It’s Coming Home

Shears are being sharpened and the knives are out as the young guns of the tailoring trade prepare to do battle in the next “Golden Shears” tournament.

It’s a bi-annual competition and I’m proud to say that we made it to the final in 2009. This year I have two young ladies on board who are representing Michelsberg Tailoring.

First up, Miss Louise Winestone who is pictured below adjusting her “toile,” derived from the French word for linen cloth, which is basically a mock-up of a garment made in cheap material to test a pattern.

Louise, a graduate from Fashion College, was recently sponsored by us to travel with me to Pitti Uomo in Florence to help source manufacturing partners for forthcoming collections. She’s incredibly talented, a true grafter with impressive technical skills and driven to succeed. I’m really pleased with how it’s coming on. From a design point of view, there’s a nod to the Michelsberg house style, such as a closely fitted silhouette and over-sized peak lapels, but she’s stamped her own take on things with very cut away fronts and the length of the coat is shorter than usual.

One thing that I learnt from last years event is that whilst our garment (a tweed number with purple velvet trim) looked flamboyant in the workrooms, it mellowed out under the glare of the spot-lights during the cat-walk show. So, this time, we’ve selected a cloth with so much attitude, that it will knock the mighty balls off an elephant.

The second waver of the Michelsberg flag is Heather Stockwell, a second year student doing a foundation degree in fashion Design and Manufacture.

She, along with her fellow students, had to pitch design ideas to myself, Bill Macbeth (MD of the Textile Centre of Excellence) and Sam Hudson (Head of Fashion for Kirklees College) as part of a joint collaboration between us all to promote young design talent in Yorkshire.

Bottom line – this girl stood out from the pack and in my opinion is seriously gifted. Pictured below cutting out her paper patterns, her favourite designer is Jil Sander and she aspires to have her own label.

Her garment will be made up in “Yorkshire DNA” cloth woven at the Textile Centre in Huddersfield (see previous blog), and she will also be using their recently introduced manufacturing facilities which have been set-up to help young designers produce sample garments.

As for the design, check out her toile below – it’s certainly different! I love the lapel style and layered look that she’s got going on. It’s a million miles away from classic Michelsberg, but I can imagine the Japanese going mad for it in Harvey Nichs.

And that’s important – not sticking with what you know. Keeping an open mind, finding talent and giving it room to breathe. I have no doubt that Heather, with hard work and a little luck, is going to have a glittering future ahead of her.

So the stage is set with Louise and Heather the key players. As narrator, I have a message for the CEO of Gieves & Hawkes: – don’t forget to pack the trophy Mr. Henderson, because this year, it’s coming home.