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How Do I Become a Bespoke Tailor?

By Mike Howells
Updated: Feb 24, 2024

A bespoke tailor is a professional who makes custom clothing based on the unique measurements and requests of a customer. This differs from more common tailoring, in which ready-to-wear clothes are merely altered, within certain limitations, to achieve a better fit, as well as made-to-measure clothing which is cut from standard patterns. It often takes years of apprenticeship and training to become a bespoke tailor, and even at that point success is not guaranteed.

In most cases, prospective tailors undergo vocational training from a relatively early age. Particularly gifted students may sign on with a clothier early on to become a bespoke tailor, but the majority only achieve this status through years of work performing alterations and other less prestigious work, at which point they can try moving on to custom work. Bespoke tailors are comparatively rare and specialized group of professionals.

One of the hallmarks of bespoke clothing is its construction from the ground up using raw fabrics. The term applies most commonly to suits, but anything made from scratch is considered bespoke. A client determines the material he wants along with specifications, such as type of cuffs and pleats, and the tailor makes the product by hand from large sheets of fabric.

This kind of clothing can be very expensive. One of the keys to become a bespoke tailor is understanding the exact desires of a customer and being able to successfully translate them into a finished product. This is not always as simple as taking the submitted design specifications and making clothes that meet them. A tailor must often interpret what a client wants and create clothes with original touches that improve upon the original rough outline.

In England and several other countries there are trade industry requirements set out that must be met for an individual to become a bespoke tailor and market himself as such. For example, a group of high-end tailors known as the Savile Row Bespoke Association in London established a series of standards required for clothing to show its trademark. Among their requirements are participation in an approved training program, consultation services for clients, and a minimum level of hand-working for much of the clothing that is sold.

Bespoke garments are not always quality products. Like chefs, mechanics, and other similar professions, not all bespoke tailors are created equal. Success is based on the merits of one's work, and those who excel at making scratch clothing see their business expand and can charge higher prices.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By customtailor — On Oct 07, 2011

Instead of becoming a bespoke tailor, why not become a bespoke reseller? Then there are special programs like if you are interested to have your own tailoring business in your town, where you can collect the orders and then send it to them.

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