Tailored Stories: An Oral History of Savile Row

“This project celebrates the history and skills of the men and women in the bespoke tailoring industry with candid stories of pride and hardship, working conditions, conflict and camaraderie and brushes with the famous and powerful. Most of all, this project puts those who have made the area synonymous with the highest quality craftsmanship at the centre of this history.”

From the digital:works website

On Wednesday the 24th June, the much-anticipated launch of the film, Tailored Stories, took place at The London College of Fashion at John Prince’s Street. The film was put together with 17 students from the Kensington & Chelsea College and The London College of Fashion in conjunction with arts and education charity, Digital Works, with backing from the Heritage Lottery.

The students have spent the last few months visiting shops around Savile Row interviewing cutters and tailors for the film, including our own Brian Lewis, who makes an appearance or two in the film. Over the period of the last few months, they accumulated over 24 hours of footage which was edited down to 40 minutes for the launch. The rest of it will be archived for public access ensuring future generations can get an idea of this diverse, knowledgeable and fascinating industry.

The launch was a great success with Matthew Rosenberg from Digital Works hosting the event who introduced the students involved. Matthew took questions from the audience after the film – along with Curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts at Museum of London, Tim Long, who was able to bring large amounts of knowledge and passion to the project.

Matthew interviewing the students & Timothy Long

Interviews were filmed by the students with digital:works on hand and additional footage, which is beautifully shot, came from Aashish Gadhvi and music by Lee Wood.

It proved to be informative, thought-provoking and an enjoyable evening with the students doing an exceptional job all round. It will be interesting to see how many choose Savile Row as a career; who knows? It does, however, illustrate that along with the ‘older’ members of The Row, and the incredible body of knowledge they have – which in and of itself is knowledge born out over centuries – will become meaningless if there is no one to pass it too. Thankfully, with the resurgence in making ensures there’s no shortage of hands and minds to take up the reigns and continue the traditions of Savile Row while making their stamp in this continuing story.

We hope you enjoy the film!