Baroness von Alvensleben speaks to Andrew Ramroop
The cut instantly speaks quality – like the fine handcrafting which makes the label ‘Made in Savile Row’ so special. Such are the characteristics, which ensure that the discerning customers of Savile Row tailors are happy to pay starting prices of $4,500 for a hand tailored suit.
And if the customer wants to be really choosey about the cloth the base line price for a suit can be as much as $15,000 says Andrew Ramroop, managing director of Maurice Sedwell ltd.
He explains that one of the more unusual cloths from among his stocks of more than 12,000 fabrics is a pin stripe in which the contrasting stripe is actually 22 carat gold.
Even what at first glance may appear to be a simple woollen suiting will probably have been spun from one of the world’s finest fleeces and woven by the most skilled weavers.
Maurice Sedwell prides itself on an international clientele, covering 51 countries, and it is seeing his distinguished customers – whose identity he refuses to disclose – leave his premises dressed in perfect elegance and style that gives Andrew and his team most pride in their work.
“These days however our business is geared to provide not merely suits but everything for the well dressed man – bespoke shirts, ties, cuff links and casual leatherwear. The common denominator is that everything we offer is bespoke – we stock nothing ready to wear.” says Andrew.
“For ladies who want to mirror the elegant attire of their partners and appear at evening functions in a bespoke tuxedo suit, we would be happy to oblige. Our willingness to work for female clients will probably shake our original founders to the core, but even in traditionalist Savile Row, we have to move with the times,” says Andrew.
However, in many respects, the business that celebrates 66 years of continuous trading, functions exactly as it would have done when Mr. Sedwell himself was an apprentice. At Maurice Sedwell ltd. we maintain a workroom on the premises and I still personally supervises the crafting of every garment.
This he insists is the only sure way to maintain the tight quality control necessary at every stage of tailoring to ensure an end product is of true Savile Row standard. “All our garments are individually designed, hand cut and hand tailored to the highest attainable standards. We aim to give our customer more than they expect, for example, all suits are sewn in 100% pure silk threads, we give a top quality hanger and zipped travelling suit carrier and a silk tie with each suit.”
Also, true to tradition each member of the workroom staff is multi-skilled and capable of creating all the components, which go into the making of the prefect suit.
Yet while he sees the business as a bastion of all that is best in the traditions of Savile Row, Andrew Ramroop’s career more accurately represents the face of trading as it shapes up for the 21st century.
or instance, whereas Savile Row’s most skilled tailors have traditionally sprung from families based in London’s East End, Andrew Ramroop’s ancestral home is the Caribbean island of Trinidad, which is where he first practised his craft.
But typical of the new generation of Savile Row entrepreneurs, Andrew is also academically trained, a graduate of the London College of Fashion and the only tailor in history to be conferred a Visiting Professor for ‘Distinction in the Filed of Tailoring’ by the University of the Arts London.
Acknowledged as one of the finest tailors in Savile Row, Andrew Ramroop was invited to carry the British flag at the 30th. annual opening ceremony of the World Congress of Master Tailors in Paris in July 2001.
After eight years at Maurice Sedwell ltd., in 1982 he was invited to take over as manager of the business. He enjoyed such success that six years later he bought the company.
Today, although the name above the door is not his, Andrew Ramroop’s face is what first comes to the minds of customers when they think of their personal tailor, for it is he who individually greets each regular.
He is, incidentally, also renowned for his phenomenal memory – not only of customers’ measurements but also of their family history and personal interest. “It is important now that we are dealing with the sons and sometimes even the grandsons, of the customers that I first met as a newcomer to Maurice Sedwell ltd. in 1974,” he says.
Off duty, Andrew likes to return to his roots, enjoying beach holidays in the West Indies and the world renown carnival celebrations in Trinidad. Most weekends he plays badminton, which he claims, help him keep fit for the summertime cricket season representing Lord Gnome’s team, as do regular workouts at the gym.
When a night on the town beckons he will head for a restaurant that offers food that is hot and spicy – either Indian or Mexican. Or if it a quick one at the local he is most likely to be found in the Cellars Bar of the luxurious Landmark Hotel in Marylebone.
But whenever he finds himself, Andrew Ramroop will be casting a surreptitious eye at the outfits of his fellow diners or drinkers.
“A really good suit is a work of art, projecting the sartorial image with comfort, elegance and style, and needs to be appreciated as such by all who sees it,” he adds.