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Close Up Preview: Q&A with Patrick Grant

Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak-peek of our Close-Up with Patrick Grant, the creative director of fashion brand E Tautz and owner of Savile Row bespoke tailors Norton and Sons, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.

You show your ready-to-wear brand E Tautz as part of London’s fashion week schedule. How do you think the launch of London Collections: Men and the dedicated menswear shows has helped?

I think the changes in the men’s shows have already had a big impact and we now have a structure that allows British menswear to shine. There is definitely a ground swell of ‘wow, London’s exciting now’ and there’s been a great swoosh of exciting stuff. Obviously Burberry has seen that this is a bandwagon they’d like to hitch themselves to and it’s great that McQueen came back last season. It feels very exciting to be here at the moment.

You own Norton and Sons, a bespoke tailoring house located on Savile Row. What are your thoughts on the current state of bespoke tailoring and how Savile Row is perceived in the fashion world?

People always talk about modernising Savile Row, which I always thought was such an awful concept, because what it does is very modern. It doesn’t need modernising, it’s always been a moderniser. Of course one or two houses have got stuck in the doldrums, but this idea that Savile Row needed shaking up was kind of weird to me. Traditional tailoring skills can be beautifully applied to modern tailoring. You don’t need to be chucking the baby out with the bath water. The fact that we worked with designers like Kim [Jones] and Christopher [Kane] made it clear there was nothing old fashioned about Savile Row. In fact, what can be more modern than being able to have anything you want made by the most incredible craftsman in the world?

As well as your ready-to-wear premium range and your luxury bespoke tailoring house, you also work with brands such as the Kooples and will launch collaborations with Barbour and high street chain Debenhams for autumn 13. How do these very different aspects of your business sit together?

We have skills in designing and manufacturing clothes and they are transferable to whatever level, and it’s fun to be working in all of these different arenas. It keeps everything alive and keeps you opening your eyes.

You were recently a judge on BBC Two’s hit show The Great British Sewing Bee, do you think your public profile is good for your business?

To be honest I would be quite happy if we could have a huge success of everything without me having to put my nose in the public arena at all. I think it’s a necessary part of building a brand; you have to have some profile. I’m very lucky that people are interested enough to want to talk about what we are doing.

Where did your interest in fashion come from?

I was always fastidious about clothing. My mum tells a story about me going to school for the first time and giving myself a haircut the day before, aged four and a half. And I have no idea where it came from, but it never struck me as anything that wasn’t normal.

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