New bespoke movement

New bespoke movement
New bespoke movement
Emergence: Early 1990s
Initial Practioners: Ozwald Boateng, Timothy Everest, Richard James
Location: London, England

The New bespoke movement is a term describing a modern development within British bespoke tailoring. Originating in the early 1990s, those tailors associated with the movement were attempting to revitalise the traditional styling of Savile Row.


Modernisation of the Row had begun in 1969, with the emergence of Tommy Nutter, however, by the early 1990s, Savile Row was facing financial crisis, 'struggling to find relevance with an audience that had grown increasingly disassociated from it.'[1] Three tailors in particular, set out to revitalise this bespoke style in order to remedy this; they were Ozwald Boateng, Timothy Everest (himself, an apprentice of Nutter's) and Richard James.[2] Having each broken away independently from the Savile Row mould, public relations professional Alison Hargreaves coined the term New Bespoke Movement to describe collectively the work of this 'new generation' of tailors.[3] Having grouped the three tailors together, Hargreaves pushed the Movement into the public arena, reaching its peak in 1997 when the three were featured together in Vanity Fair.[4] Indeed, the issue, entitled Cool Britania portrayed the tailors as the forefront of nineties style and design.[5][6]

The three men, recognizing that the qualities of Savile Row (customer service, fit and exclusivity) were highly desirable, were attempting to market the art of bespoke to attract the next generation of customer. In contrast to the secretive Savile Row traditionalists, the newcomers altered their shop fronts and utilised marketing and publicity to their advantage.[7] For example, James opened his Savile Row store in 1992, introducing a Saturday opening, something alien to contemporary Savile Row.[8]

The New Bespoke Movement was thus challenging the traditional Savile Row styling, bringing twists 'and a fine sense of colour to bespoke suits.'[9] They were able to use the techniques perfected on Savile Row to 'push the envelope of modern suit making and bespoke active wear, creating more contemporary silhouettes with bolder fabrics.'[10]

Unlike the older establishments, these men set out to garner celebrity clients, diseminate their products via supermarket chains and attract wider national and international custom, raising the profile of their new tailoring style; arguably an aim which has been achieved.[11] In 2001 Richard James was awarded the title Menswear designer of the Year, while Boateng received the French Trophee de la Mode for Best Male Designer in 1996.[12]

While these tailors encouraged a trend of modernisation among Savile Row styling, now, in 2010, these 'New Establishment' tailors are united with the Founding Fathers on the Row, ensuring continued and wide ranging appeal.[13] The New Bespoke Movement has become a legitimate part of Savile Row's long history.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Koh, Wei., 'A Note From Our Founder', The Rake, Vol 3, Issue 9, 2010. p. 36.
  2. ^ The New Generation of Modern Tailoring, [1], BBC British Style Genius. Retrieved 30 July 10
  3. ^ Lipkin, Ash J. 'Tinker, Tailor, Timothy Everest' The Arbuturian. Retrieved on 08 July 10
  4. ^ Lipkin, Ash J. 'Tinker, Tailor, Timothy Everest' The Arbuturian. Retrieved on 08 July 10
  5. ^ David Kamp, 'Cool Britania', Vanity Fair, March 1997, London.
  6. ^ Article Summary: London Swings Again! [2] Accessed 23 July 2010
  7. ^ Beazley, Mitchell (2002). Made in Britain, p40, 44-48. Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. London. ISBN 1 84000 545 9
  8. ^ Savile Row Bespoke Association: Interactive Timeline. Accessed 22 July 10
  9. ^ Walsh, John 'John Walsh: His dark materials'. The Independent 04-02-2008 retrieved 08 July 2010
  10. ^ Slenske, Michael. 'London Calling: Riding around a British tailor's bespoke world.' Best Life, October 2008; p. 80
  11. ^ Beazley, Mitchell (2002). Made in Britain, p40, 44-48. Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. London. ISBN 1 84000 545 9
  12. ^ Beazley, Mitchell (2002). Made in Britain, p40, 44-48. Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. London. ISBN 1 84000 545 9
  13. ^ Savile Row Bespoke Association: About Us Accessed 22 July 10
  14. ^ Savile Row Bespoke Association: About Us Accessed 22 July 10

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