Hi Kathryn, it’s such an honour to meet you. As London’s only female master Tailor you are truly inspirational…so tell me.
What does a day in the life of Kathryn Sargent look like?
I start by checking my email to see if there has been any communication from clients, many of our clients are on different time zones so it is usual to have a number of requests to deal with first thing. I like to then take some exercise and when I reach my atelier located at 6 Brook Street I check in with my team, and then to do my pattern work and most important tasks when I am fresh and am able to concentrate. I then might have a client appointment later in the morning and one or two early in the afternoon to carry out a fitting on garments ‘in process’ or to measure someone up for a new commission. It is very varied as we never know who is going to be in town visiting us, no two days are the same! I try to put some structure into my pattern making and marking up process and have an order which I like my team to do things so I think that helps keep order and calm through the constant juggling of the work.
And who is your typical client?
We do not have just one type of client, we make for both men and women which makes us quite unique. Some clients may be new to bespoke but are looking for garments that are more personally created and styled for them to meet their needs. Clients who have experience of tailoring but who are looking to move beyond a house style to garments that are created for them with a more individual and personal approach. They are looking to collaborate with me and seek my advice and skill-set on what would work best for them, the similarity that all our clients have is an appreciation for the attention to detail that we pride our work on.
What has been your most unusual bespoke request?
I once made a number of suits for a cartographer, he would provide me with maps which I would then have printed on to the linings of the suits we created for him and then match them up inside so that you could read the map accurately, the first time I made one it was quite a challenge to make the checked suit match on the inside and outside! In the creation of a bespoke garment we are used to catering for a range of requests, unusually placed pockets, interchangeable buttons, fun linings too.
What was your favourite thing to make?
I enjoy making suits and tailored outfits but I also love those classic pieces such as a great overcoat or top coat, those investment pieces that are functional, worn to shelter from the weather, keep us warm, but can be incredibly stylish too.
Who are your style icons?
My personal style icons Grace Kelly, and Faye Dunaway whose outfits in the film Network I absolutely love. The ultimate male style icon James Bond, my favourite of course Sean Connery, Cary Grant, and Yves Saint Laurent who had great style.
What or who inspires you?
My clients inspire me, I have the good fortune of meeting and creating garments for some dynamic and fascinating people. I love the human interaction that my work affords me, I aspire for the personality of my clients to come through in the clothes that I create for them. Clients are the motivation for me, and my approach is to bring out the very best in each client’s personal style.
How long does the bespoke process take on average?
On average it takes 12 weeks, from the initial consultation and measuring a new client, to then meeting with them for subsequent fittings, usually three times before their commission is completed and ready to collect. Not many people realise the craft and time that goes into creating a bespoke garment, usually over 50 hours in each commission but the investment in time and craft means that the finished garments would last for many years and be totally unique to that client.
Do you feel like it’s still a “man’s world” on Savile Row?
Savile Row will always be the No.1 global destination for men’s tailoring however I am glad to say that there are more women now than ever working in the industry in both client facing roles and in the tailoring workrooms.
What would you say to other women wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Follow your passion and if you enjoy the craft of tailoring embrace it, try to learn and practice as much as possible and seek an apprenticeship with bespoke tailoring company, there are no short cuts to acquiring the skills necessary to do this job. You will be better equipped for the future and the more skills you have the more value you will have.
Thanks so much