Savile Row is familiar to anyone who is even faintly familiar with the concept of a bespoke suit. The term bespoke comes from the word bespoken that can be used in a phrase such as “the suit is bespoken for ….(insert name here)”. In other words, it basically means tailor-made for a specific individual. Savile Row is a shopping street in Mayfair, central London. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the history of the street and why it is of importance.
The street itself was built sometime between 1930-1935 as part of the Burlington Estate. It was named after the wife of the 3rd Earl of Burlington by the name of Lady Dorothy Savile. In the 1800s, the nobles of the area became increasingly occupied with the thought of elegant attire and to a large extent encouraged the tailors who frequented the area. Henry Poole is known to be the father of Savile Row and this dates back to the time when he opened a second door to his late father’s tailoring operations (the second door was located on Savile Row). In 1969, the Nutters led the modernization of the street and through the 90s, some famous designers such as Richard James, Ozwald Boateng, and Timothy Everest continued in the same footsteps. In 2006, there were only 19 tailors left in the region and many complained that the increased commercialization of the area and increase in rental/land prices may drive even more tailors out of the region (this is part of the reason why the Savile Row Bespoke Association was formed – to protect the tailors of the region and their art).
If you’re ever going to be in London, this is a must visit area for you. Besides visiting the diggs for some of the world’s top tailors, visiting the last spot where the Beatles performed live and the place where their Apple Corps offices were located may also add to the list of reasons on why you would want to visit the area.
If you don’t get the chance in the near future, here is a Google street view of Savile Row (it does seem to be a narrow street and there even seems to be an Abercrombie & Fitch):