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J'AIME January 2021

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skills to make coats,

skills to make coats, suits and other items for people to invest in and wear for many years.” As well as working directly for individual customers he has, over the years, made very special coats for a luxury brand in the south of England that supplies none other than Captain Tom with his coats. It generally takes Mark at least three months to make each item, which includes fittings, pattern cutting and stitching the garment. A three piece suit made with British woven wool costs in the region of £2,800, although Mark says people are less inclined to order business suits at the moment and more likely to be looking for bespoke countrywear. “People aren’t in the office and they aren’t wearing a suit to work from home, so instead they’re investing in clothes for outdoor pursuits. “At the moment I’m making a naval peacoat for a gentleman. It’s one key item that he’s going to be wearing for many years to come and probably handing down to future generations. “It isn’t cheap to have it made but it isn’t until he’s owned it for 20 years and looks back that he’ll realise that it’s been a cheap garment because he’s had so much use out of it. “A ready-to-wear coat might last you for three years before the cloth starts to go thin and you get rid of it. Where’s the economy in that?” Mark says his customers are drawn from all walks of life: businesspeople, pop stars, enthusiasts for a particular era of fashion. He says they can often be categorised as either connoisseurs or people with an unusual figure who buy items to fit them off the peg. He even has one client who was bitten on the arm by a shark and needs clothes created to fit accordingly. Perhaps because of his interest in the music scene Mark says his own preference is for flamboyant clothes, but that he always tries to gauge what might work best for the customer rather than himself. “If you have flamboyant tastes then go for a suit with a flamboyant lining, but if you don’t then you should avoid that because it’ll start to annoy you and you won’t want to wear it. “People are very critical of what they see. If someone walks into a room wearing clothes that don’t fit very well then we critique them, 8

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