In one of my favourite plays, a heroine comes onto the stage and declares: “Clothes, I need clothes… Clothes… they have their lives. They like to be out, exposed, involved, marked by experience. Then they acquire their own characters and longevity; resistance to accidents and disasters. Then they become our shields.”
Most of us have a favourite garment, a cardigan, or a jacket, inherited, left by a dear old friend, that envelops us with absolute comfort and the feeling of safety. Aware of our vulnerability, with archaic need to acquire additional protection, or additional power, we seek and we make our clothes.
In the recent interview for the FT Patti Smith tells that one of her most cherished possession that she’d lost was a slightly tattered black coat that belonged to a poet, who had given it to her. She’d worn it everywhere: to the opera, on the beach, summer and winter. She’d slept in it. She’d loved it so much she’d wanted to be buried in it. And somehow it had disappeared.
To have a bespoke suit made for oneself is almost part of the rite of passage. That means no longer relying on acts of providence that may or may not bestow on us mythical clothing. Some of them involve completing hard tasks; as acquiring Nemean lion hide for Hercules. Or finding ‘golden fleece’ for Jason.
A decision to have a bespoke suit made for oneself is a feat. A quest. And here we meet a tailor who is in a role of an artisan as much as an alchemist. A profession of a tailor is a life long engagement with humanity through which deep connections are established. It is one of those professions where process of learning is continuous.
A bespoke tailor will guide us through a maze of possible choices to our own decision on fabric, lining and styling. From that cloth there will come a suit of clothes to be wrapped around us with all the right elements of that mythical garment, but of one’s personal choice, for the person as one is, and with no interference of fate.
There will be plenty of work to be done by the tailor(s). From pattern cutting and sewing done by hand, to the first and second fitting.
But six weeks to make a bespoke suit in the age of instant satisfaction?
Still, some quests took years to complete. They take time, through which we change and we stay the same.
And than we put that suit on and we have a bit more awareness about ourselves and a bit more connection with other things around us. How things happen to be. From a bespoke wish to a bespoke suit. From one bespoke wish to another.
And then there is the time in which a tailor waits for a customer to return. A tailor must work in a way that the customer would want to return. He creates that body armor, an invisible shield with just enough space left for a growth of one’s soul.