GQ’s Dylan Jones on London Menswear: Savile Row

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Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ and chair of London Collections: Men is contributing a series of guest blogs to on why London is the place to be for men’s fashion. 

Savile Row: There is no street more important to the world of menswear than Savile Row. It is here that international menswear designers come when they want to understand the principles of the bespoke suit, here where the international traveller comes when they want to buy the very best tailoring that money can buy.

There is simply no other street like it, nowhere in the world that is so dedicated to men’s clothes. The Row is also more inclusive, more welcoming and more egalitarian than it has ever been. In previous times, the Row was where you went if you were entering “society”, if you were an English gentleman, a man of the cloth or a man of letters. The middle and working classes were only encouraged if they were tradesmen, cutters or chauffeurs. The English class system was one of the strictest in the civilised world, and its manifestation was obvious in Mayfair, not least in Savile Row.

These days, however, the street welcomes the world with beautifully turned pinstripe arms, enveloping a new domestic and international customer. Times have changed, the world has moved on, and Savile Row has finally woken up to the fact that collectively it is one of the most influential fashion hubs in the entire industry.

A decade ago, should you have wandered the Row in search of some retail therapy, and should you have entered the portals of one of the street’s legendary bespoke tailors, you may have been met by an octogenarian gatekeeper who would have sized you up the second you opened your mouth. The cutting rooms would have been quiet, and the process of choosing your suit (the cloth, the cut, the style etc) would have been fairly proscriptive.

Now, though, these rooms are alive with activity, with a new generation of tailor, a new generation of customer, and a sense that far from being part of London’s long established heritage industry, Savile Row is – dare we say it? – hip.

Raise the roof.

London Collections: Men is on 6-8 January 2014

Take a look at our London Menswear Map to explore the evolution of men’s fashion in London during the past 300 years.