March 13, 2013 by Ville Raivio
“I am 39 years old and my occupation is a Bespoke Savile Row Tailor. I attended Bishop Stopford Church of England School, Enfield, until I was 16 years old. I am in a long term relationship with my girlfriend, Celia, who is now going to work with me on a full time basis. No children. My parents were very supportive, especially my mother because my first job was as a mechanic, and she was fed up washing my work clothes.
My father worked at Anderson & Sheppard and he arranged for me to start an apprenticeship at the age of 16. I immediately fell in love with the idea of Bespoke Suits and that drove me on to succeed. My father went to work every day dressed in beautifully made different Bespoke Suits. On my first day at Anderson & Sheppard I saw Elton John and Liam Neilson. How could I not be impressed?
Over the last 24 years Classic has always outlasted fads and 2 year fashions. Savile Row is not just a classic look, it has substance. The traditional methods used to make suits have carried on over the decades and the result is the most amazing quality. Quality always outlasts Fads!! I was formally trained for 9 years at Anderson & Sheppard and this taught me Bespoke Soft Tailoring. I am probably one of the few proprietors who can actually make from start to finish, a Bespoke Suit.
Anderson & Sheppard gave me all the building blocks which enabled me to go into the outside world and develop my eye and style. I have owned my own business for 13 years and in that time have rubbed shoulders with some of the legends of Savile Row. I have gleaned so much information from them and that has enabled me to constantly improve. They say that goalkeepers are at their peak in their 30’s and I think the same applies with Tailors. I feel confident that my work is of the highest possible standard and this is reflected in the steady increase in orders and new clients.
I believe that I dress in a confident manner and I know what looks good on me and what would be pushing the boundaries. I was brought up on Soft Tailoring and as I champion the cause, I show it off constantly. I firmly believe that the proprietor of a Savile Row Company should wear suits that he has made himself!! In 1990 I decided to take the plunge and set up on my own. My goals were to get the Soft Tailoring Style to as many people as possible and for them to understand the concept.
I am so passionate about the traditions of tailoring and I will trumpet it at every opportunity. I obviously wanted to build up a successful business with clients who were a pleasure to work for. I am lucky enough to be at the stage where I am working at full capacity and I have such a great relationship with my clients. I also wanted to succeed in New York and I am now in my 11th year of going there. I go 3 times a year and it now feels like a second home!!
Wear what you want and be bold. Confidence is everything. Make sure you accessorise well to show off the whole look. Don’t take advice from your mum. I am a mad keen Carp angler and travel to France to fish for a week at a time and live in a tent!! I am a Tottenham Hotspur fan and on match days my mood reflects the result!
If you are ordering Bespoke garments make sure you do the research. Speak to the Tailor who is going to cut the paper pattern and look for examples of their work. The person you see should be wearing one of their own suits. If they are not, alarm bells should ring. There is nothing wrong with stopping someone in the street and asking where they had their clothes made. A Savile Row Bespoke Suit should be made by hand and in England. Don’t be fooled by salesmen. Style is for the individual and you should choose the style that you like and feel comfortable in. Quality and style should go hand in hand.”
Pictures: © Steven Hitchcock