25 March 2014

Henry Herbert, tailors on Vespas

You may have noticed that I've added a few more pages to the site lately. I have started compiling lists of different services readers of this blog could be interested in. I started with a list of tailors based on the British isles and I've added a list of online made-to-measure services. This is a work in progress and other pages will be added in the coming weeks. I will get back to this directory I'm trying to create in later posts, but following on from this work I will occasionally do a short presentation of one these tailors or companies.   

The first one out are the London based tailors Henry Herbert.
Henry Herbert tailors are found on 9-10 Savile Row and are tailoring bespoke garments for their customers in accordance with the long tradition of this honourable London road. Deciding to visit one of the tailoring houses on Savile Row can be quite intimidating, something I touched upon in this previous article, but as one of the latest additions on Savile Row Henry Herbert is trying change this. They are lowering the threshold for getting high quality bespoke garments. On their customised Vespas they travel around the greater London area to bring their services directly to the customers. With their Vespas equipped with measuring tapes, fabrics, chalk and pins they have all they need to make you a fully bespoke garment, without you even having to leave your home. They do, of course, also meet customers on their premises on Savile Row and on 156-158 Gray's Inn Road. They also regularly travel to New York as long as they have enough bookings.
Here's how they describe themselves on their website:
"Henry Herbert Tailors handcraft the finest bespoke suits, shirts and other garments. True to the highest standards of traditional Savile Row tailoring, all our suits and shirts are crafted in England using only the best fabrics we can source from mills in England and Scotland.
It was set up by me, Charlie Baker-Collingwood (see picture below). Customers are welcome to visit us or we are happy to meet clients, wherever and whenever is good for them with our custom built Vespa’s. We are a small firm and we work hard for our customers.
A common question I am often asked is “where were you trained?” Our tailors have a rich history of tailoring. I myself, apart from being a fully qualified motorcyclist, am also a qualified tailor too. I learned jacket making at Morley College (London), Trouser & Waistcoat making at Central St Martin’s and both shirtmaking and sewing skills at Westminster college.
But just who is Henry Herbert? Henry Herbert was once master of the royal wardrobe to both King Charles I and King Charles II and the name was resurrected by me, Charlie Baker-Collingwood, in order to continue the tradition of fine English tailoring, at affordable prices. As bespoke suit tailors, Henry Herbert is proud to support the “Pick Your Cotton Carefully” campaign as well as other industry campaigns to ensure high ethical standards."

Charlie Baker-Collingwood, founder of Henry Herbert Tailors, on one of
their trademark Vespas.
Photo: Taken from the Henry Herbert website
Henry Herbert will create anything you want but they are also more than happy to give you qualified advice if you're not quite sure of what you want or need. As well as suits and shirts, Henry Herbert will make you morning suits, dinner suits, shooting suits, overcoats or whatever other garment you desire. Below are pictures of some of their creations.

Single breasted, charcoal grey suit.
Photo: Taken from the Henry Herbert website

Single breasted three piece tweed suit in a
very nice blue colour.
Photo: Taken from the Henry Herbert website. 

A lovely three piece tweed suit with a double
breasted waistcoat.
Photo: Taken from the Henry Herbert website.
A classic chalk stripe suit.
Photo: Taken from the Henry Herbert website.

A wool overcoat with a velvet collar.
Photo: Taken from the Henry Herbert website.

8 March 2014

The Dark Knot, affordable quality

The Dark Knot started up last year with a goal of being a slightly different tie company. The aim was to produce high quality ties at an affordable price, and in addition to this put the customer in focus and give the little extra to people buying ties from The Dark Knot. These are not uncommon goals in a competitive market but far from all manage to live up to their good intentions. I do think The Dark Knot has succeeded fairly well, however.
I got my first The Dark Knot tie a few days ago and, although I've only had the chance to wear it once so far, I can safely say that there is nothing wrong with the quality. It is a woven silk tie with a two layered interlining which makes it very sturdy, and the tail end of the tie is slightly wider than one often finds which makes it perfect if you like a more accentuated knot. I normally wear a "Shelby Knot" but when I wanted to wear the new tie with a pin collar shirt I found I had to change to a smaller knot, a simple "four in hand". The ties also come in two different lengths, the regular length (58 inches) which would be suitable for most people, but if you are of a size requiring an extra long tie, there is a 63 inch option. At US$45 a piece, these ties are very good value.
My first tie from The Dark Knot. Ashford Abstract-Burgundy.
Photo: AGL
The designs span the standard range from abstract patterns to plaid and stripes, but also include some animal prints. All in all it's a nice collection which can be used for almost any occasion but, animal prints aside, the designs are rather conservative and if you're after something extravagant you should possibly look elsewhere.  
Ashby Rings - Royal Blue / Blue
Photo: Taken from The Dark Knot website

Wilton Stripes - Pinkish Red / Navy
Photo: Taken from The Dark Knot website
I must admit I'm not one who wears animal motif ties very often, hardly ever, but The Dark Knot has managed to design an animal print tie I actually would like. The navy/yellow Watermill Fish tie is very nice and I think I might get it in not too long.
Watermill Fish - Navy / Yellow
Photo: Taken from The Dark Knot website
I mentioned earlier that The Dark Knot wanted to give their customers the little extra and they do. Firstly, the tie comes in very nice packaging. This is not very important but I like it when things come nicely presented as seen in the photo below.

The ties come very well presented.
Photo: AGL
Another thing that comes included with the tie is a "label loop" which will keep the tie in place without the need for a tie clip or pin.
A "labe loop" is included with each tie.
Photo: AGL
One last thing The Dark Knot offer their customers is advice on what to wear the different ties with. Each tie comes with a description of what colour suits and shirts would work best with the particular tie. This information is also available on the website and can be very helpful if you're uncertain about colour coordination.
Suggestions on how to wear the tie.
Photo: AGL
The Dark Knot is a relatively new line of ties which I would have no problems recommending. I am very pleased with my first tie from The Dark Knot and I like that they try to do small things to make the customer experience better than average. Did I mention that the standard world wide shipping option is free?