Suit lovers everywhere are up in (well-tailored) arms about a new proposal which could irreversibly change the face of the world’s most famous tailoring street. On St George’s day a group of immaculately dressed demonstrators gathered outside the proposed site of a new chain store to protest the opening.
Savile Row has been synonymous with good taste, sharp cutting and bespoke tailoring for more than two centuries, but recent plans to allow an Abercrombie and Fitch children’s store to open on the street has caused outrage amongst those who want the Row to stay just as it is.
The legacy of Savile Row
For many years Savile Row has managed to hold on to its unique position in London and has so far remained uninvaded by more modern stores. It is here that Admiral Nelson’s uniform was made. It was here that Edward the VII invented the dinner jacket – and it was here that Hollywood actors from the golden age came when they needed a waistcoat cut properly.
For more than two hundred years Savile Row has maintained its reputation as the capital of bespoke suit making and thrived on its uniqueness and its well deserved place as part of the history of fashion.
Bespoke tailoring on the rise
What seems most strange about the almost inevitable move to allow modern chain stores on Savile Row is that the demand for bespoke tailoring is actually on the rise. Many celebrated suit makers have chosen to move their businesses here in the last ten years and proved that bespoke tailoring can be adapted to suit modern tastes, whilst other tailors on the row have seen a marked increase in custom over the last few years. One tailor even revealed that CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch Mike Jeffries gets his own suits made in the very place he plans to decimate.
Savile Row – But not as we know it
What makes Savile Row stand out as the street for bespoke suit making is its refusal to follow the fad for cheap and poorly made clothes. It’s easy to buy Abercrombie and Fitch style cargo pants, printed T shirts and thongs complete with suggestive slogans on any British High Street; so is there really a need to allow this ‘throwaway’ store to open its doors on a street that as yet remains unspoiled by modern intervention?
With another application from trendy fashion chain The Kooples in the pipeline, it seems that it won’t be long before the charm of Savile Row has been ground out and it becomes just like any other High Street in the world.