The venerable firm of Dege & Skinner, founded in 1865, is a leading men's and ladies' bespoke tailor and shirtmaker. From its workrooms in Savile Row, London, Dege produces suits, shirts, neckties, military uniforms and riding clothes for clients around the world. The firm has one of the two most extensive travelling tailor programs that I'm aware of, visiting customers in the UK, USA, Europe, the Gulf States, and Japan on a regular basis. Last week they paused in San Francisco.
Graham Lawless, sales director, alternates with Managing Director William Skinner on the road. Outside of London, either Lawless or Skinner are the face of the firm to tailored clothing customers. Each travels most of a month each year. Says Lawless, "We don't believe we can just sit back and wait for our customers to come to us. We go where they are." He's wearing one of the firm's suits, a three button roll top.
The Dege house style evolved from its uniform work for the British cavalry in the 19th century. It's a military cut with a lot of structure, like these samples. To the left is a one button, peak lapelled odd jacket of silk and linen. On the right is a double breasted worsted. The other three coats hanging in the room when I visited were riding jackets.
Dege is the only Savile Row tailor with its own staff making bespoke shirts and neckties for customers. Robert Whittaker, who joined the firm 13 years ago from Bowring & Arundel (once among my favorite haberdashers), takes great pride in the bespoke necktie program. Dege commissions its own necktie silk, weaving just enough for four neckties in any colorway. Once the silk is sold out, it's gone forever.
Of course, bespoke clothing with a 150 year heritage is not inexpensive and the strength of the British pound means it keeps getting more so. Two piece suit prices start at £2,265 ex VAT (approximately $4,530) and blazers at £1,695 ex VAT (approximately $3,380 ex VAT). Bespoke shirts start at £142.50 ex VAT(approximately $285 USD). And it looks to me like next year the dollar cost will be still greater. But they don't have anything like this at Barney's New York.