The History of Tailoring


The history of tailoring and alterations follows the evolution of the fashion industry. Here's how to get the perfect fitting clothes.

The History of Tailoring

Tailor comes from the French word 'Tailler' meaning to cut. The modern use of tailor began in the eighteenth century. It refers to someone who makes, repairs and/or alters clothes.

Couturiers, on the other hand, have been creating one-off pieces for high end clients since the eighteenth century. Haute couture is handmade in every detail.

Bespoke Tailoring

Bespoke tailoring refers to the creation of clothing according to the buyer's specifications. This form was still popular up until the beginning of the twentieth century.

It's often confused with made-to-measure which is made from an existing pattern. This mode of production became popular because it's somewhat less expensive.

Then came the advent of men's suit separates from Hagger in the seventies. These allowed consumers to buy different sizes off-the-rack.

In women's clothing, it wasn't until couturier Charles Frederick Worth (late 1800s) that high end clothing stopped being solely unique items. He made a portfolio of work that was created and shown on live models. The garments, however, continued to be tailor-made for the buyer.

This way of making and showing a fashion line was picked up by other fashion designers. The full realisation of ready-to-wear, however, didn't happen until 1966.

Yves Saint Laurent and his eponymous fashion house were the first to show a ready-to-wear fashion collection. Although, this was the way the industry was going.

The ready-to-wear collections have since gone from strength to strength ever since. Fashion designers renew and re-imagine garments season after season. As a result, high end ready-to-wear clothing makes people less likely to go bespoke.

Clothes Alterations

Ready-to-wear, however, by definition needs to fit as many body types as possible. The result is that it doesn't fit anyone perfectly.

This is where garment alterations come in as they can fit designer clothing to the wearer. They are the best answer to getting the best fit.

Alterations can take-in, let-out, lengthen, shorten, lift and lower clothing. They also keep the outfits in proportion and maintain the designer's vision.

Our Tailoring and Alterations

Stella McCartney Menswear

Our fitter Edwina during a fitting with Evan Li Yifeng for Stella McCartney menswear Spring 2017 launch. We also fitted the jacket he wore to the event as seen with the designer and Orlando Bloom.

Men's ready-to-wear has been growing in popularity and we're looking forward to more from this brand.

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(Images from Evan Yi Feng)