Tailor-made, or “custom-made” or “#bespoketailoring” means the creation of a piece of clothing (shirt, shoes, suit) to the morphology and desires of the client. According to the level of intervention of the tailor or the couturier, and sometimes of its geographical location, tailor-made can take various denominations, largely in France, bespoke in England, or su misura in Italy. Traditionally, tailor-made is opposed to ready-to-wear.
The half-measure is a predominantly industrial process. It consists in making a garment from a preexisting pattern. An available model is then used which is adjusted to measurements, morphology, customer demand. The choice of the fabric is much wider than for ready-to-wear, shapes, lining or buttons is then possible. The assembly is then done by the machine and some finishes may possibly be manual such as the sewing of the linings, buttonholes, or the inside of the collar; This assembly is most often carried out abroad, whether in Germany or Italy, in Western Europe more generally, as well as sometimes in Eastern Europe or China. The half-size piece requires only two to three appointments with the tailor, little manual work, and its selling price is about two to six times less than the large measure. Half measurement is sometimes considered as an alternative to “escape the imperfections of ready-to-wear and offers more possibilities of correction than the simple retouching of a ready-to-wear model”.
Some brands, such as Lanvin, the Frenchman John Aston, Savile House by Scabal – formerly a supplier of fabric that now works half-way – or the historic Cifonelli are famous for the creation of half-size suits Measure for some), with fabrics supplied by Dormeuil or Loro Pianan for example. The small measure is close to the half measure: use of an existing pattern and adaptation to the morphology of the client. But the making is handcrafted and is done by hand.
“To a large extent, nothing exists until the customer has ordered”
The great measure, the “tailor-made,” consists of making a single copy of a garment. A shirt requires ten to twenty points of body measurement, a suit about thirty. At the end of this measurement, a pattern is realized. Fifty to seventy hours of work are then necessary for the making of the costume. The choices are wide, sometimes including several thousand fabrics, as well as many other details of pockets, lapels, or seams. The vast majority of seams are made by hand. The large measure imposes a workshop most often on site, and the presence of a tailor master. It is recognized that a suit in large measure has a much longer lifespan than in ready-to-wear, sometimes several generations.
The tailor-made measurements make it possible to improve the line of the wearer, to correct his imperfections in morphology, and to give him a much better ease. Moreover, the tailor retains the measurements of the client, the small or large measure becomes a saving of time for the realization of the next pieces, although the pattern is renewed after a few years; Despite all the expectation of the product is an integral part of the tailor-made.
The English term bespoke, or bespoke tailoring, is generally considered to be the equivalent of “tailor-made” French. However, the word comes from the English verb bespeak which means “to command”. There is thus a discrepancy between the meaning generally attributed to the term and its literal meaning, born at a time when the difference between tailor-made and half-measures did not exist and only the difference between immediate availability and Made to order. This ambiguity of the English term was highlighted by a 2008 decision of the Advertising Standard Authority. In a June 2008 ruling, the UK regulatory body, which had received a complaint concerning an advertisement for a half-tailor, describing its products as “bespoke”, considered that “(Made-to-measure) was made-to-order, to the extent that it was manufactured precisely according to the customer’s measurements and choices and not Ready-to-wear, that the client expected a bespoke suit to be made according to his / her choices and choices [and that] the majority of people do not, however, expect the costume or entirely made by hand from a pattern entirely cut from nothing”.
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