Our Menswear Dialogue Series continues this week in a discussion with Master Tailor Stephen Williams of Bespoke HQ. Image Granted - What is your title/profession/trade? How did you get into this business and why?
Stephen Williams - My trade is Master Tailor for my tailoring house, Bespoke HQ. My family were in the wool and fabric trade, and I was involved in the family business from an early age so have always had a passion for materials. I left the family business to work for Joseph Hepworth & Sons where they trained me as a tailor, before moving to a Portuguese garment manufacturers to work as a designer. From there I was headhunted by Giorgio Armani, and it all took off from there!
IG - Tell us more about where Bespoke HQ came from. Where is it going? How are you getting there?
SW - Bespoke HQ came from my love for tailoring and my desire to have my very own house of tailoring. Although Terence Trout was very much my brand, I had a partner in it, so Bespoke HQ is very much my own vision rather than someone else’s vision, which is what I want.
The name itself came from when Terence Trout was dissolved, and the contract for a collaboration with a certain luxury sportscar brand was attached to that name, and they gave us 24 hours to come up with a new one – Bespoke HQ was the result. The Bespoke HQ logo actually came from inspiration I had when visiting New York City!
We’re hoping that the brand of Bespoke HQ will become a major player in the tailoring industry, and we would love to expand and have our ready-to-wear collections in the major luxury department stores. It would also be incredible if we could show at London Collections: Men next year! Hopefully we’ll achieve all of this through hard work, determination, and continued creativity in our designs.
IG - We understand you are working on something special with one of the world's most renowned brand names in luxury vehicles. What can you tell us about this project? How did this opportunity come about? What are your plans for taking advantage of this collaboration to the fullest?
SW - Yes, at the moment I can’t really say much as it’s all still very hush hush, but I’m working on a collaboration with a very iconic British luxury sportscar brand. We’re hoping to launch in the next couple of months, and when we do, it will be a very exciting time for us. And of course I’ll make sure to tell you all about it when the collection launches!
IG - How is Bespoke HQ reaching its customers online and off?
SW - I was quite lucky in that I had a large offline following from my previous tailoring brand Terence Trout, before I started Bespoke HQ, so they all followed me to the new brand. However, with Bespoke HQ we’re trying to make the most of social media – we absolutely love it!
I find Pinterest a great source of inspiration and it’s been fantastic for referral traffic to the site. I also love Twitter as it gives me a platform to engage and talk to others who have a love for style and fashion. And then we also have the Bespoke Blog, where I write about my inspirations, events and shows I attend, and my views on the latest styles and trends. I also write about some of my appointments with well-known public figures (with the clients’ permission of course), to give people an insight into how they choose their garments, and what it’s like to be a tailor to celebrities and public figures.
As well as using social media, we’ve also reached out to customers in the online world by launching a ready-to-wear collection which is available via our online shop. Customers can also book appointments through the site, so we’re trying to connect the offline and online as much as possible to make it easier for both the customers and us.
IG - We hear you will be making a trip to NYC in the spring. Do you have plans to visit other cities in the US?
SW - Yes, we’re hoping to make it over then as spring really is a wonderful time to be in New York. At the moment we don’t have any other visits to other cities planned, as our time will be limited, but we’ll see. I’d like to visit other cities in the USA in the future.
IG - What considerations do you make when choosing a city to visit? What makes one city or customer more attractive than the next?
SW - We always take into consideration the demand for our services, so clients we already have in those cities, or new clients who would like an appointment. The cities where I have the most clients are New York, Cape Town and Dublin, so I visit those regularly. I also visit Paris and Italy quite often for trade and fabric shows, and our suppliers are in Italy for our Ready-to-Wear collection.
IG - What can the man who is interested in handmade attire expect from Bespoke HQ in the weeks, months and years to come?
SW - They can expect the launch of a new collection with a British car brand, a new shop in London, and continual innovation in the designs of every piece we create. Over the years we hope that Bespoke HQ will become the go-to place for luxury contemporary tailoring, and we’re also hoping to get the ready-to-wear collections into the likes of Selfridges, Fenwicks etc.; the big luxury department stores in London.