Craig of That Dapper Chap introduces Jeff Banks of Savile Row and details the career of this much loved fashion icon.
About Jeff Banks
The 6th September 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of Jeff Banks in the fashion industry. He opened his first shop ‘Clobber’ in Blackheath, London on that day in 1964.
He has since gone on to be Womenswear Designer of the Year twice, Menswear Journalist of the Year and Retailer of the Year.
Apart from showing collections in Paris in the 70’s, creating the directional retailer Warehouse in the late seventies and creating the first fashion television programme he continues to run a vibrant design studio servicing his interests in The United Kingdom, Japan, China and Australia.
Jeff is a past president of the Chartered Society of Designers and currently the life President of Graduate Fashion Week, which he created 25 years ago. He also holds ten honorary degrees and doctorates, and in 2011 he was made Commander of the British Empire for services to Fashion.
His major passion beyond fashion is cycling, he still competes regularly and sponsors his own amateur racing team.
Jeff Banks Savile Row
In 2015 Jeff Banks satisfied a career long ambition to open a shop on the most renowned tailoring street in the world, Savile Row, and brought with him over five decades of tailoring experience.
His first task was to create a series of individual blocks that form the foundation of everything in his retail store whether it be bespoke or made to measure. All of this as well as the ready-made collection that adorns the store.
With made to measure, the measurements taken are used to adjust the blocks for each individual customer. The suit is made complete with final adjustments being made on completion.
In the case of bespoke, a full set of detailed measurements are taken during the first consultation to ascertain shape, posture, balance and proportion. Then an exclusive pattern based on the blocks is created for each customer. One or two fittings are made with finite adjustments carried out for future use. Even on completion small adjustments are carried out to ensure complete satisfaction.
Only the finest fabrics from around the world are used.
The Jeff Banks Savile Row shop is quite small but within its four walls carries a wealth of experience.
In my next piece in this series I’ll tell you all about my experience being measured for a bespoke suit, so check back here soon!
FIND JEFF BANKS
Craig of That Dapper Chap orders a made to measure shirt from Shirt Mill and takes us through the process from order to styling.
This is a sponsored post of honest and unbiased opinion
Meet Shirt Mill
Shirt Mill opened its doors in October 2015, so while it’s still a fledgling company it comes with a strong philosophy, and the guys are determined to provide an affordable tailoring service for men’s shirts which is accessible and fashionable. Their ultimate goal is to restore the craft back into men’s fashion.
Founder Amir told me “My father owns a design and sourcing service for menswear which specialises in designing and sourcing shirts for other brands. I have grown up learning about shirts and 5 years ago took over the day to day running of the company”
|Various fabrics, ready to be made into shirts|
“After doing my masters at Warwick I went to live in Bangalore to learn ‘shirts’. This involved learning everything right from growing cotton (the core component to shirting fabric), making fabric, buttons, and trims, right through to how to make a shirt”
“What I wanted Shirt Mill to do was to make shirts for the gent that wants to wear a shirt that actually fits him and where he is not compromising on the neck area so that the chest fits, or chest so that the length of the garment is correct. At the same time I wanted the shirts to be of interest, not your average Jermyn Street or Saville Row work shirts, but something that bridges the gap between formal and casual whilst still making this service accessible by not charging the earth for it. Simply put, small, medium and large is not good enough, we are to put the craft back into men’s shirts”
|The Brunswick and the Hoxton shirts|
|The Marylebone Shirt|
The shirts are made in a small unit that Amir owns in Bangalore. It started off just as an empty room and soon grew into little workshop “I spent 8 months perfecting the fit technique so as you can imagine in the process I was making a lot of free shirts for friends and family. As the demand grew I inevitably had to start increasing the number of sewing machines and tailors that I had on board before I officially opened the site to the public”
|The Newmarket shirt favored by Amir|
The guys at Shirt Mill have just started shipping to the USA and Europe and hope to expand to other parts of the world soon. Amir would also like a few stores where customers can come in and see the quality of fabric and garmenting that they offer.
He told me “I feel that this would offer us a platform to actually interact with our customers which I feel is needed. Whilst I want to make great shirts I also want to make our customers more informed with regards to what goes into a shirt”
|One of the many looms used to make the fabric for Shirt Mills shirts|
How to order your shirt
Just pop over to shirtmill.london and choose a shirt. Once you have your shirt, click ‘Make it Fit’ and then open the measuring guide and watch the video.
The video does ask you to “record to the nearest half inch” but you’ll find that there is no half inch option when you add your measurements to the site, so I’d recommend the nearest inch, just be wary of going lower as the shirt may then be smaller than you’d like for obvious reasons!
|Adding measurements is very easy|
When measuring my neck I found it easier while looking in the mirror as it’s very difficult to do without one. Alternatively get someone else to measure you, it’s so much easier!
Then just click “make my shirt” follow the checkout procedure and you’re done!
Within seconds I received an email detailing my order and a subscription email to their newsletter. So far, so good!
2 to 3 weeks later
The website states that the wait time for your shirt is 2-3 weeks, which for some may be a long time to wait. Mine arrived a little bit over the suggested timescale. I ordered it on April 1st and it arrived on May 8th so around 5 weeks.
It arrived well packed and in a cool little drawer style box. Inside was my perfectly folded shirt. It looked great but would it fit?
|The Shirt Mill gift box, a very nice touch|
|Beautifully presented in its gift box, ready to wear|
I have to admit to being a bit apprehensive when trying it on, I desperately wanted it to fit perfectly but had reservations, and feared that it may not.
|My Hoxton shirt in 100% cotton chambray|
Considering that this shirt was made for me without me being there and having any part of its manufacture other than supplying my quite rooky measurements, the shirt does fit me well.
I’m used to slim and skinny fit shirts, so it does feel a little larger than I’m used to. I do feel that the sleeves could have been a tad shorter as I did keep pulling them up. I’m not sure if that was down to manufacture or measurement, so I can’t openly criticise the Shirt Mill team for that, and it is a very minor piece of feedback.
|A close up of the details and stitching on my Hoxton shirt|
|I’m pleased with my shirt and the process even if it did take longer than expected|
It fits very well across the chest and shoulders and is a good length on me. The collar is a good fit and allows for a lot of movement. My collars are usually quite tight so it was nice to have something less constricting. It works with a tie very well, and the buttons help to keep it in place, with the tie sitting nice and high just as it should.
|The back of the shirt with fine stitching|
|The buttons on the collar keep the tie nicely in place|
|Wearing my Shirt Mill shirt with tan chinos and a vintage striped tie|
|The collar on my Hoxton Shirt Mill shirt|
What happens if your shirt doesn’t fit?
I asked Amir, and he told me “Please tell us, all of the shirts are measured by us before being sent out to our customers but mistakes can happen. If the fault is ours we will happily make another shirt for you”
So, make sure that you measure and remeasure before you add your details to the Shirt Mill website. Better still get someone else to measure for you.
When you order yours be sure to post a picture to Twitter or Instagram and tag myself and the Shirt Mill guys to get noticed.