Team Talk – Freddie Harris
As winter kicks in, we’re asking our team of tailors to give us the lowdown on their individual taste, style and extensive tailoring knowledge. One tailor at a time, the series kicks off with Freddie Harris, in conversation with Beth Bisney, at The Service, 32 Savile Row (where you’ll find the best coffee and cronuts in Mayfair!).
B: So let’s start with a bit of insight into your background – how long have you been in the tailoring industry?
F: Just over 4 years. After leaving school I did a course in art & design and realised I wanted to get into menswear. I got my first tailoring job by walking up and down Savile Row and the surrounding areas handing out my CV to anyone that would take it.
B: and 4 years on you’re still enjoying it?
F: It’s brilliant. I love making things that people want to keep and wear forever. When customers come in it can be really daunting being faced with thousands of cloths and that’s where I come in. We talk about styles and the kind of wear they want to get from their garments.
B: So you must really know your cloths then?
F: Definitely. It’s key for me to know as much as I can about cloths to pass on that knowledge to customers. I must admit, I do have my favourites though.
B: Do you have any specific winter favourites you’d recommend?
F: Winter cloths are definitely my thing. Summer suiting is just not as much my style. Flannels are my favourite. Dugdale’s Flannel bunch (above left) is brilliant, as is Fox Brothers flannels. HFW also do a Winter Classics bunch that’s a go-to for me. Holland & Sherry’s Classic Flannels (above right) are actually a favourite as well – they have a lot of different shades in there.
B: And what about the jacket you’re wearing? That looks like it’s keeping you toasty!
F: This is actually a ready-to-wear piece. We’re in the process of launching a full ready-to-wear collection of more casual tailored pieces. This is our green tweed jacket in a cloth from Lovat Mill, who are known around the world for their excellence in tweed production.
B: Such a nice colour that one.
B: Do you think the ready-to-wear will have an impact on the bespoke business?
F: Not with pieces like this. We’re doing the kind of things that you can mix and match with your favourite bespoke pieces. For example, the shirt I’m wearing is a bespoke shirt, ready-to-wear shirts don’t work for me; I’ll always get these made bespoke.
B: Right, so it’s more up to the individual?
F: Exactly. Most guys know what works for them. Some might need bespoke trousers but a ready-to-wear overcoat, in a 40” chest, works perfectly. Or, sometimes you might have a customer coming in to order a fully customised bespoke jacket, who will leave the shop having also bought a pair of casual ready-to-wear cord trousers. It all depends on the individual’s size, taste, budget and convenience – especially at a time like this where a lot of people want to shop online.
B: That’s interesting, it makes perfect sense really. I would also be inclined to say it’s a lot easier to visualise a bespoke jacket when you’ve got a ready-to-wear one to look at and adapt to your taste?
F: Exactly. Talking of taste, can we try these cronuts already?
B: Absolutely. Thanks for your time Freddie.