Updated: May 16, 2019
London Craft Week (LCW) is an annual event that showcases exceptional British (and International) craftsmanship through providing a rare opportunity for the public to discover and interact with artisans in different fields.
As someone who appreciates the amount of effort that goes into artisanry, I definitely took this opportunity to participate in quite a couple of talks, demonstrations, and events.
With the event having come to an end now, I thought it would be an excellent idea to share with you an edit of highlighted moments of LCW, which I consider to be fascinating or even eye-opening to participate. Please enjoy.
English Cut: A Lesson in Bespoke in Partnership with Carnet & Harris Tweed
To start off, one of the most intriguing events I've attended is English Cut's demonstration on how the house's bespoke garments are made, as well as a discussion on some tailoring techniques.
For those of you who aren't familiar with English Cut, the brand is actually one of the newest tailors in town which specializes in the British 'Drape' cut.
This is no surprise especially considering both the co-director (Paul ‘Griff’ Griffiths) and the creative director (Karl Matthews) both worked under Anderson & Sheppard at some point.
What differs their house cut with A&S, then, is that they cut their jackets shorter and trousers slimmer so that it could appeal to younger clients as well; something which I found to be rather common with newer tailors these days, especially with newer Neapolitan tailors.
This is by no means an attempt to be a 'cheap' version of A&S, however, as the starting point of its bespoke service is at £4500 (including VAT); making it not that much of a difference from the row tailor itself.
On a different note, I should also point out what makes the house distinguishable is its MTM service.
At first glance, starting at £1500 for its bottom-tier MTM and £2250 for its top-tier MTM, the price point of the English Cut is certainly less competitive than other MTM brands in the market.
However, this has to be taken into consideration that the house is using a software called CAD to formulate a pattern for its clients after taking 20 measurements, just to ensure a higher level of precision; and this is all done in its workshop in Japan.
Based on what I've observed during the event, the make of the MTM garments is actually quite decent.
Despite there being some issues with exact pattern-matching (something that could still go wrong even if it's bespoke, depending on the tailor you are using), the lapels of the jacket roll rather beautifully, as demonstrated in the picture above.
I would perhaps recommend it more if the service was priced even less, especially considering you could get a bespoke suit, say, from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury, or one of those uprising Italian and Hongkongese tailors for a similar price.
That said, however, if you are very keen on the British Drape cut, English Cut is certainly a brand to keep an eye on.
Budd London Shirt-Cutting Masterclass
Elsewhere, Budd shirtmakers also hosted two events, namely a shirt-cutting masterclass and a leather craftsmanship presentation by some folks over at Tusting.
The former, without doubt, needs little introduction, given the obvious fact that it's one of the gold standards in the trade for its level of craftsmanship that offers bespoke shirts since 1910.
So, with Budd's senior cutter Darren Tiernan being present to showcase the pattern-cutting process for its shirts, the event was certainly one that I couldn't miss out.
Now, I have to admit that while the demonstration was rather brief, there were after all some interesting conversations on how best to cut the shirting fabric in order to ensure consistency of the pattern.
Specifically, Tiernan highlighted the importance to envision whether the shirt would have a coherent pattern from a 360 degree when you cut the shirting fabric. Such that, you could avoid having the side seams looking rather awkward, something which is almost certain for RTW patterned shirts.
In any case, you could learn more about the house here.
Tusting Leather Craftsmanship Masterclass
Following up, Tusting Leather took its place the day afterward to showcase its leather work.
Now, it is perfectly normal if you have never heard of this heritage British Leather goods manufacturer given the fact that this has only a few stockists around the world.
What makes it stand out, however, is that unlike bigger brands, Tusting is a family-run business that manufacture their goods in their own factory in Buckinghamshire since 1875.
Since it has a strong ethos in creating leather goods that are made to last, you could rest assured that the carefully selected range of products from Tusting only uses the highest grades of leather, namely full grain leather.
Aside from the regular full grain leather, however, Tusting also offers multiple in-house developed leather options, some of which are very attractive.
Out of all their options, Sundance Floodlight is the one which I like the most. It has a rather transparent leather texture, which is achieved by infusing the leather with high wax content during the tanning process.
The end result, as William Tusting (one of the brothers from the current generation) pointed out, is that over time you could see its texture develop from a relatively conservative matte finish to a patina that has a wonderful sheen, as demonstrated above.
If that still doesn't satisfy your needs, I should also point out that the brand also offers a bespoke service; so you could pretty much customize anything from a small portfolio to a suitcase, all achievable through the house's pattern-making experts.
Find out more about Tusting here.
Steppe into Sustainable Style
Finally, the key event that I truly enjoyed among them all is 'Steppe into Sustainable Style' hosted by The house of Tengri; and the reason being Tengri shares rather similar philosophy with this blog on sustainable craftsmanship.
In brief, not only does Tengri collaborate with brands in creating high-quality garments and shoes using only the finest materials from rural Mongolia, but also it seeks to counter the wasteful Mongolian Cashmere industry by promoting more eco-friendly business practices.
Thus, it is certainly exciting to hear that the house is collaborating with Joseph Cheaney to produce comfort Goodyear welted leather shoes that replaces the regular cork with yak so it could attract more attention on such issue.
On top of that, I also had the great pleasure of chatting with the truly talented patina artist PJ @modfx7 on the sustainability and longevity of Goodwear welted shoes, as well as on the rhetoric of sustainability as a PR stunt for high street brands.
Of course, it was an even greater pleasure to witness PJ's shoes-patinating process in live action as well.
Both of these aspects about the event, however, require separate articles so that I could go more in-depth on the conversation. (The link to the them will be available here when it's published.)
In any case, you can look forward to that for now.
Photography by myself unless specified