The British invasion into New York City continues.
Following in the footsteps of Huntsman and Thom Sweeney, two U.K. tailors that recently set up shop in the city, Lutwyche has also entered the fray.
The London-based bespoke maker has opened an appointment-only shop at 717 Madison Avenue, where it will create custom clothing for customers from an upscale location on the third floor.
The brand was founded by Tony Lutwyche in 2000 and currently offers bespoke and made-to-measure clothing as well as a small ready-to-wear collection. The ready-to-wear is carried at several Saks Fifth Avenue stores and Lutwyche also hosts trunk shows at the Saks stores twice a year.
His new 3,000-square-foot shop will not carry the ready-to-wear but will focus exclusively on custom and made-to-measure clothing.
Before starting his business, Lutwyche attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and was a major in the cavalry. It was there that he got his first taste for sartorial dressing when he had to buy his officer’s uniforms from Savile Row tailors. “They were reassuringly expensive,” he said, “but the experience was disappointing and the product was great, but musty.”
Once his military service ended — and a short stint in the banking world proved not to his liking — he set out to provide a better bespoke experience. “People today want to be involved in the process and feel joy in creating something,” he said. He learned the craft from two elderly Greek tailors who “were keen to pass on their skills,” he said.
In 2006, he purchased a Thirties-era workshop in Crewe and further honed his craft. Over the years he has produced for his own brand as well as for other international designers and Savile Row houses (which he declined to name) from out of that workshop. He also operates a shop on Sackville Street in London’s Mayfair district.
Today, all Lutwyche garments are made in the London workshop where a made-to-measure suit receives over 40 hours of hand-craftsmanship while a bespoke garment takes about 60 hours.
Suits average between $6,000 and $8,000 and take about eight weeks to be delivered.
Lutwyche knows he’s “not the only Brit to arrive in town,” but believes his product is unique because of its “balance of modern product and traditional hand skills. Many traditional Savile Row suits are like suits of armor,” he said. “And people expect lighter cloth today.
“We’re building clothes for people in the 21st century,” he added, “not the 1890s or the Twenties.”
In addition, his military background requires that each garment “should fit perfectly and be perfect,” he said. “Hand-tailored and imperfections don’t have to go hand in hand.”
He said there are no plans for other shops in the U.S. at this point. “We’re a small business so can only make so many suits a week,” he said. “We’re well-served with Saks, this store and London.”