Our Master Tailor Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE speaks to the Hindustan Times.
Coming full circle from an ancestry somewhere in UP, Trinidad-born, London-based Ramroop returned to the roots of his ancestors to train Indian tailors and designers in the art of the Savile Row Cut. The proud the owner of the 78-year-old establishment, Maurice Sedwell ltd, on Savile Row - the mecca of bespoke tailoring. He dresses Arab and British royalty, Hollywood stars like Samuel L Jackson, past legends such as Tony Curtis and Charles Gray . International sports stars such as Mark Ramprakash, Dwight Yorke and Brian Lara. He doesn’t like to talk about his clients much, but he does mention a certain Indian steel magnate.
Upon invitation by Indian Masters Tailors Association (IMTA)’s chairman Anupama Sachdeva, Ramroop recently spent a month in the city training high-end tailors on developing their businesses. The intensive program left him with little time to sightsee but he hopes to be back June next year.
Ramroop tells us his ancestors travelled by ship that sailed from India to Trinidad, 160 years ago. “My roots are very important to me,” he says, and requests us to make sure we mention his middle name, Madan.
Taking to tailoring from an early age (“I was about 9 when I first showed an interest in sewing”), Ramroop took up vocational training in tailoring much against his family’s wishes. When he was 17, he set off for England after learning some of the world’s finest tailors could be found on Savile Row.
A long-time employee at Maurice Sedwell, Ramroop eventually purchased the establishment from a retiring Maurice Sedwell, in 1988. The starting price for a hand tailored suit at his shop will set you back by a neat £6,000 and if you want him to personally tailor your suit there is an additional premium of 40%. “Quality comes at a price,” chuckles Ramroop, adding. “It takes us 160 hours to create each bespoke suit - everything is beautifully handcrafted and fit to perfection. We use only pure silk threads to sew our suits, not cotton.”
We ask what’s in at Savile Row right now, and pat comes the answer: “Bespoke, pure hand-made bespoke, individually designed, hand cut and hand tailored to the highest standard attainable. Nothing looks more stylish and elegant or will fit you better.”
Ramroop shares some tips and tricks for the layperson:
1) When buying a bespoke suit, ask to speak to a tailor, and not a salesperson. You want someone who has technical knowledge and experience who can communicate the value of bespoke.
2) Everybody wants a suit that makes them look and feel better especially making waist seem narrow but make sure the fit isn't too tight; you don’t want to look as if you have outgrown your suit. The one way to tell if a suit fits well is to check that it is hugging the neck all around. Also if it feels comfortable along the shoulder blades and arms.
3) The best way to pack a suit into a suitcase when travelling is to stuff the inside chest pockets with cellophane bags. This will support the chest and prevent the jacket from crumbling and fold the lapel and collar flat. Then, put it in a suit cellophane suit cover and fold it in half, the air in the bag helps prevent creases. Creases are caused when fabric is exposed to heat, weight and moisture. As a matter of fact, wrinkles are also smoothed out by irons that has weight, heat and steam.
4) The amount of shirt you show at the cuff should be half the amount of shirt collar showing above your jacket collar. When you’re sitting down, ensure you unbutton the fronts.
5) A common faux pas to avoid when wearing a suit with panache’ is to have your shirt showing under (between) the jacket waist button and above your trousers.
This article was originally published in the Hindustan Times, Summer 2016.