Craft / November 2015

The Cutting Edge: Michael Browne, Chittleborough & Morgan

Change is afoot in the hallowed halls of Savile Row, as the British bespoke tailoring industry adapts to the changing nature of menswear. A new generation of talented craftsmen is…

It is with no small trepidation that I must inform you dear reader, in the corridors of tailoring-power; an existential crisis is afoot. The last few years have heralded a seminal shift in luxury menswear; dress codes are devolving and the requirements of modern tailoring have become more fluid. Multi-functional clothing is now de rigueur, as outlined in 'Rakecreation: The Rise of Casual-Formal', penned by our dear Founder last month. Whilst one suspects, peering through the mullioned windows of Savile Row, that certain ranks within the old guard are sensing an impending sartorial Armageddon, hope endures. Other quarters are more optimistic, believing (as The Rake does) that this seismic shift in menswear has the potential to pilot the suit's evolution to ever-loftier heights. In particular, an up-and-coming generation of talented craftsmen is emerging, confident in the power of the suit to adapt and retain its relevance in luxury menswear.

Foremost amongst these bright young things is the frankly inspirational Michael Browne, Cutter at Chittleborough & Morgan. Michael has worked alongside the legendary Joe Morgan for the past four years, and during that time has gained a deserved reputation for masterminding some of the most brilliant contemporary tailoring in Britain. As Michael puts it 'I've always believed that when you approach something with passion, you're going to be recognized for it; that's why I went to Joe Morgan when I joined Savile Row - Joe is a rare master - he loves what he does.'

Where does this bent for contemporary tailoring come from? Funnily enough, it's something of a reaction to Savile Row's particularly traditional way of doing things. 'Savile Row has always stuck to its story: 'we're exclusive, we're a gentleman's club - we only make for certain individuals' - in an environment like this its hard to move forward. The Savile Row Bespoke Association has done lots of good things but there's further to go.' Bold statements like this reinforce the impression that there's something of a generational gap on the Row at present - and the old tradesman is slowly giving ground to a younger generation of passionate artisans: 'I used to hate it when people referred to bespoke tailoring as a 'trade' - treating it as a job like any other. Now, more young people are studying cutting and tailoring because they care about the craft, they approach it from a fashionable perspective and have an interest in style.'

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Aleksandar Cvetkovic

Aleks is Deputy Editor at The Jackal and former staffer at The Rake. He’s long harboured a passion for fine menswear, well-timed dramatic pauses and stiff drinks.