A Tailor’s Cut
Yet a one of kind look comes with a one of a kind price tag. On average, suits can sell for a few thousand dollars, some even eclipsing the price of a low end Volkswagen depending on the fabric chosen.
Bespoke Tailoring in the Age of Fast Fashion
Couture, like bespoke, provides their well-to-do the-rack, mass-produced styles of clothes that ture show is nothing short of a treat for one’s transport the audience to an era of glamour and indulgence - a place of pure dreams and an esern society. But couture has been on the decline for the last
However, unlike couture, the business of bespoke has been on the rise.
By Christopher Palazzo Photography by Ana Vujcuf, Isaac Ely, & Christopher Palazzo
Drinking an espresso street side in Yorkville – Toronto’s epicentre of fine fashion and dining – while people watching is not so much a past-time as it is a sport. Murmurs from Toronto’s well-to-do quietly yet unapologetically judge and size up every man, woman, and child that walk by.
I love those shoes. That bag is fake. Her husband cheated on her. Label addict.
Yes, ‘label addict,’ no term has come to define a generation of fashion patrons quite like this. Today, the fashion industry’s biggest players know the importance of branding: every bag, every pair of sunglasses, every coat, and yes, every pair of underwear are emblazoned with a company’s logo. The mantra today is simple why spend thousands of dollars on a bag if no one will know what brand it is? Flaunt it or do not even bother. But above the label-addicted crowd and the companies that cater to them, one genre of fashion has remained unshaken by the branding juggernaut: bespoke tailoring. Catering to a select clientele of discerning men who choose to put style and fit above brands and showmanship, they trust their fashion desires in the ageold craft.
“I have never been busier,” says Isaac Ely, owner and tailor of Isaac Ely Bespoke in Toronto. In business for over 25 years, I sat down with Isaac to discuss his business and how bespoke has changed since opening his shop. “Men care about how they look more so than ever before,” Isaac remarks. For many fashion watchaspect of the global fashion industry has been of retailers and designers producing and selling clothes and accessories geared towards men has The drab and dreary blue and black staple suits every boy was told to own by their father have a navy blue suit with pink pinstripes instead. Or suit every teenage boy and unadventurous ac-
Suits and shirts custom tailored to a man’s exact measurements and tastes. Hundreds of fabric that truly customized look. 46 | VEUX | ISSUE 15 | CELEBRATIONS
Men’s fashion is no longer a status quo, but rather vertent virtues and vices of their owner. CELEBRATIONS | ISSUE 15 | VEUX | 47
Isaac takes my measurements. The length of my arm, my waist, my chest, my wrist and my neck - the standards. He then begins to discuss with me the shape of my torso and why a made to measure shirt cannot address the issues that plague me. “See, your shoulders begin to slope inward. They aren’t perfectly straight, so on a standard shirt the fabric folds on the shoulder blades, and secondly your neck bends slightly forward which, on a standard shirt, creates a gap from the shirt collar to the back of your neck which can choke you if you ham fabric from Italy. For my pants, I went conservaat the process of bespoke. For many, bespoke is unattainable, a luxury available only to those of us who can less than what one would expect to pay for a garment of similar quality from a high-end designer. Shirts start at roughly $350 (CAD), pants at $650 and suits at product far outweighs a clichéd brand logo.
replied, “Yes, of course… by raising the waistline, slimming your pant leg and raising your For even the most seasoned style mavens, the process side to guide even the wariest of fashion seekers. spoke and made to measure, because they are not the same - not even in the slightest regard,” Isaac tells me as he begins to take my measurements. “Made
I am a man of colour. Colour for me is life. It is repremy life with, so naturally I disdain anything black. For my customized shirt, I chose a yellow and white ging48 | VEUX | ISSUE 15 | CELEBRATIONS
So much for my claim to knowing what looks good on me.
But the issues that plague my body type are rather minuscule, compared to other body loring. Athletes with broad shoulders, muscular legs, and narrow waists tend to have the problem of unusable pockets on their pants because the pants are not wide enough around the thighs to allow a pocket to freely sit. Or heavier set men who have larger waistlines, those issues.
bespoke is a completely new garment designed to the CELEBRATIONS | ISSUE 15 | VEUX | 49
You know Mother Teresa said, ‘I am a pen, and God does the writing,’ so in a way, I’m God’s scissors…
workshop Isaac has on site; all garments are manufactured in-house under the quality assurance of its owner. Every worker is personally trained by me. Here in Toronto, there are of manufacturing clothes, passed on from skilled tailors
maining. If one feels that a Tom Ford suit or a Versace shirt represents their own style then by all means walk
Ask Isaac why he is a tailor and there’s a simple response, “It’s
superior to you than labels, the choice is clear. Bespoke caters to the man whose presence is enough to make a -
ing in Toronto via Turkey and Holland, his life is the quint-
brands do not represent his status. Fashion and style, once complimentary, are now two
feel the energy. The workers all believe in Isaac’s mission to create the best clothes possible. As the expression goes, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ so it certainly takes more than one hand to make a shirt. to Charvet, a high-end men’s retail shop selling bespoke and ready-to-wear
are told to wear and style is how we wear it. Fashion disdains individuality whereas style hates conformity. These two groups may never reach a compromise but for the style conscious shopper and guaranteed exclusivity to please the fashion crowd. During one of my visits to Isaac’s shop, I asked him to
says, “You know Mother Teresa said ‘I am a pen, and God clothes to make people happy, and when they are happy, I’m happy.”
all the lines simply match up. There is the stately presence of mother-of-pearl
If I was inclined to buy a new shirt, all shirt sizing sheets are kept in shop so do not do.
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Visit Isaac in Shop at: 85 Champagne Drive Toronto, Ontario M3J 2C6, Canada www.isaacely.com
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Published on Dec 16, 2013
Drinking an espresso street side in Yorkville – Toronto’s epicentre of fine fashion and dining – while people watching is not so much a past...