawrence represent sustainability in the fashion industry?
Pretty much everything is going wrong in the fashion industry today.
It is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Over 140 million tons of clothing and shoes are sold worldwide every year. After being worn, 85% of them end up in landfills or are burned instead of flowing back into product and material cycles.
The problem lies in the “Fast Fashion” business model. In doing so, collection after collection is produced in high frequency. Fast-paced fashion trends are implemented immediately and cheaply and brought to customers. Disposal is part of this business model. Who ultimately carries out this disposal, whether it is the fashion companies themselves or whether the clothes end up in the garbage bags of the consumers: one way or the other, it will be disposed of.
Junk clothing refers to the purchase of large quantities of cheap clothes, often made of plastic and often made in poor working conditions. Junk fashion like junk food. Oversold, over-marketed, inferior, mass produced industrially. Junk fashion is part of bad clothing like junk food is part of malnutrition; Made to satisfy your need or hunger for a short time – with little lasting value. The expression shaped me because the alternative “fast fashion” says nothing about the damage caused by this volume of cheap consumption.
The crucial point is not that it is fast, but that it is garbage. There is little lasting satisfaction, it is bad for them, and because it has to be manufactured so cheaply in such large quantities, it has a dramatic impact – both on people and on the environment.