The dream of Bespoke
I have always liked clothes for as long as I can remember. From the time when I was a little boy and got picky about what my mother put on me, to my early teens when I very consciously picked out my jeans and sneakers with great care. A milestone event that affected who I am today to a very large degree, and how I dress, happened when I was around 15-16 years old. On a bookshelf in our school library I found a newly purchased book with a red cover called ”The Gentleman - A handbook in classic men's fashion”. It was the start of a fascination and interest that has become a big part of my life. At this time I went to a private school where preppy fashion was dominating, we were a large number of blond teens that could have been taken from an ad campaign from Ralph Lauren. My dad certainly wore a suit and blazer to work quite often, but it was the sports fashion I felt close to. When I opened the book The Gentleman by Bernhard Roetzel (an author I know today and who featured me in one of his latest books, but that is a different story…) a whole new world opened up. It was an exotic world that was quite different to my own. It was about the classic and timeless men's fashion in general and the British in particular. The book, which is still relevant today even though it was written about 25 years ago, is a testament to the fact that classic style lasts for decades. It went deep and educated, inspired and instructed the reader. It’s perhaps too much to say that I became obsessed, but it’s not that far from the truth. I'm quite adaptive as a person and learned it by heart.
It led to three things:
1. I became an Anglophile without ever having visited England
2. I realized the importance of quality shoes and started saving for my first pair (of many…)
3. A dream was born to one day own a bespoke suit
I met my wife early. When I was 21, she took me to London for the first time. I was completely knocked out and absolutely loved the city. After going through Hyde Park for the first time and coming to Mayfair and Piccadilly, it felt like coming home. Now, for the first time, I got to see all the addresses I had only read about in the Gentleman's book. I will never forget the first time on the tailoring street Savile Row. A little shy and cautious, I stuck my head through the door of some of the traditional tailors and decided there and then, bespoke clothing is something I really want to wear.
Just a couple of years later, when I was 23, I received a scholarship to do part of my legal studies at a university in London. Needless to say, I accepted it in a hearbeat… So, in 2005, I had the opportunity to stay for an extended perdiod in the city that has now become my second home. I often had lectures in the afternoons and evenings since many law students had work during the days. For me it meant that, in addition to some necessary studies, I had plenty of time to become familiar with Savile Row and Jermyn Street. Almost every day I visited a tailor, shoemaker, shirtmaker, umbrella maker or some other kind of maker… At this time, I still did not have a bespoke suit. My small budget had so far only been enough to buy a few good pairs of shoes.
A year passed and I received my law degree. As a present my parents got me my first bespoke suit, now that I was about to start my career in banking. It was made by a retired tailor who was happy to offer a few cheeky jokes during my fittings. It was a navy blue classic model with 2 buttons, slanted pockets and a rather narrow waist, very British. Unfortunately, it is no longer with us. My wife and I lived for many years in an old apartment house where moths liked to crawl up the walls and munch on our wool. Sadly my first bespoke suit, which was already then quite worn, had to be binned. As the years passed and my finances became more stable along with my career progression, I have had a number of bespoke suits, jackets and coats made for me. I justify this with the fact that tailored fashion is a big interest for me. I am completely uninterested in cars, technology, football trips and other things that many men like to spend their money on. The range of tailors in Sweden is unfortunately very limited. However, there is both interest and demand. We have seen many examples of this when foreign tailors via so-called Trunk Shows regularly visit Stockholm to meet men with an interest in style.
I have tried several of these myself. The results have been varied, usually quite good. However, I think that the charm is somewhat lost when you meet in a hotel room, have to adapt to their travelling schedule and communicate with someone in English which is rarely their first language. More than once, I have experienced communication issues that have led to unwanted results.
When Götrich went through their refresh and facelift, this was exactly what I wanted. A tailor in Stockholm that I can visit whenever I want, who has a house style that appeals to me and has representatives who are very likable and pragmatic. The fact that they are connected with a tailoring house in London doesn’t make it worse. A piece of Savile Row on Humlegårdsgatan, the best of two worlds. Just the way I want it.