The bi-annual Golden Shears Contest was held in London yesterday. The Gild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John Baptist in the City of London, which supports the competition, is one of the Twelve Great City Livery Companies surviving from the Middle Ages. Their Contest provides young tailors of the future with an opportunity to publicly demonstrate the merits of their work as well as win £4,500 (about $7,500) in prizes. Each entrant makes a tailored outfit that is judged on its technical and stylistic merits by panels of professionals.
The Golden Shears winner, judged best out of eighty entrants, was Yingmei Quan, 29, an apprentice at Savile Row's Welsh & Jefferies. Her winning entry was a woman's coat made in a vintage woven fabric from Scotland teamed with military style slim cut trousers. Ichiro Suzuki, 30, a student at the Royal College of Art while working part-time at Henry Poole, Savile Row, won the Silver Shears.
Part of the resurgence of leadership on Savile Row since perhaps the beginning of the century, the Golden Shears, along with apprenticeship programs at firms like Rubinacci in Naples, are an indication that the craft of tailoring may continue after the post-War generation of practitioners retires. There is nothing comparable in the United States, but then arguably only Chicago's Oxxford could support extensive apprenticeship.
Kudos to the Merchant Taylors.
Photo: Jon Bradley