clothes to br

AN INTERVIEW WITH BERNHARD ROETZEL

by David Isle

Those interested in mens clothing may already know Bernhard Roetzel from his classic book Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion, which gives an extensive tour of the male wardrobe, from suits to jeans. His latest book Bespoke Menswear: Tailoring for Gentlemen focuses specifically on bespoke clothing - the how, the who, and especially, the why. He was kind enough to discuss this new book with me, as well as the state of bespoke menswear today.

The above photo was taken by Erill Fritz, who also took the photos for Bespoke Menswear. Mr. Roetzel is wearing a suit made by Kathrin Emmer, a Knize tie, and Maffeis shirt.

David Isle: How did you decide which shops and companies to feature in the book?

Bernhard Roetzel: I started of with a list of shops and companies that I thought represent a variety of different styles. This list was changed several times while I worked on the book for different reasons. Some companies wished not to be portrayed, others had no time to be visited by the photographer and a few were closed. And then I also found new places while the work was in progress.

DI: In the book, you mention that one company maintains a bespoke program mainly to advertise their made-to-measure program and confer more prestige on the company’s brand name. Is this the future of bespoke, to be a loss leader for more profitable areas of every business that offers bespoke, like couture for women’s clothing?

BR: The future will look like this in the case of bigger companies. I hope that there will always be smaller tailors who exist on bespoke tailoring alone. I have always preferred the small tailor.

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