John Foster and Reid & Taylor have snagged Saks Fifth Avenue’s inaugural Fabric No. 1 awards. The prize is designed to choose the season’s finest made-to-measure fabrics for suits and sport coats.

This story first appeared in the September 20, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Saks opened the competition to all men’s wear fabric mills, and 14 brands — from England, Scotland and Italy — contributed their top three fall swatches. The samples were examined and voted on by a panel of five men’s wear experts from the store, led by Tom Ott, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s.

“We decided that due to the success of our Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Collection, we’d look for the best fabric on an annual basis,” Ott said

John Foster of Yorkshire, England, won for its made-to-measure suiting fabric in 90 percent Super 150s wool and 10 percent cashmere worsted spun into a navy stripe. For sport coats, Scotland’s Reid & Taylor took the honors for its 100 percent pure gray herringbone Escorial, a rare wrinkle-resistant fabric.

Each Fabric No. 1 garment will be identified by a custom number and label and available to customers for around $2,000 for a suit and $1,500 for a sport coat. The store has enough fabric to produce around 15 suits and 18 sport coats, Ott said. The suit model features a slightly roped and defined shoulder, and the sport coat is an unlined, unconstructed soft silhouette. Orders for the garments will be taken in New York, Chevy Chase, Md., Chicago, Beverly Hills and San Francisco.

“This will help in our drive for exclusivity,” Ott said. “It’s available only at Saks, and we can rally around that.”

He said the contest also “opened our horizons a little more. John Foster is a very old English mill, but we never did business with them before.“

The two mills will be honored at a special award ceremony tonight at the New York flagship, during the men’s luxury event.