The stage is set for UK Wool Week
Image Robert Fairer
The Campaign for Wool launched Wool Week 2015 in style yesterday as the tailoring houses of Savile Row joined two flocks of sheep in celebrating the best of natural, renewable and biodegradable wool.
The day started with an early photocall as The Campaign for Wool Chairman, Nicholas Coleridge joined 61 young apprentices from the tailoring houses of The Row, West End and City of London to celebrate the intrinsic relationship between wool and the luxury menswear industry.
Each apprentice trains for an average of five years to reach the exacting standards required of bespoke tailoring, and as the menswear industry has seen sales rise by 22% in the last five years, according to figures released by Mintel in June 2015, demand for new young talent with the dedication and skill required at the top level is growing as never before, with some tailoring houses employing up to five apprentices each to meet the needs of their business.
In addition to the sheep, 25 models wearing bespoke wool outfits made specially for the occasion made Savile Row their catwalk for the day. Each tailoring house chose a wool textile manufacturer to work with on their look which were then grouped into three themes:
Bespoke – celebrating the finest luxury worsted mens formal wear.
Icelandic – inspired by a more woollen, rustic look, incorporating tweeds and chunky knits.
Traveller – reflective of the global outlook of the fashionable man, this story mixed woollen and worsted items with fine knitwear and wool shirting.
The tailors also threw open their doors for the day offering pattern cutting and tailoring demonstrations, rare glimpses of historical archives, and workshop tours that attracted a record number of visitors to the street.
The event was live streamed on The Campaign for Wool Facebook page and watched around the world.
Interesting statistics on Savile Row and the Menswear Industry:
1. The average age of a tailor is dropping rapidly, 10 years ago 60 + was the median age whereas now the average age is 40 and this continues to drop with the influx of new young apprentices.
2. Women make up 55% of the Savile Row apprentices and 45% of the wider Savile Row workforce.
3. This year global sales of menswear are set to reach £1bn and Savile Row, as the byword for the finest of luxury menswear is setting the tone and trend for a renewed interest in elegant and contemporary dressing for men.
4. Two apprenticeship schemes are available for young would-be tailors, the Savile Row Bespoke Association and The Savile Row Academy.