By now, anyone reading this article probably already knows the Oxford definition of the word bespoke. But outside of its English definition, what does “bespoke” really mean?
Since Principle M was founded in 2014, we have mainly been focused on made to measure, (and throwing nice parties, ha!) and the only clear line between “bespoke” and “made to measure” is that in MTM, you cut the suit with a block pattern, whereas in bespoke, you cut the pattern from scratch. However, if you really think about it, all cutters have their methods of cutting. Cutters have “equations” that help them to translate the measurements into patterns, and those “equations” in many ways are just like block patterns except they only exist in the cutters’ head. To further complicate the argument, technically, though rarely, a bespoke garment can be made entirely by machines, and a RTW garment can be made entirely by hand. So how do you juggle through all of these rules, terminology, gimmicks, or even traps? Once I heard from a peer who is a merchant in the industry, there are over 1,000 tailor shops in Beijing alone, I can only imagine the number being more staggering in Shanghai. How many of these shops truly know the answer to our proposed question? How many of their customers know the answers? If some of the shops actually have the answers and their customers don’t, “will they inform their customers” is a big question all on its own.
Just like your Dyson v7, iPhone 6 or whatever it may be, needs to be updated. Though we have been quite happy with our MTM offering, it is time for a proper upgrade and new line at Principle M. We’ll still be offering made to measure at Principle M for its competitive price, quality and timing, but after two years of research and development, we are finally ready to offer something more exquisite and elevating to meet our personal needs and requirements as well as our more exigent customers. Over the past two years, we have invested time and money into developing this new product. Although we are not trying to send people to the moon, we wanted everything to be right before the launch. From the quality of the making, timing, the style and ability to vary the style, the canvas and trimmings and so on…we went through them all, and multiple times. Let’s just say, “fake it till you make it” is not our preferred way of working. We wanted to make it and have a product we proudly stand behind—or stand-in in this case.
So here it is, the Principle M “semi-bespoke” line. Yes, we are rather conservative with our wording, though I dare to say our “semi-bespoke” will rival any of the “bespoke” offerings on the Chinese market today. Our new line will have a higher scye (armholes) for better movability, softer shoulders for a natural fit that is comfortable, lighter construction again for comfort, cleaner lines for a sharper silhouette, fully hand-padded natural canvas, and most importantly, you can now choose from just about any style within the classical range. Our semi-bespoke suits have a great deal of handwork and finishing such as the collar attachment, hand pad stitching on the lapels, button and buttonholes as well as finishing stitching, all which add to the art and beauty of the suit but also add to the functionality of the suit since hand stitching has more elasticity thus being more comfortable. The process takes about a month and a half and we will insist on two basted fittings for first-time customers.
In terms of “house style”, I’m reluctant to dumb down matters by calling our semi-bespoke Italian, or English, and too strong of a house style, in my opinion, is almost against the nature of bespoke. So, we’d like to leave the final style decisions to our tasteful clients when you commission your order. However, we are more than happy to guide you through the process and will keep your wishes within the appropriate boundaries.
In regards to the potential question “will I be able to, or how can I tell it’s a Principle M suit?” Well, if I may kindly return by asking a question; “Why would you want people to be able to tell who exactly made your suit?” If a suit can be told so easily and precisely about who the maker was rather than who the wearer is, then it becomes, in my humble opinion, a style failure just like that big H that so many people are still wearing slightly above their private part these days or t-shirts with letters of the alphabet all over.
We welcome all of our friends, loyal customers and new faces with this official launching of our “semi-bespoke” line. It in itself shall be a testament that we’ll continue to offer better products, better services and reasonable prices, in the years to come.