Last Thursday (13/06/13) I was privileged to be invited to the opening of Cad and the Dandy's new Savile Row premises at 13 Savile Row. My first meeting with them was just over three years ago and took place in the borrowed premises of (I think) Chittelborough and Morgan, at no 12 just next door to where they are now. While, as I described at the time, the experience was excellent and the service exemplary, that quiet downstairs room now seems a million miles from the grand and beautifully decorated surroundings on the 1st floor at no 13. Most important of all, it is all Cad and the Dandy's own, where their own cutters will work side by side with their own coatmakers and finishers, with every step done on site.
Even on Savile Row, doing everything on-site is relatively unusual, and I think is as indicative of James and Ian's enthusiasm for the whole process of tailoring as it is for their stated objective of removing some of the mystique that surrounds the process. A large part of the secret of their success is in making bespoke suits accessible, both from a financial and cultural point of view, and it's clear that ethos will continue even now they are permanently ensconced on the Row.
In a couple of weeks I shall be there for an appointment to kick off the process of having a new suit made, and will then be able to report more fully on how successful the whole venture is. In the meantime, I'll leave you with one final remarkable part of the party.
In the back of the premises, near the changing rooms, is a small room where some of the shoes that Cad and the Dandy sells are displayed. Currently, though, it's all taken up with an enormous antique loom. Acquired from a friend, and repaired with parts that had to be borrowed from a museum, it is fully functional and over the last few weeks was used to weave a completely unique length of cloth in a Prince of Wales check. James, one of the owners, was then measured (if I were feeling cruel I might suggest that James was used for this exercise rather than Ian in order to reduce the amount of cloth they needed to make...) and the cloth was cut, made and finished all on site.
Finally, on the evening of the party, James appeared standing on the cutting table and wearing the completed suit.
Although I'm not sure this is an exercise that is likely to be repeated on a regular basis (the effort involved in making small lengths of cloth on-site is unlikely to be worthwhile in comparison to buying in from a dedicated clothmaker) it's an impressive achievement and is apparently the first time a suit has been made completely from scratch, including the cloth, all on the premises of a single Savile Row tailor.