The Comeback Of Made To Measure Apparel
Ask your grandparents about their favourite fit back in the day, and they’ll be leading with “this one suit/dress/coat that I had made by that tailor I used to go to”.
Sometime or other through life, each one of us have had the experience of wearing something that has been exclusively made for us, be it a sweater knitted by our grandma or pants from a designer or a fine tailoring avenue. With passing time, the wholesomeness of these memoirs has been taken over by the ever-evolving nature of our new-age wardrobes.
Tracing back the origin and the prime period of the made to measure module takes us to the 18th Century, when sewing machines first came into existence. Before the invention, tailors and craftsmen would only hand stitch the garments, making it an extremely time consuming process. The latter part of the 18th Century saw the inception of tailoring units becoming a commonality, thus giving birth to the made to measure culture.
During the early years, the practice of tailor-made clothing was perceived as a practice for the elite, provided there was way too much privilege attached to the practice, right from being able to select fabric, custom designs and fine craftsmanship, something a commoner couldn’t imagine spending on maybe more than once in a year’s time. With the increasing popularity of the practice and the introduction of cheaper fabrics and simpler mass serving forms and silhouettes, the module started flourishing in other income sectors too.
With the onset of the age of industrialization and mass production, came another advancement in the world of fashion, called Ready To Wear. The world of machines saw an exponential growth, in various forms. With devices like pattern cutters and electric stitching machines also coming into being, avenues of mass-produced clothing shot up exponentially, slowly and gradually taking away the spotlight from tailored, made to measure produce module. Brands and designers made an extra effort to keep up with the ongoing cultural and political changes, thus appealing masses and securing sales of the pre-designed narrative. While not being entirely dead, the aforementioned practice was thriving through the custom made to fit programs run by various design houses and a few tailoring avenues that had made it big.
Coming to think of it, the invention of RTW not only paralyzed an occupation, but also hampered the creativity quotient of the fashion industry. While the practice allowed one to invest into pieces of utility and adornment at a reasonable price, with lesser time involved as compared to a tailored garment, it takes away the opportunity of tweaks that the customer could make to an already existing pattern, through something as simple as suggesting a fabric, a colour story or a surface adornment of his/her choice, thus making the apparel more personal and adding more value to the purchase.
While the exhaustive mass produce industry adds ease to the act of dressing in more than one ways, the shortcomings of the same paint a worrisome picture, through ethical, ecological and moral mediums. We have often heard and dwelled over the inhumane conditions that sweatshop workers are subjected to, and the bare minimum returns they receive for the amount of work put in. When it comes to getting involved with a bespoke tailor or a design house in order to curate an outfit, an upfront payment ensures that the craftsmanship is encouraged and has also been rightfully compensated.
Limited and orderly production ensures mindful utilization of material, thus producing only as much as necessary and reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfills. Another plausible issue that the RTW production model comes with is non-inclusive sizing. A population of beyond 7 billion people simply cannot be sized in simple S, M, L and the XLs. Every person features a unique body, and deserves to wear the perfect fit. With made to measure, every small detail be it in terms of shape or size is taken into consideration, ensuring a glove-like fit and thus, complete satisfaction.
With various new subcultures and genres kicking in, the made to measure model soon started seeping into categories beyond suiting and fine tailoring. The practice took a new avatar and is now very commonly known as customization. Various labels and conscious designers have started to acknowledge the ill effects of humongous inventories and mass produced apparel; and have shifted their focus to exclusively designed fits made as they’re ordered. A few labels also offer services through which the customer gets to channel his/her vision in the form of the designer’s creativity, thus giving birth to a concept greater than simple apparel.
In an ever growing market that the country is catering to and opening up the sphere to, the made to measure model is also making waves in various genres of the fashion industry. If you’re looking to venture into the making of a fit oriented, personalized wardrobe, we have the perfect compilation of labels for you to reach out to and bring it to reality!
Starting off, there are a few labels that have established themselves in the foray of bespoke creations over the years. Known for a rather luxe treatment with design and creation, brands like Herringbone and Sui’s, SS Homme, Raymond MTM have been mainlining the art of made to measure clothing for men interested in the finer choices of dressing, right from exquisite suits and tuxedos to a precisely tailored pair of trousers.
Coming down to a slightly casual yet fashionable approach, multiple designers and design houses have been working towards normalising the practice of custom creations, and we have just the best names in store for you.
Delhi based Toffle is one of the few labels that enables the consumer to be directly involved in the making of their apparel, be it the colour selection, a motif and most importantly, the fit. The design team offers immaculate services which allow consumers to get into the smallest nitty gritties when it comes to sizing, to every last inch. For streetwear patrons in Delhi, Toffle has a wide array of the newest designs available to witness at FTC Delhi, thus enabling the customers to know the products better!
Another gem in the line of customised apparel is Vintage Stock House, a venture based out of Mumbai. The multivariate creative outlook that the label dabbles in, allows all the potential customers a wide range of products to choose from, and also allows customisations based on their thought process.
A lot of people face a dead end when they don’t find the perfect pair of denims to fit. This problem also highlights the fact that all bodies don't fit the predestined sizes produced by labels. Worry no more, Korra Jeans is here to take away all your indigo woes. A brand dedicated to making custom denims, Korra makes sure they make the right fit for you, based on a few answers from the consumer end, and also facilitates free of cost alterations if the pair doesn’t do justice to the wearer after a few wear downs.
A concept that revived the feeling of belongingness and personal attachment with pieces from our wardrobe, has more than just a nostalgic angle to it. While reduced consumption of fast fashion as a whole seems like an impossible feat to achieve globally, one can definitely start by changing the pace and consuming more ethically and morally, and the concept of wearing exclusive yet affordable tailored clothing is here to enable the same. The made to measure model has slowly but steadily started creeping back into the bigger picture, and we think, it is here to stay.