Steven Hitchcock Bespoke: Review
Updated: Jan 7, 2021
Oh boy. This article is one that I have been longing to write, for two particular reasons.
One - I can't emphasize more how this first commission with Steven Hitchcock is one of the best bespoke experiences I've had so far. The fitting process, the style and the technical details behind the jacket, and the quality of craftsmanship are on point. Just the thought that I could share my experience with all of you excites me.
Two - this write-up manifests a full circle I've finally come to with Tengri, namely from being on the fence about the pricing of the Tengri cloth to truly appreciating its quality and the mission behind the brand. This is a journey that lasted for almost a whole year.
And on this note, I'll jump straight to first reviewing matters related to the jacket and then the cloth, since we have quite a bit to go through today!
Let's begin by looking at the evolution of the fit of the jacket ― from when it was no more than 2 meters of cloth to its now gorgeous, complete form; all taken within 10 weeks.
As per usual, I would say having a good mutual understanding at the initial encounter is constructive for a smooth fitting process and a decent final product.
When I first went into the shop, it was clear to both of us that I want to try out Steven's interpretation of the drape cut. I have long admired it, as suggested in this write-up, for its many outstanding features. On top of that, I also wouldn't ask a tailor to make me something that is not their style as a first commission.
All of this allows Steven to focus on doing what he is best at, which ultimately contributes to an excellent first-fitting.
As you could see from the picture above, there aren't major flaws so to speak. The only small adjustments that were required are mostly on the length and the amount of drape we had.
For the former, both of the sleeves and the jacket length were a touch short. This is most likely because of the measurements Steven initially took were based on my Whitcomb & Shaftesbury ones, which are about 0.5 cm shorter on both ends.
What worths highlighting is that for a jacket that has more drape around the body, it also needs to be long enough in order to get the right balance and, if possible, elongate the silhouette. A jacket that features a too exaggerated, bulky chest and a tiny skirt is not for everyone after all.
Hence, we lengthened the jacket accordingly without compromising the look of it from being true to Steven's style.
As for the latter, as much as experimenting with more drape is always an exciting experience, Steven and I both agree that we could take in a tad of it. This way, the shape of the jacket would not overwhelm my natural silhouette, while the jacket is still comfortable to wear.
And for those of you who may be pondering that the sleeve pitch (the angle of the sleeves) seems a little bit off ― the sleeves would usually be taken out to be repositioned after the first-fitting regardless. I wouldn't be too concerned with that considering it could be easily fixed.
With everything having gone rather smoothly during the first-fitting, the second-fitting was just a mere check-up ensuring everything is correct before the interlining and the buttons are put in.
Moving onto the style and the technical details of the jacket.
In many ways, I would argue Steven's interpretation of the British drape is one that could transcend through time. You could put the jacket on the Duke of Windsor and only sharp eyes could tell it is not the same silhouette as the one created by the near-mythical Frederick Scholte, or you could put it on a Gen Z kid like me and the jacket would look just as relevant for contemporary standards.
Let me elaborate on this by looking at a few key features of the jacket.
The obvious one to start with would be the width of the lapels.
In contrast to some bespoke or MTM houses that place a strong emphasis on the lapel width and how it manifests their house style, Steven's approach to this is more practical and down-to-earth. He prefers to have the lapel width to be exactly half from the neck to the side. That way, it is perfectly-proportioned and never too stylized.
Needless to say, this is the most timeless approach to this subject matter in my opinion, considering lapel width in the fashion tailoring realm always swings towards the extremities. Perhaps, not being in style in any given moment and being just right in the proportions is the answer to ensuring longevity for tailoring.
Another key element to the style's timeless appeal is the jacket's comfortability, and this is best explained by looking at its sleeve.
If you look close enough (especially at the picture before), you may find the sleeve to be much wider than its contemporary counterparts even though the armhole is cut small and high, as Steven prefers. This makes a stark difference to, say, the Suitsupply jacket that I've posted recently on Instagram.