Nailing the fit from across the pond.
With the last few years causing many travelling tailors to experience difficulties in maintaining the usual routine of hosting trunk shows around the globe, the consequent industry trend is an increase in makers offering contact-free remote custom tailoring for clients around the globe. The idea presents great potential benefits alongside potential risks; benefits include the ability for makers to reach customers who would previously have been geographically excluded from accessing their services, with customers receiving the other side of that benefit alongside the ability to conduct the whole process from the comfort of home. The risk, naturally, is the inability for the maker to see the client’s body in person; relying on images, measurements and varying degrees of technology to assess the client as best as possible. However, with accurate measurements, good imagery and good technology, it’s possible to overcome the risks.
One such maker offering remote service is Belgian-born tailoring house Senszio, who reached out a few months back and asked if they could make me a suit; I agreed, and they were able to make me a beautiful, well-fitted suit and shirt remotely. Senszio’s product offering consists of two levels; traditional fully hand made bespoke, and an option they refer to simply as ‘custom tailoring’. The latter is the service offered remotely (both are available if attending in person), which sits closer to bespoke than made-to-measure; a less exhaustive process than traditional full bespoke, but retaining some of the most important parts of the fitting and construction process.
Senszio’s custom tailoring utilises an individual pattern to craft the garment, allowing for the fit to be honed much more than if it was tweaked from a base pattern. The construction is full canvas, with handwork used for the most important parts of construction, and customisation options are still very plentiful. The overall scope of the custom tailored offering provides a solid, well-made and competitively priced option for ordering a custom suit from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, in a world where many brands in the tailoring world see an opportunity to take creative license with the meaning of ‘bespoke’, it’s a refreshing display of integrity for companies like Senszio take the position of making a clear distinction between product offerings.
My experience was a great one from start to finish; starting with an initial meeting via Zoom with Senszio’s Prashant Motwani, we discussed my preferences for fit and styling. My history of regularly posting outfits on Instagram came in handy here, as there’s a very clear example of my general fit preferences like wide legged, moderately high rise trousers worn with a belt. I selected a navy windowpane flannel cloth from Vitale Barberis Canonico to be used, on a single breasted suit with triple patch jacket pockets, dark brown horn buttons and a plain blue Bemberg silk lining. I’m not drawn to loud linings for my tailored clothing; most of my previous custom commissions used a subtle stripe. For the shirt, I wanted something that I’d wear a lot so Prashant recommended a crisp white twill from Thomas Mason. Senszio offer a wide range of customisation, however I wanted to stick generally within their house style so I went only with options readily offered. However, they are willing to replicate just about anything, so if you have a particular style of suit you adore from years gone by – or a shirt with a collar you just can’t find another of – you can ship it to Senszio and have it recreated.
When discussing fit, especially online, it’s useful to understand – at least to some degree – your own peculiarities of posture as not all may immediately show in images. I mentioned my head sitting quite far forward, which can lead to collar gaps if unresolved, and my having loose abdominal skin from weight loss; both of these are often played down visually in pictures, but can certainly affect the fit of my clothes. Prashant sent me a comprehensive table of body measurements to fill out, as well as a table for garment measurements as I’d mentioned having previous custom suits with reasonable fit (though I did stress that the Senszio team should always do what they felt was best, as I knew my previous pieces had room for improvement). Already having a fairly comprehensive set of accurate body and garment measurements on hand, I didn’t need to do much to fill the tables, though I noted positively that the tables sent to me were more comprehensive than any I’d seen or used for previous custom garments.
Prashant was very thorough with the measurements, as we had some conversations over the next couple of weeks to double check some of my body and finished measurements. I took this as an excellent sign, and this display of pursuing excellence gave me increased confidence as a new client. Once we had everything dialled in, I settled back for the customary wait while the garments were crafted.
A few weeks passed, and one winter morning was brightened when I got the notification that the package with my suit and shirt was out for delivery. It was well packed and only required minor pressing to get a few minor creases out, as it had been pressed before shipping. What I got when I put it on the first time was the best first fitting I’ve had in my life thus far, made all the more impressive by the fact this was a remote process.
I immediately noticed that the jacket pattern had been crafted with excellent attention to proportion, with all of the elements harmonising to create a wonderfully balanced appearance. The gorge lines up with the shoulders, and the bottom button with the top of the hip pockets. The chest pocket is well placed; something many makers place too high, but Senszio have passed this check with flying colours. Front/back balance is good, with the jacket’s base making a horizontal bisection of the body. Pattern matching of the windowpane is done excellently throughout.
The jacket fits beautifully across the chest and shoulders, with the sleeves also falling cleanly. Importantly, the collar hugs my neck very well, a benefit of it being hand attached. The abdominal button is a trifle snug, however I’ll wear the suit a good dozen or two times before deciding whether to have it let out; flannel is known to stretch a bit from new, and I want to break the canvas in first. The back of the jacket is one of the cleanest I’ve had so far; I have quite a challenging back with plenty of rounded and heavily sloped parts, but the fit of this jacket presents quite a clean picture. Prashant mentioned that he’d like to shorten the sleeves by a quarter of an inch, which we can do for future commissions; I don’t mind a sleeve at this length, particularly in winter.
The trousers, single reverse pleated, fall flawlessly at the front and sides. I had always previously struggled to maintain a semblance of silhouette at the back of trousers while also maintaining comfort, but this has been achieved here. The fit at the waist hits the sweet spot; snug enough to stay up without a belt, but comfortable enough to sit in with no issues. Leg length is spot on. With any trousers I commission, I like to have them just kissing the top of my shoes; that way, when I have the inevitable belt-wearer’s slip throughout the day, I’m left with a tasteful quarter break at the shoes. Some light rippling is notable at the back of my left thigh; caused partly by my standing on uneven ground for the images, but also possibly due to my knock knees skewing at different angles to each other. The latter is something likely best solved by in-person fittings and full bespoke construction; nevertheless, the overall result is excellent, an execution made all the more impressive by the entire process having been remote.
Examining the construction, hand craft is used for the most important parts. The collar, canvas, lapel padding and attaching of the sleeves to the armholes is all done by hand. Additionally, the pic stitching on all outer pockets, vents and sleeves is also done by hand; as are the buttonholes and attachment of the buttons. Inside the jacket, the lining is sewn in by hand; the sleeve lining is also attached to the body lining in this fashion, as are decorative parts such as inner pocket pic stitching and attachment of the hanger loop.
The workmanship and finishing is done with strong attention to detail, and is well executed throughout; something that was immediately apparent when I first put the suit on, and found myself feeling like I’d just slipped into a mixture of a glove and a suit of armour. All stitching is done cleanly, with no errors found on any of the garments; indicative of high craftsmanship standards and solid quality control measures. The trousers feature an after dinner split at the back of the waistband as standard, allowing for a decent meal without the pant becoming tight. The shirt features a very light floating interlining that falls well with the collar both buttoned and unbuttoned; something that only works with light interlinings when quality components and craft are used.
Overall, the fit and craft of these garments make for a suit that fits very well and moves comfortably with my body, which is all that I can ask for! Senszio’s custom tailoring option makes for an excellent value suit; a product more accessible geographically and price-wise than traditional bespoke, yet carefully designed to avoid compromising any of the tenets that constitute a beautifully made, high quality suit.
As of this article’s publication, Senszio’s custom tailored suits start at US$795 inclusive of fabric for a two piece suit, with the traditional bespoke option starting at US$2,500 for a two piece suit. If you wish to be measured in person, Senszio conducts trunk shows throughout the year in most of Europe’s major cities, eight of the USA’s largest cities and Hong Kong. The remote option, naturally, is available year-round and is capable of producing excellent results from afar.
To explore more of Senszio’s offerings and learn more about the house, visit their website.