Joe Holsgrove, 20, an apprentice at London tailor Denman & Goddard, came out top this week in The Golden Shears, the biennial competition to find the best young bespoke tailors. At the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in the City, Holsgrove picked up the fine trophy and a cheque for £2,000.
Holsgrove individually designed, cut, sewed and finished his half shooting jacket & trousers. “I am speechless. All the hard work has paid off,” he said. Holsgrove, whose grandfather was a tailor at Savile Row firm Kilgour, French and Stanbury in the 1970s, became hooked on bespoke tailoring when he did a placement at Denham & Goddard while putting together a portfolio to apply for a packaging design degree. He decided he preferred tailoring to university and he was richly praised by Denham & Goddard owners David Cook and Peter Day for the speed of his progress. “This is better than winning the FA Cup,” a delighted Cook told the Chelsea-supporting apprentice.
Runner-up Dionne Reeves, 29, an apprentice at H Huntsman on Savile Row, was presented with the Silver Shears Award and £1,500 for her military-inspired frock coat & overalls. The Rising Star Award and £1,000 went to Nuriya Kabirova, 22, from the University of the Creative Arts, Rochester, for her colourful double-layered coat and trousers.
The finalists’ show included 25 entrants, 20 of them female. They were judged by a panel of master-tailor technical judges in January and on the night they were judged for style by fashion designer Betty Jackson, model Jodie Kidd, Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Piers Linney, actress Jennifer Saunders and Lord Grade, former BBC chairman.
Saunders said: “It was the hardest thing to judge, the standard was just so high.” Linney added: “I was blown away by the quality. There were many pieces I would buy.” Kidd remarked: “I was thoroughly impressed, women were really nailing menswear.”
Merchant Taylors’ Hall is a fitting setting for the Golden Shears Award as the livery company was founded in the 14th century to protect the interest of tailors. For the 2015 award ceremony, the cloister was festooned with a specially commissioned installation of dried flowers suspended in yarn, created Rebecca Louise Law, in conjunction with Dormeuil, the supplier of luxury cloth.
The Golden Shears Award is supported by CAPITB Trust, Savile Row Bespoke Association and Chivas Deluxe Blended Scotch Whisky.