GOLDEN SHEARS AWARDS 2011
The future of the finest bespoke tailoring – indeed, the future of Savile Row – depends upon the supply of talented, properly instructed and enthusiastic craftsmen. (I will risk the wrath of the PC Brigade by indulging in the traditional usage: by ‘men’ I do, of course, mean both men and women.) This is why I found it so encouraging to go to the Finals of the Golden Shears Awards in the hall of the Merchant Taylor's Company. These Awards were begun by a gentleman for whom I have great admiration, Robert Bright (who used to run Johns & Pegg and who there made me a very fine suit – see article), and they are now overseen by another splendid fellow, Simon Cundey (of the wonderful house of Henry Poole & Co, the fons et origo of Savile Row, whence have come several of the finest garments in my wardrobe – see articles).
The awards go to the young – to those who are still learning their trade but who have already achieved very high standards in their tailoring. They are judged both by master tailors and by well-known persons who are not tailors but who have been successful in the world.
Let me be quite honest: I would not wish to wear any of the men’s garments (both men’s and women’s clothes were on show) which I saw on the catwalk. But this is hardly surprising. The contestants were making their statements with the unusual and the innovative. But it was obvious that the tailoring skill and the delight in craftsmanship were already deeply embedded in these young people. And that is why I left the Merchant Taylors’ Hall full of optimism for the future of Savile Row and that noble tailoring tradition which is such an essential part of British culture.
The pictures show Yingmei Quan (an apprentice at Welsh & Jefferies), who won the Golden Shears, with the model who wore her winning outfit of a French style coat with slim trousers; the man’s three-piece outfit in dogtooth check which won the Silver Shears for Ichiro Suzuki; and the woman’s outfit with a dark blue jacket which won the Rising Star Silver Shears for Lucinda Holbrook-Hase.