Howay The Toon!

Michelsberg Tailoring Newcastle is now open for business!

After months of desk research and discussion with our Newcastle based customers, George and I jumped on the train to walk the streets and finalise arrangements.

My last trip to Newcastle was on a GCSE Geography field trip, so it was vital to get a feel for the place and meet suppliers.

What a cracking city. In many ways it reminded me of Leeds – atmospheric, compact, a mixture of beautiful old buildings (their Central Arcade is very much like the Victoria Quarter) and modern architecture. Read More

The Clean Inn

A question I’m often asked is, “where should I take my suits to be dry-cleaned?”

My answer is always the same:

Rule number 1: don’t use Johnsons.

Rule number 2: don’t dry clean them unless absolutely necessary.

Regarding the former, I  recently made two suits in the same Super 130’s  cloth for a chap (the groom) and his brother (best man). The best man took his to an independent dry-cleaner and it was returned in good shape. Read More

Strictly New Showroom

Today, the last piece of the Michelsberg Tailoring refurbishment programme fell into place.

My Italian table and chairs finally landed.

The table came in two boxes – one for the top, one for the base.

Taped to the base was an Allen key, eight screws, four clips and…no instructions.

“Don’t panic, Mr Mannering,” I said to young George. How hard can this be?

Fast forward two hours and I’m spitting feathers.

Red-faced, my bespoke shirt stuck to my aching back, I’m fantasising about throttling the table’s pasta-munching designer, with my throbbing hands. Read More

Downtime

This Sunday I relaxed with a gin and tonic and read a profile on Amancio Ortega in the business section of The Sunday Times.

Starting out in life as a tailors assistant, he is the ultimate ‘rags to riches’ story.

With a net worth of over sixty billion, he is the founder of Inditex, the fashion empire including brands like Zara and Massimo Dutti.

The story is a business that is obsessive about listening to its customers. An innovator, whose technology and systems allow it to respond to the market with lightening speed, leaving its competitors floundering behind. Read More

We three Kings

Introducing Michelsberg Tailoring’s next apprentice, Mr George Lewis.

Here he is below, signing his life away at Michelsberg HQ in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds.

George Lewis

Formerly selling menswear at House of Fraser, he will join the ranks on September 11th.

His initial approach to me was highly professional, and throughout the interview process, conducted himself like a gentleman.

Polite, enthusiastic, with a genuine love of clothing, I think he has many of the traits I’m looking for in, what will ultimately be, a business partner. Read More

Growing old disgracefully

The former writer A.A. Gill declared that, “in your thirties, you are too old to wear a T-shirt anywhere but in the gym, you can’t do hoodies any more, or trainers, you should be able to tie a bow tie and you can’t wear shorts in the city. Forty is when you check yourself for all the signs of being a kidult. So, no more jeans. Ever.”

A. A Gill struck me as a sophisticated, elegant man who clearly loved his bespoke suits. He wore a trilby, and ‘dressed down’ in flat caps, tweed jackets, cashmere jumpers, check shirts, flannel trousers and Northampton’s finest on his feet. Read More

Mooning in Guiseley

This month, I’ve brought to fruition a project that’s been dancing about in my mind, since clearing out my winter wardrobe.

I love the texture and drape of tweed, and it was with a sigh that I bagged up my heavy Donegal & Shetland wool jackets, to make room for the wool, silk and linen numbers for Spring.

My existing 14 to 18 ounce tweed numbers are all very British, with padded roped shoulders, horse-hair canvas in the chest and fully lined. They are perfect for keeping out the chill on a breezy Autumn stroll in God’s county, but feel like an oven if the sun’s on your back in Summer. Read More

Top Sock

On the 27th of March, I hit 44 years of age.

As well as my usual birthday presents of an annual subscription to ‘The Rake’ and ‘Carve’ magazines, I received further literary stimulation in the form of a book titled, ‘Socks: The Rule Book.’

Socks - The Rule Book

To date, when it comes to colour, I have been rather unadventurous as far as covering my rather petite sized seven feet.

Black and blue is the dominant bruising force in the Michelsberg sock drawer. Read More

The Peacock is dead. Long live the Peacock.

In this months ‘Rake Magazine’, their editor and founder, Wei Koh, heralded “a new era in sartorialism. The peacock is dead, replaced by a concern for purity and restraint.”

He writes with fluency and passion, and brought a smile to my face, as he poked fun at the foppish, flâneurs who descend on Pitti Uomo, the menswear show in Florence, to flounce about in their finest.

I’ve had first hand experience of the above, and the spectacle of thousands of over-caffeinated boulevardiers, braying and kissing in a whirling dervish of hats, suits, silk scarves and sunglasses is something to behold. Read More

Uncle Walter

This month I had the pleasure of sharing my ten-year business journey with up-and coming start-up businesses, at a Leeds Enterprise Network event, held at the Yorkshire Post offices in Leeds.

Whilst determination, enthusiasm, self-belief and luck have played a large part in keeping me on the right track (I’m hardly a big success yet!), there are  several individuals who must be credited for their guidance and support.

One was a chap called Graham Rigby. It was Graham (of the Baird Menswear Group) who trained me to measure people up, checked over all my initial orders and even (on his own time) visited my customers with me so I could watch him do the fittings. Sadly now dead, he was a cheerful, cheeky, fag smoking grafter, who loved the trade and on more than one occasion got me out of a tight spot! Read More