The new classic: Montague Ede's timeless tailoring
Founder Antonia Ede on reshaping the Row and how her company blends the traditional with the modern for a fresh take on bespoke suiting
Savile Row is changing and although I think the big companies are the most amazing places to learn, I really like client interaction and being more creative. So, after six years working on the Row, I've founded my own tailoring house, Montague Ede, after my family name.
I'm sharing the space on Brewer Street with bespoke shirtmaker Deema Abi-Chahine, which works really well as we have a similar aesthetic and style and we studied at college together, so we both know what we like. The amazing thing about women working in this industry is there's a real sense of community – everyone's friendly and it's hugely supportive. When I started there were just six female cutters; now there are around 20, which is brilliant.
I trained in menswear, but I make clothing for women, too. While almost anything is possible with bespoke tailoring, my signature style is unmistakably British and timeless – high armholes, high waists and a British shoulder. The thing I really enjoy about my job is making something that's not simply a trend-led fashion piece, but a beautiful handmade garment that will stand the test of time and can be passed down through many generations. For example, when I was working at Huntsman, a friend of mine brought in his great-grandfather's dinner suit which had been made by Huntsman in the 1920s – we found it in the old logs. He still wears it now and it fits him perfectly.
It normally takes ten to 12 weeks to create a bespoke garment, depending on the style and complexity of the piece. I do all the fittings, pattern-cutting, cloth-cutting and trimming up here in the atelier [in Soho], then I send the fabric to my specialist coatmakers, trousermakers and waistcoatmakers on Savile Row, who sew it all together to create a baste [a temporary piece] that the customer can try on.
When the baste comes back to me, we fit it to the customer, take it apart again, remark it, recut it and at that point, we recut the pattern so we're one-step ahead if the customer wants to order another piece. After the first fitting, the suit goes back to the tailors before the second fitting and we normally remark it before it's finished, but sometimes a third or even fourth fitting is required to make sure it's perfect.
A bespoke garment is a real investment as it's made to last. For anyone considering bespoke for the first time, a beautifully cut overcoat for a man or woman is jaw-droppingly elegant. And a sharp blue two-piece suit is incredibly versatile – you can have a standard navy suit, but if it's well cut, it's guaranteed to turn heads.
ANTONIA EDE completed a foundation course at London College of Fashion before focusing on costume design. Deciding to be a tailor, she did an apprenticeship at Hardy Amies with head cutter Stuart Lamprell for three years, then worked at Huntsman for a further three. She recently founded her own tailoring house, Montague Ede.