The Rake

The shape of things to come

“It takes nine tailors to make a man,” said the Elizabethan writer John Heywood. Well, Mr. Heywood, we have news for you. These days, we think it takes only seven. And not the seven you’d necessarily expect.

You see, we men, we simple creatures, can be depressingly narrow minded. If I say to you, “Oh, my tailor’s very good, you know”, I’m willing to bet that nine times out of 10 your mind will jump to a figure of a greying, pinstripe-clad, round-bellied man with a pair of well-worn shears in his hand. But that’s a gross misconception now. In reality, tailoring in London and beyond is thriving in the hands of a young generation comprising as many forward-thinking, creative women as it is men.

Savile Row, in particular, has done excellent work in attracting and fostering talent in both genders in recent years, with its apprenticeship schemes and close links to Newham College, in east London, and the London College of Fashion. In fact, the majority of this portfolio is made up of remarkably talented women who started on tailoring courses or Savile Row apprenticeships a few years ago.

We’re also keen to point out that this snapshot of seven brilliant women is merely a sample of the great female talent in tailoring (and in menswear generally, for that matter). We think you should know about these seven because they’re young and making waves, but credit should likewise go to those women who paved the way in a traditional industry, and to the dozens of other brilliant cutters, tailors, entrepreneurs and creatives working in tailoring today. We salute you all!

Special mention should also go to Kathryn Sargent, the first female head cutter in Savile Row’s history, and the Row’s first female master tailor. Anda Rowland, too, deserves plaudits for steering Anderson & Sheppard through both smooth and stormy seas for years: she was one of the first female business owners in bespoke tailoring, and

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