On Monday 20th March, the Merchant Taylor’s Hall in the City of London opened its doors to present what has been dubbed the ‘Oscars of tailoring’, the biennial Golden Shears Award ceremony.
A prestigious event in the tailoring world, the Golden Shears gives young craftsmen and women a rare chance to flex their tailoring muscles outside of the restraints of a cutting room. “I always wanted to enter the Golden Shears,” 2015’s winner Joe Holsgrove told The Rake. “It seemed only right to have something to aim for during long and difficult hours perfecting my craft.” Emily Squires (winner, 2013) couldn’t agree more. “I’d been itching to experiment with the skills I had been learning. It was a change to put them to the test in my own way and not to the specifications of a customer.”
The idea behind the competition, which sees upwards of 60 entrants every two years, is paradoxically one of unity. Yes, it’s a highly competitive standard that entrants work towards; yes, there are winners and there are those who go home empty handed, but the win/lose element actually has little to do with it. The Golden Shears brings together some of the most talented young tailors – be they apprentices or college students – and the diplomatic approach encourages participants from all walks of life and backgrounds, offering them the opportunity to show the industry what they’re capable of. This year’s winner Riki Brockman, an apprentice at Gieves & Hawkes, was nothing if not humbled by the strength of the competition. “It’s such an honour to even be in the same category,” he told The Rake following his success on the night, still looking more than a little shell-shocked. “As far as I’m concerned, everyone in there is a winner. It’s the hardest thing to do, to find the time to do this - it’s weekends, evenings, mornings of hard work.” His winning look consisted of workwear-inspired dungarees with a single breasted jacket, proof that the next generation of tailors is taking the craft in a new – and exciting – direction.