Made-to-Measure clothing is a close cousin to bespoke tailoring, which has been around for centuries and is suddenly on the rise. Despite an economic downturn the category has made a leap as male luxury shoppers turn from trendy indulgence to individuality and value. In a sense, these consumers have come full circle. Until the industrial revolution all suits were custom made, but by the mid 1800’s the introduction of ready made suits men began to embrace the ease and convenience of off the rack garments and for the most part they never looked back until now.
For some of the most celebrated suit labels the current trend appears to mark a turning point. At Ermenegildo Zegna m-t-m sales grew 31% accounting for 9% of the company’s total volume. Hickey Freeman’s m-t-m business, now 25% of the brands total is up 38%, even Giorgio Armani a more fashion driven designer saw a 10% spike in the category.
21st century technology might seem incongruous with an approach to suit making that suggest the quality and traditions of a bygone era, but m-t-m itself is a relatively modern twist on bespoke or custom tailoring. Although the terms are often interchangeable, there are distinct differences. Unlike a custom suit which starts with a pattern thats made from scratch. a m-t-m garment relies on a standard pattern which is adjusted to fit an individuals measurements. In both cases the customer chooses fabric, lining, buttons, lapel width and other details that make up the end result of a one of kind garment.
The customers profile has changed, in the past it was an older demographic, now it’s a larger age range. What’s encouraging is that if he experiences m-t-m in his 30’s or 40’s he’ll likely continue to shop that way, because he or she enjoy’s the process. Bill Cournoyer Vice President of clothing and furnishing for Bergdorf Goodman observes that the m-t-m customer tends to refresh his wardrobe every 12 to 18 months. “Once you get the measurements correct, you’re set” he says you and you’re wardrobe consultant’s relationship allows you to update whenever you want, and the experience can be addictive, but m-t-m is not just for suits, brands offer shirts, shoes, and neckwear.” At Michael Blake we are able to offer a full-canvases suit or blazer and all other m-t-m garments at a fraction of the cost, and still give the customer an unrivaled customer experience” says Michael Bennett wardrobe consultant. We offer over 300 suiting fabrics and 300 shirting fabrics that give the customer numerous options, and help him achieve individuality and project the image that he desires.