An Interview with Steven Hitchcock, Pt. 2 – Cut, Make, Style

Posted by: on Feb 15, 2012 | No Comments

In the second half of my interview with Steven Hitchcock, we spoke about his unique take on the classic Drape cut he learned at Anderson & Sheppard, how he fits into the new generation of bespoke tailors, and his own views on style.

As for the Drape cut, Steven is quick to point out “It all started with Scholte.  But you can’t do it like that anymore.  I don’t cut exactly like Anderson & Sheppard – I still cut a high armhole, large sleeve, soft shoulder, soft chest, but with a nice clean side-body.”

The problem isn’t the cutting method itself, but rather modern cloth’s flimsiness when compared with the hefty stuff they were working with when Scholte developed the method.  ”You can’t tailor the shape into lightweight cloth light you could with the heavy stuff 100 years ago.  You have to cut the shape right into it…it still has a lot of fullness, but we take our time and make sure it comes out clean.”

Some people get fussy when a tailor says they will only cut one style, saying that the process is not about the tailor but about the customer.  Steven defends doing things one way, and doing them that way really well, saying that ultimately everyone wins.

“At lots of tailors you’ll have one guy come in and say ‘Oh, I want a straight shoulder, built up chest, very stiff,’ and another ‘I want the Anderson & Sheppard drape,’ and the tailor says ‘Yes, yes, of course sir we can do that.’  But no they can’t.  That’s a lie.  Instead of doing one thing right they just do a mishmash poorly.  Better to do one thing that you’re really proud of.”

Being under 40, Steven is one of the younger guys on the Row.  But while he’s technically part of the new-guard, he prefers to think of himself as more establishment than that.  “I like to think of myself in Colin Harvey and Dad’s generation.  I’m trying to be them.  There are a lot of young people my age who wouldn’t make a suit the way I do.  They’d send a suit off to China or a factory to be made.  But I don’t want to do it that way.  That’s not what Savile Row’s about, and I’m passionate about producing suits the Savile Row way.”

Often there can be problems when the guy picking out cloth and discussing styling with you isn’t the guy actually making your clothes – or any clothes at all for that matter.  Steven is proud of the fact that he is a part of the entire process for his customers.  “I want people to think of me as a craftsman, not a salesman.  I can make, I can cut, and I do.  When you come to me, I meet you, I talk to you, we pick out the suit, and then I’m the one who cuts it.  You’re really getting a Steven Hitchcock suit.”  It doesn’t get any more personal than that.

Sure Steven makes brilliant clothes, but he’s also a really stylish guy in his own right.  “I think you should always wear one thing that doesn’t match.  Something completely wrong.  And then it works in a funny way.”  He tends to favor single breasted coats with peak lapels, double breasted neo-Edwardian waistcoats, and interesting cloth.  I think Rose Callahan’s brilliant pictures give a perfect sense of Steven’s style.  A little adventurous, but always in the bounds of good taste.

I recommend you check out the official Steven Hitchcock website if you’re interested in prices or specific dates for New York visits.  Generally they are in January, May, and October.

If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here.

Thank you to Rose Callahan for the photography.  Check out The Dandy Portraits.

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