One of the things that concerned me most about setting up my own business was the competition. Not that this should be an issue. In Lincoln I feel reasonably unchallenged with the services I am offering. Bespoke clothing in most genres from fashion to vintage isn’t that oversubscribed here. But we live in austere times and competition which shouldn’t be, is.
I still shop on the high street for regular day wear and anything that would not be cost effective for me to make. I make special occasion pieces myself because it works out cheaper and I can guarantee I’ll have something unique. I am a fairly reluctant high street shopper though. Mostly because I am often disappointed with the range (expected I guess) and quality (more appalled than disappointed) of what’s generally available.
Now I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to looking for a bargain and I’ll turn my nose up at anything that costs more than £XXX a go if it’s in a shop. If you breakdown just how much it costs to make a piece of clothing manufactured in the UK it’s no wonder everyone plumps for the cheap foreign imports that, as I find more regularly, fall apart after a couple of wears. I can’t match the price of the likes of ‘a certain cheap high street brand’ – and you know what, I wouldn’t want to. Because quality counts for a lot.
I have stopped buying anything other than basics from the high street and I only shop at one of the other well known names because I have a store card and I am on a horrendously tight budget generally. But I nearly always end up taking items back for exchanges because they just don’t last.
The reality is that a bespoke made outfit is not going to cost you £30. I can’t compete with the likes of the high street on that front. But what bespoke will offer you is a range of services you aren’t going to get from chain brands.
For a start, you’ll be able to choose your own fabric. Sadly Lincoln does not have any fabric shops. Further afield Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham do have a better range of high quality outlets but to be honest Ebay is the best place to find a brilliant range at a more affordable price.
Secondly, you’ll get the design you want and a perfect fit. This is because you are measured. So whether you are super tall or shorter than the average, have curves in all the right places, or have bits you want to hide or exaggerate, your personalised design will take all of this into account.
Next – customer service. Something lacking in so much retail these days. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone came to your door and discussed your creation with you over a cup of tea, sketch pad in hand and drew the dress of your dreams right there in front of you?
Lastly, something that will last. Yes – it will last. Okay so it’s going to cost you a bit more – perhaps a lot more. But you know what? You’ll probably still be wearing that dress in 10 years if you want to. Because it will have been made by the person you saw, hand finished and yes, there is an after service for any tweaks, adjustments or last minute changes or additions.And because it is unique to you and made to your requirements it won’t go out of fashion. It will always be you.
And that’s the beauty of bespoke. There is a market for it, despite the tightly clutched purse strings we are all sadly used to these days.
But whether you’re wearing original vintage or getting your clothes tailor made, an outfit that lasts and noone else has is worth the investment. And who wants to turn up at a party wearing the same clothes as someone else?
Surely everyone wants to be the envy of the party, wearing something that no one else ever will?