The Real Kingsman Tailors 🤵: Huntsman Savile Row | Kirby Allison

Campbell Kirby so great to see you again. Nice to see you Welcome back Huntsman Yes. Well you know it’s always a pleasure to be here in London. It’s great to see you I’m Kirby Allison and I love helping the well-dressed acquire and care for their wardrobes Join me as we explore the world of quality craftsmanship and tradition We appreciate you inviting us in and showing everyone this beautiful shopping. I just love strolling down Saville Row and kind of all the history and You know Huntsman is as much a part of this street as any other firm here so it’s such a pleasure it was such an honor to be here You’re welcome. You know Huntsman of course is one of the oldest firms here in the row. I mean certainly one of the most successful one of the most prolific You guys just opened your cutting Theater in New York City Yes. And so for those that might not be familiar with with the brand and the heritage you know help us understand a little bit about you know where Huntsman came from and how the cut really does differ from most of the other people here in the row Henry Huntsman started the business, one of the businesses in 1849 and opened up shop on Albemarle Street We moved here in 1919, so it was one hundred years, our cen tenary this year on this site, Savile Row. So in this location in this location Henry Huntsman was a bespoke livery breeches maker livery and riding garments So that’s kind of where we align our Huntsman house cut from. Its a one button high waisted, Skirty jacket with a high arm hole Yeah and very much I mean the heritage is in equestrian riding exactly as a jacket it is highly structured almost militaristic Yeah You know high armholes so that you can have freedom of movement and then a little bit of skirt so that when you’re sitting it flares out a little bit over the hips Exactly. And that house style really has you know is recognizable all across the globe. Yeah Literally Madison Avenue Park Avenue. You can spot Huntsman jacket from from a mile away It’s an iconic look And I think once people buy one suit They’re hooked They’re hooked. Well once you go to bespoke I mean it’s a totally different world I mean not just in terms of the relationship with the cutter I mean you know you’re a head cutter here I mean you’ve been here for a long time and will continue to be you know so being able to build that that meaningful and kind of deep relationship and then combining that with a garment that’s made beautifully made for you, structured you know all the integrity behind the way it’s constructed to really create something that is a lifetime garment right Yeah You guys have a lot of people that bring garments in from their father exactly grandfathers jacket and you know dinner suits that we refurbish the silk because its the silks that kind of wear out first So it’s great to be able to know if the relation is passed on, they can then wear that jacket with pride and we can alter it too so we can carry on wearing it and enjoying it So the one button cut and the slanting pocket means that it’s the most flattering of looks because the lapel rolls low and the pocket angle and the one button means that all the lines of the jacket are coming to the narrowest point So it’s the most flattering – and it’s actually the most difficult cut to cut I mean to get it perfectly just with one button Mm hmm I mean its quite difficult Anyone who’s tall and thin that’s really important where you get that button on the waist. Quite often you’re using your rock of eye you draft the pattern you fit the jacket but sometimes you’re changing that button position just depending on you know tall the torso is And so how many cutters are there I mean it starts with the cutters right so the cutters are the ones that are really serving as the foundation of the relationship Yeah I mean you travel quite extensively to America Customers can meet you here and Dario Carnera is another co head Cutter with you – on the West Coast yup and he hits the West Coast and we have Ralph Fitzgerald in New York really kind of serving the Americas Are there other cutters here? We have six other cutters here My colleague Rob travels Asia He’s basically on the road constantly. If he’s not here he’s on the road He does several cities in Asia for five weeks at a time So he’s really he travels a lot Yes But it’s great to be able to you know hold your head high in that sense of pride that you’re

you’re you’re sure to give Huntsman all across the globe Its incredible, an incredible business Yeah well I mean in some ways it’s a it’s a real global brand because you know although you guys are based here and all the work is still exclusively done here on premises and that’s never changed. Oh yeah You know you guys travel out into the world and really meet your clients anywhere Mm hmm Absolutely. We go on day trips to see clients anywhere in the world. I’ve been to Cape Town for a day, LA for a day, Russia for a day – Yeah I mean some of whom send their planes for you right. Sometimes A small bonus I guess if you’re going to be traveling it’s a little bit easier And so you know once a customer comes in and they commision something then that’s whenever your work really begins because again the core the essence of bespoke is that you know the cutter is the one you know not only with the client relationship but taking the measurements drafting the pattern And then actually coming back and fitting the garment to the customer Yes yes we are looking at a process where we’re using round about two or three fittings minimum of two usually three fittings to create a garment that evolves every time we are fitting the pattern and the garment evolve with each other so that when the garment walks out the door on customers back we have a two dimensional representation in the pattern of that three dimensional suit So any subsequent orders are slightly easier Yeah but that’s the challenge I mean and the real magic behind tailoring is that you’re taking cloth I mean its a two dimensional fabric and you’re really sculpting it to the body So you’re doing that with the pattern you know but the fittings are really you know what allow you as the cutter to see you know not only how that how that pattern drapes in the body but how the Fabric interacts with the body also we also recommend at least one fitting even if the customer has had 200 suits more because each cloth reacts differently with heat and moisture and you know hands being made by hand Yeah Well we’d love to see the cutting room can you take us back to show us – by all means yeah come ahead. Thank you So of course the Colin Hammick room Yes. Colin hammick was a quite formidable character by all accounts a real stalwart with Savile Row. You know it’s a homage to his name so that he lives on forever Yeah I mean he was a real iconic cutter for Huntsman and you know the 20th century probably you know the most important Cutter you know that you know that you guys had and you know he really helped develop a lot of ways the Huntsman house style, is that right? That’s right. Yes His his own clothes you know he would famously change twice a day And was a chain smoker so looked good in the Huntsman you know thin thin silhouette Yeah And aren’t there stories of I mean aren’t there stories of like you know Ash burns or like what’s Yes we have he’s old cutting boards downstairs as part of our kitchen bench And there’s a cigarette burns all over the place I wonder how many garments had to be thrown out because of cigarette burns you know gone astray So this is still where today you know you guys do all of your fitting so if a customers coming to London and has the opportunity to visit this shop and then you know they get the same treatment today as you know as has been going on for a hundred years – correct Yeah. This is the iconic fitting the number one Yeah Brilliant So Kirby welcome to the Kingsman room Wow. So this is from the movie? This is the inspiration that Matthew Vaughn had when he came here as a child to be dressed and clothed. This is the room that really inspired him to come up with the movie Wow So this is the second kind of, I guess you have the Colin Hammick room and the Kingsman room And this is where all the fittings are done All the movie is based on this one room Luckily they didn’t have to blow this one up for real – not quite. No you know for the movie. That was done in Warner Brothers Studios so they have an exact replica of this room done in plywood so it was really surreal walking onto that set Had you seen it Did you get to visit the set Yep yep Just finished the garments for the third one as well – Oh did you? For Kingsman 3 The outfit is due out late this year and they go back through 20- Uh sorry 1918 So it’s a prequel and um all the clothes were really of that era. So it was great fun – so you’re doing period pieces Yeah. Great fun to work on that really iconic looks Yeah. Yeah I’m really impressed with Huntsman. I mean you know just the variety of garments that you guys cut I mean it’s not just all suits and waist coats and overcoats I mean you know you guys you know both male and female and wild stuff that I guess customers bring you guys? Driving suits, Capes, – siren suits – siren suits you know you name it. You know if we can cut it and make it then- how do you guys go and find those patterns. I mean especially for the historic stuff is that a part of your archive that you’re able to go back into? We have an archive here that goes back 100 years

We recently went to the V&A to look at some period Huntsman pieces and literally they’re wrapped in cellophane You’re not allowed to touch them with ungloved hands Downstairs we have all that stuff just on hand We should probably be taking a lot better care of it. Yea, whats it Like. I mean whenever you look at a garment that’s been made you know almost 100 years ago you know as a cutter You know who’s been doing this I mean what how does it strike you? It’s just so inspiring to go back and see how things were done when you realized back then the cloths were much heavier and much more structure because there’s no central heating and therefore the cloths have lasted so well and worn so well Yeah incredible Have you drawn an inspiration from that have you like modified your patterns or your cut a little bit just based off of kind of your handling and interaction with these Absolutely the the the outfits for the third kingsman movie you can you can see elements of what we have downstairs super high armhole and lots of fullness in the sleeve So the arm hole and the sleeve really act like a hinge You know the higher up the better And it changes your way of cutting somewhat And it’s great fun Yeah. Ralph was just kind of talking about how you know he’s really tried to kind of draw inspiration from some of the old Colin Hammick pieces and come back into the office and seeing about how they did their dart or how they did a certain element of their pattern and How he’s enjoyed really incorporating that into his you know kind of standard pattern Yeah. its a nice nod to the past and to these real Infamous cutters to to take elements of it Colin Hammick sloping gorge the way he cut his double breasted slightly offset OK Little tweaks nuances like that to you know to the untrained eye would go unnoticed but to our Huntsman fans it’s a real you know nod to the past Yeah Exciting So this is your cutting theater Exactly. Yes. This is one of the best. Cutting areas in the whole of the West End London. It’s a beautiful natural light Incredible. Which is hard to find here in these older buildings The only problem as you can hear when it’s raining you can really hear and feel the weather But it’s a lovely bright place to to be able to work in daylight when you’re cutting really helps You can see here some of our past customers who have passed on this if where you end up in the – really? – infamous place – So you go up into the atrium once they’ve Their patterns rise Exactly That’s amazing – There forever That’s really special – A nice tribute I mean that’s again just one of the incredible things about a firm like Huntsman that got so much history is just that sense of tradition and Heritage where you know your customers are so much a part of your firm and then you guys are so much a part of a lot of these family’s histories. Yeah and I kind of see that multigenerational you know continuation is it’s really special and unique to London Savile Row bespoke tailoring firms It’s quite a club to belong to, being a Huntsman customer So this is something you’re working on right now. This is yep it’s almost finished this is what we call a finished bar holes finishing jacket just waiting for confirmation of one last fit to to try on it just for some minor tweaks all the lining is inside the jacket is nearly there But this is one button slanting pocket as we were talking about earlier on You can see here the the waistline really is the center of the On this one button that’s where your focus is on Yeah Huntman’s shoulders is generally a strong but natural one We don’t try and build up the shoulder too much OK So you wouldn’t have a ton of kind of roping all the way in Not so much we use just a couple of plies of a cotton damet OK. It’s much more natural and finished sleeve head the lapel generally we cut in relation to these customer’s shoulder width and height and stature This particular client has quite wide shoulders so therefore the lapel is round about 3, 3 eighths and a half OK What does it halfway Plus a little bit How do you generally it starts off about two and seven eighths and goes all the way up to four and a half but it is amazing how much an eighth of an inch can make all the difference. Really the devil’s in the details OK And is that something whenever you’re taking someone’s measurements for the first time you’re kind of working in visually kind of taking mental note that as you’re gonna draw your pattern and kind of strike the cloth That’s generally from the first the first draft of the pattern which we would strike the lapel We use a centuries old draft Pattern draft we use the measurements as coordinates So we’re using about 28 to 35 measurements to use We adapt those measurements to a centuries old draft Using the coordinates to come up with a rough outline of the pattern and then your

natural eye,rock of eye, we call it takes over when you basically ignore the measurements and your instinct and intuition your trained eye takes over That’s amazing Unfortunately you never stop looking. You know I was always taught to Always look to improve I always looked to better something. So you’ll be walking down the street on your lunch break trying to switch off You see something that doesn’t ring true and you know – it jolts you – It jars So what about the waist I mean so are you pinching the waist at all I mean can you show us kind of the skirt the slight flair of the skirt Yeah. We got quite a relatively long jacket here at Huntsman And a longer vent as well OK That accentuates the waist even further So meaning a longer vent meaning that it’s going to come up higher come up higher. And that’s probably a little bit of equestrian tradition – exactly that Yeah. Everything on the horse when you’re on the saddle was meant to stay put So that vent was cut higher to keep your jacket nice and still and tight And so it’s a longer jacket and then a slight pinch to the waist Yes. We don’t over accentuate the waistline here we know the structure through the chest is enough to give you know what an overcooked waist can be You know quite feminine. You want to really Keep it as natural as possible And I guess really balance the body and not exaggerate it Exactly. You know like I’ve got wide hips and if you pinch the waist too much it then accentuates the hips Whereas you know a good jacket cut for me is going to really buffer that so that it’s not you know visually obvious to the eye Yes Right and that really at the end of the day is going to be one of the elements of bespoke is you know we were just walking down the Piccadilly arcade and they’ve got the statue of Beau Brummel there and he’s got a wonderful quote you know says something to the effect of is that you know the the true mark of a gentleman is to not be noticed Exactly right And that is true elegance You know coming in and someone saying he looks good Not really in an obviousl – showy- way- way like in a almost kind of like an intuitive way where they just think they look They don’t really know what they’re looking at but they know it works It’s a natural elegance Yeah. The clothes.. you’re wearing the clothes not the other way around And so how do you work that I mean you’re you’re building this incredible relationship with your clients They trust you You know you guys get to know each other I mean how do you counsel new customers in terms of you know kind of helping really guide and guide them and kind of guide their fit and their cut? Obviously the name and the reputation goes for you before us But you know nowadays in modern tastes and international tastes We can’t be forced feeding our house cut on on customers So we are open to change Softer shoulder line, shorter jacket you know its the modern times we’ve got to move the times Absolutely. And then I guess at the end of the day it’s got to work for the customer. They’re the ones Who’s paying Yes of course So this is I guess you’re drafting patterns you still cut up here but this is another extension of the cutting theater. Yes This is Jack Striking out a job from the pattern that we’ve drafted This pattern will remain Immaculate throughout its life and we have patterns upstairs and around the office have been used for 20 30 40 years Wow.. even if the customer changes shape this will be amended and altered Okay And so the rock of eye, I mean, Is that really coming into the pattern or is it also coming into the striking in the fabric? In the pattern only Okay So you’re striking it Per the pattern onto the fabric Exactly that. Yes You have to be as fastidious and neat at this stage as possible That’s for consistency? Consistency, and its more respectful to give a tailor a job that goes together well and all the pieces you know want to make their life as easy as possible so their skill is really focused And so you’re drafting the pattern. Are you striking and cutting it yourself also? Yes Yes Every cutter is really kind of taking care of those bits you know Every cutter here is a striker so they are a great help to us because we can focus on you know the bits we need to, the areas of the job we need to The fitting But really you work really quite closely with your under cutter and The undercutter I guess, you know, you as is I guess the master tailor would have you know your own undercutter that works under you Yeah that’s taking the pattern that you draft, striking and then cutting Exactly Ok You really become quite a team you have to think like a team and start thinking the same things so that the best job is the outcome. Yes And then after it’s cut I guess it bundled together and then sent downstairs where

then the making begins Yes well the canvases and the trimmings are put in the job just here So that bundle goes downstairs to the coat makers but you guys are making your canvases I mean again totally from scratch Yeah. All by hand Which you know even in bespoke I mean you’ve got some bespoke tailors I mean bespoke is such a wide range It can mean so many different things and you know not only is the importance of the work going into the pattern and cutting the fabric important but the canvas is of course equally important because that’s where all the structure of the garment is And you know some bespoke tailors maybe put less work into their canvas than others you know maybe it’s a premade canvas you know maybe I mean certainly not on the row but. But you guys are really again constructing the canvases in the same way that you make the pattern Absolutely. Centuries old methodology. That’s that means there’s no corner cutting and there’s no shortcuts if that’s what you’re paying for Yeah that’s great Let’s go downstairs Lets see some of the making So quite a bit of activity down here. Yeah all done on site This is where all the work is done. This is the engine room Where they Yeah. And so you know I mean whereas a lot of you know bespoke work has done with outworkers You know here at Huntsman everything is still kind of being done on site so even if it’s an outworker, they’re coming in to do the work Why is that so important I mean why do you think that Outworkers, We still have outworkers but the ones in here we really can literally drop downstairs and juggle things around because everything’s one big production line Yeah. And we all have to be speaking the same language Yeah. And it’s about control and consistency And again with a garment at this level everything has to be on the same page Yeah. Well Yeah I mean literally the talent we’ve got here is incredible generations of talent and I’m blessed with quite quite young team here Yes It’s an exciting place You really do I mean you’re kind of seeing you guys on Instagram You guys have a lot of really young tailors and it’s great to see that energy kind of life blood coming back into it because you know 10 15 20 years ago you know it wasn’t the case. When I started it was a real glut of basically in the 80s and the 90s the tailors on Savile Row got greedy and worked with only the resources they had Whereas nowadays our chairman is really focused on maintaining and nourishing and nurturing the talent And so how much I mean how many hours go into producing a garment once it gets down here Gosh Each garment we reckon is going to be eighty hours of handwork OK. 26000 stitches A minimum of two fittings So it’s all got to be logged with production here and passed through the process as smoothly a s possible. Quality control everything else And so why. I mean so for someone that You know maybe doesn’t know a lot about bespoke You know why is all that handwork important and is it handwork for the sake of handwork because you can get a machine made garment that might look great How do you how do you describe the essence of why that’s still so important It’s the soul of the garment You know it’s the structure and the shape that will stay in the garment for life If looked after the garment will still retain that silhouette You know the manufacturing, mass manufacturing is catching up but you’ll never quite be the same as a handmade bespoke Savile Row garment And I guess its integrity because you know a lot of the You know a lot of the work that goes into a garment you know is really about You know ensuring that the garment isn’t going to fall apart or isn’t going to lose its shape Yeah right And even can survive the demands of just kind of everyday life Yeah. You know bespoke garment you can kind of be a little rough with. I mean All these stitches inside you see here all these padding stitches are basically training the canvases to take on that third dimension be you can’t really achieve with fusing with with machinery, by hand is still the best way where the collar is drawn in and stretched in certain points and you just can’t do that by machine Well and you can make something look great on a static silhouette someone standing still or on a mannequin you know but it finely tailored garment is something that you’re living in you’ve got to be able to move with it And again that’s all that handwork that really allows it to look great not just whenever you’re standing still with your arms by your side but whenever you’re working and living Functioning Exactly Yeah It’s amazing. So this is looks like it’s close to finished stage I mean the guess that collar still needs to be done it needs sleeves attached Pockets are in. That’s kind of once you know that everything’s established in terms of the length you then put the pockets,the facings are on, pockets on the inside are in

And the sleeves are yet to go in but another 20 hours of handwork still to go into this one garment and then it’s got to be finished, and pressed Yes. And so classic Huntsman I mean beautiful structure You know Peaked.. Uh.. Notched lapels, single button I mean it’s a gorgeous.. – Double vents – Double vents Yeah So High vents too. Right As we discussed earlier Yeah it’s a beautiful cloth to be working with Beautiful So what else. I mean A green velvet I imagine this is a smoking jacket It is a shawl lapel Shawl lapel dinner jacket? Ok. Beautiful cotton and silk velvet OK Really luxurious and rich And so here we can see kind of the interior structure I mean this is the canvas we spoke about I mean how many layers will we have built into this? Umm through the body will have one that goes through the full length of the body Through the chest, We’ll have four layers of canvas OK. Sometimes more if the customer has a tricky chest we have to mould around And that’s kind of again building up the structure of the chest to create shape Yeah all these stitches, the padding stitches that are put in by hand are tensioned in such a way that it’s training the canvases to take on that third dimension with shapes and cuts You can put as much suppression in patterns in the pattern as you want but unless you’ve got the canvases occupying that structure on the inside you know that’s that’s key Yeah And so then I guess after this it would be you know kind of basted together with the other bits Yeah the pockets are going into this stage Outside pockets, out breast pocket down here They’re all put in by hand by Stavros here And then it would go And then I guess you know the lapel stitching again and kind of train- That’s training the lapels to roll this way and never that way Always have that tension You can see here I just feel that tension in the hand there And that will stay in the garment for its lifetime That’s why it’s always important to take your suits to a cleaner dry cleaner that will press it by hand and not on a Hoffman press Because certain dry cleaners will get hold of all that shape and try and press it out Press it out I’ve seen garments ruined by Really? Yeah I always say the lifetime of a garment can be measured in how many times it’s gone to the dry cleaners. Yeah And often times all it takes is once- Once! Exactly that Yeah. You want to be taking your.. somewhere that will press it by hand Yeah the traditional way It’s important So you can see here the garment lapel being pressed Its amazing to me. I mean you often think about all the work that’s done in the you know just the pad stitching and the handwork and the sewing But you know pressing is just as an important part of the garment as the handwork! Every single process the garment goes through Keichi here will be underpressing the garment so it will Pressing open the seams Roll into the collar It’s all done Incrementally And it’s. And it’s a real skill to be able to press properly too. And it takes time There’s no shortcuts you know to present garment properly when it’s finished Two hours Really. Yeah It’s amazing. You have to allow- And thats after it’s finished- after it’s finished you have to allow each part you’ve pressed to dry out Mm hmm. Because we’re using moisture, heat, steam It has to dry to be able to set and let to rest And you were describing earlier I mean a beautiful bespoke suit can be ruined by it’s pressing or it can be really kind of hampered. I mean you have something beautifully made but if not beautifully pressed it’s not fully kind of showing through? Quite yeah the certain less expensive dry cleaners will get hold of the shape, that we’ve lovingly put into the garment and try and press it away. You know, I’ve seen garments ruined over the years And then pressing also goes into the making where you press the shape into the trouser band You know before it’s sewn into the garment. Yep Each trouser leg is also pressed into an A shape Before we put together So it really is key You know you can, also manipulate the cloth to cater, like to myself, i’ve got a really prominent left hand shoulder blades, stretch the cloth to to go over that shoulder blade It’s amazing all the different bits that go in to you know making a beautiful bespoke garment. So it’s no wonder why Huntsman is so well regarded as one of the best bespoke tailors in the world So You know Campbell thank you so much I can’t tell you how much you know I’ve enjoyed seeing it Thank you. Cheers