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How I got here - Chris Potter

Ede & Ravenscroft’s senior cutter followed his father’s example and joined London’s community of tailors.

What does your diary look like today?

I walked in at 9am with my morning fix of strong coffee. It’s a really busy time of the year as it’s the transitional season, so my diary is fairly full. I check my emails and voice mails before preparing for the day ahead.

We aim to be flexible, so when a customer arrives, whether they’ve made an appointment or not, we ensure we are always available for fittings. I’ll spend the day seeing various clients and cutting and tailoring suits. My day will then end at about 6pm.

What task are you most looking forward to today?

I really enjoy meeting with customers and building personal relationships with them. Many of my customers have been coming to Ede & Ravenscroft for years, and I look forward to seeing those regulars. The process of getting a bespoke suit made is personal and involves meeting a customer three or four times. I love the creative process of customising designs and creating something bespoke.           ➝ What task do you wish you could postpone? It would be wonderful to have little fairies to tidy my workroom for me at the end of the day. But I’m afraid they don’t exist, so it falls to me.

How did you get to where you are today?

Tailoring is in my blood; both my father and uncle were London tailors. From the age of 12 I helped my father during weekends and holidays – it was a natural career for me. When I finished school, I went on to study tailoring full-time at London College of Fashion, working as an apprentice on Savile Row one day a week. It was there that I learnt how to make coats, waistcoats and trousers. In 1986, I began working with Philip Thomas, now director of tailoring at Ede & Ravenscroft.

I worked for various tailors, developing the skill of cutting, before moving to Ede & Ravenscroft in the mid-1990s, where I’ve now been for 18 years. 

What has been your career highlight?

Much of my work is done with the need for discretion. I can’t mention the famous names I’ve worked with, but to be honest what has been more rewarding is being a part of, and creating garments for, important milestones in my clients’ lives.

Who is your mentor?

My father was most certainly my inspiration to enter into the world of gentlemen’s tailoring, and he taught me a lot. At Ede & Ravenscroft, my mentor is Philip Thomas. I learn something new from him every day.

What’s the best piece of advice Philip gave you?

You’re as good as the last job you cut.

How do you see your career progressing?

Our department is always developing and evolving. Increasingly, we see bespoke and quirky projects coming our way, which is all a part of building and honing my craft. It’s very exciting.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

There is a benefit to moving between tailors, gaining as much experience as possible at the beginning. There is a grapevine of tailors in London, almost a small community, who are aware of everything that is going on. All tailors are comfortable with sharing knowledge and skills as we all share the same passion.

  • Salaries for this position range from £35,000 to £45,000 (estimate by Fashion & Retail Personnel)

CV

2005 Senior cutter, Ede & Ravenscroft

1993 Cutter, Ede & Ravenscroft

1987 Cutting apprentice, Gieves & Hawkes

1986 Graduate, London College of Fashion

1983 Coat-making apprentice, Henry Poole

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