LONDON—The largest landlord on a city street famous for bespoke tailoring wants to add more cafes, retail stores and office space.
Plans for 300 yards of Savile Row in a quiet corner of London’s Mayfair district have been opposed by some of the street’s longtime tenants.
The proposal would involve “completely changing the profile of the street,” said Andrew Lamloop, chief executive of Maurice Sedwell, one of the street’s bespoke tailors. “They are marking the end of Savile Row as a street that is the pinnacle of fine tailoring.”
The street’s largest landlord, Pollen Estate Trustee Co. Ltd., has submitted a plan to the local government council to demolish two buildings on the row and equip it with a tailor’s shop, shops, restaurants and offices at street level. The site has been redeveloped as a mixed-use complex. Moreover. The plan required relocating several tailors, in some cases completely off the street or moving along rows into his upstairs space.
“We are doing everything we can to strengthen Savile Row,” said Julian Stocks, partner at real estate consultancy Knight Frank LLP, which manages Pollen Estate’s Savile Row properties. Pollen is owned by a Norwegian sovereign wealth fund.
“Savile Row is still dedicated to tailors, but we are also looking at other types of users that would be a great fit for the row,” said Stocks. He said the demand for bespoke tailors is no longer enough to fill an entire street. ‘ he said.
Westminster City Council, which oversees the London district where Savile Row is located, gave the row “protected status” in 2016. This gives Congress the power to reject planning applications that could change the character of the street. There is no deadline for deciding on a development plan. The council did not immediately respond to questions regarding the application.
Savile Row has been synonymous with world-class men’s tailoring since the 18th century. For decades, its tailors have dressed monarchs, presidents and movie stars. But the last few years have been rough for many of Saville’s Row tailors, who specialize in handmade suits. The fabric is hand-cut and hand-stitched, and clients are often asked to come back for fittings, so the tailor can fine-tune the suit during assembly.
A custom-made suit requires about 80 hours of work and costs about $8,000. Over the years many of the street tailors have added cheaper bespoke services where the tailors work from pre-made templates rather than starting from scratch. Some offer suits or casual attire.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which has left many wealthy customers unable to return home, has added to the strain. Gieves & Hawkes, which has been making costumes for the British royal family for 200 years, laid off many staff during the pandemic. Its owner Trinity Group is the Hong Kong subsidiary of his Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co., Ltd. in China. Liquidated in JanuaryTrinity said in July it was looking for a buyer for Gieves.
These days, tailors say there’s a resurgence in demand for luxury suits offered by Savile Row. The U.S. dollar’s rise against the British pound has played a big part in drawing back U.S. customers, they say. Savile Row’s tailors typically serve customers within the row’s premises, but may travel to major international markets such as the United States and Japan several times a year to meet customers.
When Mr. Lamloop, CEO of Maurice Sedwell, first started working there in 1970, he said bespoke tailors occupied the entire length of the line. There were already restaurants, cafes, dry cleaners and clothes repair shops. The street’s first bespoke streetwear he tailor recently opened. “I accept that there are changes,” he said.
Ramroop’s business has already moved from its former location in one of the buildings currently slated for demolition to the upper floors of Savile Row.
Another Savile Row tailor, The Deck, made history in 2020 as the first women’s tailor in the streets. We are currently forced to relocate due to a development project.
Founder Daisy Knatchbull is happy to move to a larger space on the same row. Pollen Estate has been supporting her fledgling business through the pandemic, she said. She supports street updates as long as they “keep things selective and important.”
Is the era of the formal suit, and therefore Savile Row, over? Join the conversation below.
As one of Savile Row’s oldest tailors, Huntsman’s business is booming, according to Taj Phull, Huntsman’s managing director. Sales in the first half of 2022 are up 37% for him compared to the same period in 2019.
Pull says some fashion retailers that have relocated in recent years have complained that they fall short of the quality and craftsmanship that more established tailors stand for. he said he should. But he welcomes other luxury retailers, including Swiss watch brands and restaurants run by world-class chefs. They complement street tailors by appealing to the same clientele.
New developments “should be done carefully and in consultation with the traditional brands of the street,” Pull said.
write destination Trefor Moss [email protected]
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