It may seem contradictory for an established Savile Row tailor to offer anything other than it’s bespoke offerings. After all, this is the home of handmade tailoring at its finest, but this is just what the team at Steed does. While Steed prides itself on their bespoke service, it is not lost on Edwin and Matthew that not every client is prepared for the level of complexity, time and cold hard cash it takes to commission a bespoke suit. Therefore, Steed offers a made-to-measure (MTM) collection in which the process and the product are of the highest quality possible but without the lead time and at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke garment. Matthew speaks passionately about Steed’s MTM philosophy and why he isn’t afraid to promote it alongside their bespoke service.
Today, several bespoke tailors not only in the UK, have discovered an additional revenue stream within the MTM category and understand that although the luxury apparel economy has recovered since the recession it is only a shade of its former self. With a shrinking buyers market overall and hesitant big spenders, bespoke tailors have seen the virtue in offering an entry level product for the ultimate benefit of grooming a younger and/or less capitalised customer earlier in the wardrobe process and establishing a long term relationship for decades to come versus only half that time from a more venerable clientele.
The primary benefit of the Steed MTM service is having a trained and experienced Savile Row cutter guiding you through the process from start to finish. Having a discerning “Cutter’s Eye” during both the measurement and fitting stages can’t be underestimated in creating a first class MTM experience, which simply can’t be found at high street department stores led by teams of salesmen. This often imitated but rarely accomplished technique is honed over time and is one of the advantages of working with a competent craftsman who understands the dichotomy between the two offerings.
The largest limitation of Steed MTM is that the actual garment is not made up by hand in house. Instead, the garment is assembled by skilful cutters and tailors in a European based factory with a long history of manufacturing at a manageable and more importantly, consistent level. Therefore, Edwin and Matthew present clients measurements, figuration details and style preferences to someone else instead of drafting them personally which in turn means slightly less flexibility in style choices, but not in quality within the range of capability.
So what does this mean for the current Steed customer and the potential one in the future? It means that Steed is a progressive tailoring house which understands the needs of their established clientele while recognising the pattern in which men buy tailored clothing today and they are more than prepared to offer their best product at any level to those who understand, appreciate, and admire high quality apparel.
Stay tuned for part two of this introduction to Steed MTM.