Many people ask me what would it take to be a tailor. Good question, but with very complicated answers.
During my professional life, I had worked with many people, as my superiors, colleagues, apprentices and occasional collaborators, and it was never clear, at least not from first sight, if someone is actually a tailor or not.
They could have been amazing suit makers, or had great ability in the art of handmade garments, but – and here I am humbly share my own personal opinion – it was not enough to compose the whole, the persona of a tailor.
Honestly, I have never thought about a specific set of listed attributes that can describe the perfect tailor or distinguish this ancient profession from the technical work of clothes making. There is also a possibility that a tailor should be every person who knits or composes together pieces of cloth to make something someone can wear. I am afraid that my respect to my own profession doesn’t allow me to be so inclusive, and I apologize to whom might be offended
In the same manner that one handmade tailored suit will not be similar to another, and – even more than that – each tailor will do his best to keep his individual print on each and every garment he creates, I stipulated a short and basic description of my idea of a tailor.
A good tailor should know how to use his eyes, his stomach and his heart. These three organs are essential tools, at times, more than a good pair of hands.
Eyes are the primary learning tool. A good tailor will never prevent his eyes from devouring the sights of his Master tailor at work, his colleagues and his own ongoing work. The tailor’s eyes should be like a huge black hole, absorbing people’s movements, behaviors, gestures, shapes, colors, expressions, and – more than any other thing – the most important tool in our work, defects. Which defects? All the ones that we should cover, correct, avoid and improve upon!
Second in line is the stomach. A tailor should always be hungry. Have a constant desire and need for more; more clients, more income, more collaborators, more cloths to discover, more technical tricks to learn, more fame, more excellence. This is the only way to keep yourself in a state of constant growth and personal development in a profession that – at times – might reveal itself as monotonous and repetitive.
Lastly, but obviously not the least, there is the heart. Beside all that is usually being attributed to the heart, I encourage you to use your heart as a time measuring tool. Use its beats to understand time. Time as the most important ingredient of your daily work, from the first day of your training till the moment where you provide your clients with a complete suit.
Time will determine the quality of your work in every aspect; time dedicated to repeat a needle’s move measured by hours, and maybe even days. Time to observe your Master tailor, time to redo a bad work, time to embrace time. Time to understand how much time is needed to become a real tailor…by the way, a lot!
These are my first thoughts for this new online platform through which I hope that me and my fellows-tailors can establish an interesting exchange with colleagues, collaborators and lovers of the true artistry of Tailoring.