After the Daks experience and the establishment of a healthy working relationship with M&S that is ongoing today, Tim returned to focus on his own business and forging forwards with the brand and its presence. “As we went into 2003 there was a whole reinvention of brands with Tom Ford at Gucci and everything was kicking off. We started looking at the things we were doing, how we could do them better and what else we could do. Bruton Street opened two years ago to cater for the people in Mayfair and our customers who like to stay at Claridges and The Berkeley. At some point we will establish more of a presence in the West End. On three occasions we nearly moved to Savile Row, but when we spoke to customers they said we come to you for what you do not where you are. I think we’ll do something central but not necessarily on Savile Row.”
The latest range from Timothy Everest is the creation of a bespoke casual collection, and like the New Bespoke Movement, this is set to revolutionise the world of menswear. Jeans, casual shirts, smart-casual jackets, are no longer the domain of the high street retailer and the off-the-peg market. Those discerning men who want something different, elegant and unique can now get Savile Row quality applied to their casual wardrobes as well.
“Because tailoring is much more accessible now, we’ve got to raise our game. Our goal posts are very much about British tailoring and the focus is on how we do things that fit in to today. Things like the bespoke casual movement are very important; if you go to Shoreditch House there are guys there who’ve spent a lot of money on a rare vintage coat or on short-run limited jeans, but they won’t go to a tailor because they think we only make suits. So we’ve got to reverse the mentality, and when we launched the casual bespoke collection in LA last November, we had a guy saying “I’ll have the Harrington, I’ll have the jeans, I’ll have the shirt, and by the way, do you make suits too?” And that was the response I wanted.”
Timothy Everest is a brand name with presence around the world, the embodiment of classic British style with a touch of dandy flair, and while the British Empire may be something of the past, the Everest Empire is going strong and still expanding. “We’ve opened ten shops in Japan, we have seven in Korea, we’ll have another fifteen there in year three. So Britishness is something we have left to sell. I’d like to look at key cities and take a bespoke approach, not necessarily to replicate the Georgian style we have here but perhaps a bungalow in LA or a colonial manor in Shanghai. Travelling really helps me understand where I fit in and what people think is British, and how we translate internationally. When I grew up we were this bankrupt commonwealth that was supposed to be able to do anything, and I’m very patriotic and I love all of that. But what are we good at and what do we mean to people abroad?”
Tim’s own dress sense is fluid and evolving. At the interview he wore a blue suit with a wide cut, contrary to the current trend of the slim-cut suits that Tom Ford brought back into fashion. “I always do the opposite to fashion, everything is now skinny 1950s and I’ve gone back to the 1940s wide suits. I probably look a bit period but if I was a young man it would look fashionable. I don’t want to be like everyone else. The difference is now, like a lot of people, I wear lots of different looks. It’s all micro trends now and within that the savvy customer will find things that work for them within those looks.”
Tim’s days with Tommy Nutter taught him that the personal, individual approach to bespoke tailoring is ultimately the most important thing they do when it comes to giving the customer a really unique experience and an incomparable product, and like Nutter’s, Everest’s own business caters to many different tastes. Tim is one of the few tailors to have dressed both Gordon Brown and David Cameron, and a regular client of his was the legendary Sir Percy Craddock who would travel to the East End all the way from his home in Kew. “Tommy always had a good home trade, a good mix of people and people from abroad, and that mix is very important and keeps the business healthy.”
Earlier this year, Tim was awarded an MBE in recognition for his services to British fashion. As a patriotic man with a fondness for everything quintessentially British, the MBE was the icing on what, in a career spanning over 30 years, has been a rollercoaster ride in the world of men’s tailoring. “There’s very much me, Tim, and then there’s this business, and I’ve always felt like I’m an employee of this business, so being awarded the MBE for this is a huge compliment. A few years ago I was dashing out of here after a long flight, feeling jet lagged, and a journalist asked me who’s going to save Savile Row and I shouted “I will!” And afterwards I thought, sh*t, why did I say that? But actually the people we’ve trained and inspired, like Dave Ward who’s now the head cutter at Norton’s, Christopher Tarling and John Byrne at Paul Smith, Thom Sweeney, they all worked with us and it goes on and on. So in a way we haven’t saved Savile Row but I hope our business has inspired a lot of people to work in the Row and in tailoring, and for me that’s what the MBE was about and I’d accept it on that basis.”
Like his former mentor, Tim and his brand are the quintessence of individuality and warm British hospitality, and Tommy’s gift to the world of tailoring will continue to be passed down through generations of cutters and designers, forging the way forwards and keeping British tailoring at the forefront of global bespoke fashion, be it smart or casual. “I know Tommy would’ve been very proud of what we’ve done. We still talk about him every week; his legacy is still alive in very many ways.”
In another thirty years, they’ll be saying the same things about Timothy Everest. In fact, they already are.
To view the Timothy Everest collections or to arrange an appointment for a bespoke consultation, please visit the website: www.timothyeverest.co.uk.