Sunday, 20 May 2012

Variety Pack with Gifts including, but not limited to, Golden Fleeces

I love writing the blog, notwithstanding the gaps in publication that induce sweats of guilty panic. It's genuinely thrilling, and not a little addictive, to see it now read around the world - this week the stats reveal visitors from the UK (as you might expect), the USA, Japan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, the Ukraine, Hong Kong, Germany, Spain, France and Russia. [BREAKING NEWS!!! BRAZIL x 2 JUST LOGGED IN!!] [told you it was addictive - step away from the Stats].
Our client list is as wonderfully varied - we currently have suits on the go for a director at the BBC; a local plasterer; a globally adored American music star; and the great great grandson of a British Prime Minister (whose name our client bears).
It's still the case that our goal is to design collections but this is where the road has wiggled for now and were it not for the one-off commissions we would have missed the delight of getting to know a fascinating array of individuals. 
Today the writer Jake Arnott ( came to collect his Plus Fours. He is, we now discover, one of David Bowie's favourites. And on the fly cover of his next about-to-be published novel he is wearing Bedlam's "Signor Zoot" suit! He mentioned his promotional schedule today and I added to it by asking if he might like to do a talk at Kennington's Durning Library, saved from closure by my ma and her brolly-waving mates. We like him even more now now as he didn't hesitate for a second in saying he would love to.

Writer of "The Long Firm" and other corkers, Jake Arnott in his herringbone Plus Fours
Not only our clients but the people who provide our materials and help us to create the clothes are as intriguing as they are indispensable. Having succeeded in sourcing the green kersey for the Thin Red Line jacket, our next challenge was to find a red pinstripe - harder than you might think. A gentleman came up from Southampton to the shop and said he had searched high and low for years, YEARS, but that is in what he wanted a suit created.
The mill ring around duly commenced and in the post arrived swatches of red on brown but what we wanted was red on black. And then tucked on a shelf holding hordes of dusty leather bound samples I found a scrap of the Golden Fleece a.k.a. the red pinstripe. On the end of the phone in Yorkshire, Steve told me I must be part of his good luck as earlier in the day all the electrics in his car had gone on the way t' post office and had he been on't motorway, well, who only knows how that story might have ended. I assured him the luck was all mine in finding him hale and hearty and in possession of what I needed.
He sent down a bigger sample of the cloth and our client came up from Southampton again to confirm that was indeed the stuff of his dreams. I called Steve to say luck was multiplying and that he could cut the length. "It'll have to be Monday now," he replied. "Me and Angela are at Blackpool Tower tonight defending our title at the European Ballroom Dancing Championships!"
You will be as ecstatic as I was to learn, come Monday, that they won. And, what is more, due to their inside positioning on the Ballroom scene, all the tail coats on "Strictly Come Dancing" are made from Steve and Angela's cloth.

Golden Fleeces were then flinging themselves at us after that - we went to visit funny old misanthropic Malcolm ("I drive past your shop every day at 7am and you're never open!") at the hide warehouse to get the leather to trim the red pinstripe and only turned a corner to come face to fleece with Mr Wesley's own elusive medium of lifetime's longing: electric blue sheepskin. There was not a blotch or variation in the dying, just uniform perfection.

Look at his little face, a picture of joy

And then I found mine! Shocking pink Mongolian shearling.

I already have a hat in this and you'd be amazed, no you would, how often people ask "Is that your real hair?"