You don't necessarily need to have a background in fashion to successfully design your own suit. With a little bit of curiosity, creativity and a desire to wear something above and beyond the ordinary—and with the help of UK fashion brand REISS—style enthusiasts can do exactly that. Their recently launched personal tailoring experience (new to the US, but already successful in the UK) allows a direct course to a final bespoke product for anyone with the desire to realize their vision.
REISS built a 17-step custom process, and while that may seem like a lot, apart from the final fitting, 16 can be done within an hour (longer if you'd like to really ruminate on all the options). The highly exhaustive but approachable undertaking begins with fabrics. There are a total of 50 different British and Italian fabric options in a variation of colors, patterns and weight—and seasonal use plays an important role. This segues into the next step: usage. There are variations in style for suits that will be worn almost every day, for special occasions or black tie events. Once functionality has been decided, it's all about perfecting the jacket, starting with the fit. Then, by individually addressing the lapels, pockets and vents—each with numerous options—the process becomes about the details. The tailors encourage a client to select according to his heart's desire, but offer valuable insight when it comes to color combinations and cut.
Further customization on the jacket includes the lining, piping and every single button. Also, the melton found under the collar and each button hole stand as opportunities to make the jacket uniquely yours. If a three-piece suit is the chosen path, next comes the waistcoat followed by trousers. The tailor then measures the client from head to toe. After any and every request is incorporated into your suit, the order is sent out and a four to six week assembly period takes place—a reasonable amount of time for something built from scratch.
"The idea of a consumer functioning as a part of the design process, as for aesthetics and coloring options and more, that's the value in this," explains REISS' specialist in personal tailoring, Alex McCart. "There's this added inflection of personality, depth and creativity." And for consumers, there is a thrill to that experience. When the custom suit arrives in store, one final fitting occurs and any additional requests and alterations are done—adding a few final days to the process. The finished product is the upshot of every personal decision made up until that juncture, only guided by experts in their field. The likelihood that anyone else will ever have the same suit is rare—it truly is an entirely custom creation and reflection of your own character.
The personal tailoring service is available at REISS' flagship NYC store on Bleecker Street, and appointments can be made online. REISS is planning to expand the service to other stateside locations in the near future. The starting price for a two-piece suit is $995, while a three-piece suit begins at $1,365.
Photos by David Graver