Sunday, 14 October 2012

Toby Luper. Easy as 1,2,3

 There are three reasons you lose a tailor:
1.      They die
2.      You run out of money to employ said tailor
3.      The tailor messes up and you sack him

Toby Luper has been at the helm of Hemingway Tailors for over 6 years. No messing up there then. A self-confessed perfectionist, Toby has been in business for 40 years and the family business, Hemingway, invented the first Gortex raincoat in 1981. How’s that for fashion pedigree?
He hand crafts bespoke (this literally means the cloth is spoken for) suits for ladies and gents, has clients as far flung as Russia and Canada and has designed and registered tartans. 

The best thing I found about Toby (from a female perspective) is that he hand makes shirts. You heard me – he hand makes shirts. If you are of the slightly buxom build then buying a shirt off the peg from the Great British High Street will ultimately leave you feeling uncomfortable and exposed. The awful stretching of material across the chest, the slight flash of a bra beneath and the puckering of the cloth under the arms where the strain is evident all point to a sartorial choice poorly made. So you are left with two choices:  constantly pull the shirt down in the vain hope the gap will close leaving you free to get on with your job (doesn't work) or layering up (which certainly doesn't work in summer). You can almost hear the badly fitted shirt screaming as it is pulled taut “I wasn't made for this!!”

Well, it’s a good job Toby’s shirts are: made-to-measure perfection. It’s a bit off the wall but this is what the Alternative Christmas Gift Guide is all about! All shirts can be personalised with your own initials sewn onto the cuff, breast or bottom and prices start from just £165. And with each client’s personal style carefully reflected in the end product it is no small wonder that Toby proclaims,  I'm not just fitting their body, I'm fitting their mind.”

So back to 1, 2 ,3. Having met Toby, I think there is plenty of life in the well-seasoned tailor yet, taking care of option number 1. So as long as you have plenty of money to avoid option 2, I don’t think you’ll need to worry about number 3. 

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