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Richard James opens £2m ‘cathedral to tailoring’

Richard James opens £2m ‘cathedral to tailoring’

Richard James has opened a new bespoke £2 million store on Clifford Street, just off Savile Row, the third outlet in the company’s fashion armoury and its co-founder and managing director Sean Dixon couldn’t be more excited. “We started the business back in 1992 with what was the smallest store on the street, and now we have got some 2,500 sq ft here, so we have grown,” says Sean. “A lot of our customers have been with us since we opened that first store and many of them have gradually moved from ready-to-wear tailoring to made-to-measure and bespoke, so there is a certain symmetry to the way we are set up here.”

The new store – “a cathedral to tailoring,” is how the company describes it – is spread over three storeys with Sean adding: “There’s a lot of rich colour and that’s testimony to Richard himself, who I co-founded the business with in 1992. We really wouldn’t be where we are now without him. He retired from the business a few years ago, but he remains with us in spirit and style as well as name. The walls are in rich burgundy, orange, blue and yellow, and the patterns on the curtains and carpets neatly reference our in-house print design, which is something else that we have a reputation for.”

The work was led by international interior designer David Thomas who said: “I felt strongly about respecting the building’s exterior architecture – the only all-white building on Clifford Street – and bringing back the interior to its former glory. Restoring the original details, whilst adding elements of modernity.”

Head up to the first floor and you’ll find a stylish cocktail bar, complete with comfortable seats and classy artwork. Sean explains: “We wanted to create a space that our customers could use and feel at home in, so a bar seemed like a good idea. Our shops have always been convivial, sociable places that have forged friendships. I remember when Oasis, Elton John and Lord Brown all came in at the same time, and they all got on famously. An unlikely gathering, perhaps, but the thing is that we have always appealed to people with a certain attitude, rather than any particular demographic. I think our customers are the most adventurous on Savile Row.”

And, according to Sean, the novelty of loungewear which took off during the Covid-19 lockdowns has worn off, with more people now choosing to dress more formally. “The world of tailoring, and the suit, is actually having a bit of a resurgence,” he said. “But the most important thing is that people feel welcome when they enter the store. Buying a suit can feel intimidating, so we wanted to create a place where people can spend time and be helped through the process, whether they are buying ready to wear or having a suit made. It should be a very pleasant experience.”

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