In Depth

Richard Anderson searches for the perfect pair of jeans

The Savile Row veteran talks about updating British bespoke tailoring and adding denim to his repertoire

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A historic institution, Savile Row is renowned for the finest tailoring in the world. Yet when my business partner Brian Lishak and I founded Richard Anderson Ltd in 2001, we were conscious that a more progressive outlook was needed to inject life back into the world-renowned Row.

Having both worked at Huntsman, a very traditional Savile Row tailor, we shared a strong desire to offer clients a more welcoming, contemporary setting and in 2001 we opened for business; the first bespoke tailoring house to open on The Row in 50 years.

Offering a more modern take but certainly not forsaking the quality of our cut, make and service, I feel Richard Anderson represents the perfect combination of tradition and innovative creativity. It is this approach and the wide availability of ready-to-wear garments that has lead to the house's success over the past decade and a half and a broader range of customers.

Having said this, bespoke remains an essential part of our core and we are resolute about making the finest clothes not just for the body but for the customer and his lifestyle. Our unwavering dedication to quality and personalisation has seen us dress everyone from 20-year-old entrepreneurs to sports personalities and Oscar attendees.

Our bespoke house style is based on the Thornton system – a 19th century method of cutting based on a hacking jacket style, designed for a gentleman to wear when horse riding. Distinguishing details of this method include high armholes for ease of movement, alongside slightly higher pockets and vents, to enhance and flatter the body.

In line with our fanatical zeal for perfection, no shortcuts are taken in creating our bespoke clothes. In addition to taking into account the customer’s physique, which we corroborate through 19 measurements, we study the lifestyle of the customer, allowing for bespoke clothing meticulously suited to a particular purpose. The first suit requires three to five fittings; at each stage refinements are made to ensure that the final creation is the best it can possibly be.

Our uncompromising demand for quality extends far beyond our suits. Having recognized the shortage of meticulously crafted jeans on the market to complement our tweed and cashmere sports coats, we were determined to source a true denim. Our search started with the history of the fabric and eventually led to a factory in Kurashiki, the home of Japanese denim and where an original 1920s loom weaves the most beautiful cloth.

The history of denim has seen it travel from its home in France to America and the rest of the world. Later revolutionised in Japan through improvements to the weaving process while retaining the signature selvedge, the country now arguably produces the finest denim in the world.

Traditional shuttle looms weave the cloth using a continuous cross- thread that is passed on a shuttle back and forth along the length of the bolt. As the thread loops around to make its return journey, it creates a self-edge or selvedge, which is considered a mark of ‘true’ denim.

We work with a 15oz denim that is 3-4oz heavier than what you buy on the high street. This weight means it's very structured, making it equally suitable for bespoke denim suits. The respect for heritage and an exquisite attention to the finest detail during the weaving of a cloth that is hand-dyed using traditional vegetable dyes, make Richard Anderson denim jeans a truly artisanal product.

We offer bespoke, made-to-measure (MTM) and ready-to-wear (RTW) garments. The RTW collection is a great entry point, and we have three distinct price points, with the RTW suits at around £1,200 depending on the fabric, MTM suits at around £3,000, and fully bespoke starting at £5,000.

RICHARD ANDERSON started as an apprentice at Savile Row tailor Huntsman in 1982 and had his first bespoke customers at the age of 27, becoming the youngest head cutter in the history of the company. He founded Richard Anderson in 2001 with business partner Brian Lishak; richardandersonltd.com

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