Spring season is coming to an end, one of the two times each year when perhaps two dozen of the world's better tailors and shoemakers (and the occasional poseur) go on the road to meet their customers. Most days during the Spring and Fall, a few hotel suites in New York, Zurich, Chicago and other major cities are filled with men speaking quietly while they leaf through cloth swatches and leather samples, or cross the room to test how their new shoes, or new trousers, fit. London's Henry Poole has perhaps the most ambitious schedule, visiting the U.S., continental Europe, China and Japan.
It's a process that works well for men that value bespoke clothing but live in cities without world class makers of their own. Most visiting artisans come twice a year. A man orders during one visit and has a fitting on the next, so that the completed item can be completed, paid for and sent to the customer several weeks later. The downside is that if a man is very picky about small details, he had better be prepared to fly to the tailor's regular domicile, or wait a very long time for his clothes.
There are risks to this approach of course, but they can be minimized by dealing with makers that have been making the rounds for decades. And some relative bargains may be there to be had from new guys who are out to build their reputation. Thomas Mahon and Gaziano & Girling each began business with a series of trunk shows early on, and both they and their customers benefitted. Of course, G&G in particular had a reputation from the first day.