Originally trained as an engineer and architect, Roel Hendrickx started making his own clothes because it proved difficult to find the right size in retail shops. After an intensive training period at the Swiss Textile College in Zurich and the Association Formation Tailleur (École des Tailleurs) in Paris, he opened his own workshop for bespoke men’s clothing in Ghent, Belgium.
He extended his knowledge on sustainability during an online course by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion of the London College of Fashion in 2018: Fashion and Sustainability, Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World.
The difference of bespoke
A bespoke garment can be defined as: “fitted to the customer’s precise measurement and handmade locally by master craftsmen”. (Christopher Breward, The suit – Form, function and style, London 2016)
- in bespoke it is the tailor who guides you through the process and takes your measures (versus a sales-person)
- in bespoke a single personalised pattern is drafted for each piece, while in MTM the cut is one out of a series of standard ‘blocks’ with various options for corrections
- in bespoke the tailor (and his/her assistants) makes the piece locally by hand; production for MTM is done in factories by seamstresses
- in bespoke there are various fittings to adjust the balance, length and width of a piece; in MTM there is no real fitting: suits arrive quasi-finished from the factory.
Even though the nature of the production process is not a measure for quality, most of the made-to-measure companies incorrectly put forward an image of local and traditional production in their marketing and communication. Real bespoke has become very rare.