"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp — or what's a heaven for?"
Published by: Escapement Magazine
Talents can be latent, unrecognised, apparent, diverse, desirable or otherwise but when you consider the remarkable story of Andrew Ramroop OBE, owner of Maurice Sedwell, Savile Row tailors, it is like a fairy tale – rags to riches, achievement against all the odds.
Extolling the talents of those who are gifted in their field is one of my missions on this website.
Talents can be latent, unrecognised, apparent, diverse, desirable or otherwise but when you consider the remarkable story of Andrew Ramroop OBE it is like a fairy tale – rags to riches, achievement against all the odds. It also highlights the potential when established craftsmanship nurtures the talent of youth.
The bespoke tailoring house of Maurice Sedwell’s credentials are proclaimed in his website.
Originally Maurice Sedwell established his business in Fleet Street in 1938 but having won the Gold Medal from the Tailor & Cutter Academy. He progressed to a Savile Row address in 1963, number 9 to be precise. Building on his success, a reputation for tradition, service and excellence moved in 1994 to larger premises at number 19 where they remain.
Maurice Sedwell delivered their individual Signature Style, Savile Row while embracing its tradition. Maurice Sedwell expanded and retained his client base, amongst the well-heeled who wore his suits carrying his reputation with them and declared their expertise.
But that is only part of the fairy story. Maurice Sedwell achieved success in his own right but then in 1974 a young Trinidadian was seconded to him as an assistant cutter and the ‘Dick Wittington’ story of Andrew Ramroop gained momentum.
Andrew Ramroop – a remarkable success
Born in the foothills of the Northern Range of mountains in Trinidad, this recipient of numerous accolades did not have access to a defined path to success but with Savile Row beckoning from an early age, his ambition was to become a tailor. It was something for which the young aspirant showed a inherent talent when he undertook an apprenticeship aged just 13. With remarkable confidence and desire to enhance his skills and further his career he left Trinidad and sailed to England in 1970. He was only 17. There his talents were recognised and four years later via London College of Fashion (LCF) he was to be found at Maurice Sedwell Bespoke.
His talents were precocious. At the London College of Fashion he completed the three year training course one year early gaining, a distinction. His focus was remarkable. In 1982 he began to purchase shares in Maurice Sedwell limited, building up his stake until in 1988 he bought the company. He became the first for a person of colour to own a Savile Row tailoring house.
Awards have followed awards. His client base embraces leading politicians, sportsman, and captains of industry and key figures in the entertainment world that extends to 57 countries. The fact that his clients included Princess Diana obviously enhanced his reputation.
If his business success is not sufficient for this Dick Wittington story it can be added that his efforts for raising funds for charity have been legion; cycling 400 km to help raise £60,000 funds for British Heart Foundation. Andrew Ramroop has been honoured in many ways; in 1998 he was a subject of a BBC documentary ‘Black Firsts’. In 2001 he was conferred with the title of Professor for Distinction in the Field of Tailoring by the University of the Arts London. In 2008 he was honoured as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, OBE.
Tailoring has brought Andrew Ramroop much recognition. He has respected Savile Row’s traditions and founded the Savile Row Academy, of which he is the Principal where he nurtures those traditional skills in his successors. There the students benefit from the deep-rooted experience and skills by those who ply their trade in Savile Row but not for them the cutting and shaping of newspapers with rusty scissors which Andrew Ramroop did as a young boy in Trinidad.
His story is well documented but merits retelling over and over to inspire others and to safeguard the tradition of craftsmanship and in praise of those who, like Andrew Ramroop have striven to maintain the standards within their chosen field.