Recently, I spent some time in London and paid several visits to Savile Row, the golden mile of tailoring. Located in Mayfair, the famous street was named after Lady Dorothy Savile, who was the wife of the 3rd Earl of Burlington.
When I stopped by Savile Row, the first open tailor shop I saw was Maurice Sedwell, which is run by Andrew Ramroop. Surprisingly, they had a number of Ramroop’s suits from various decades on display to commemorate 40 years on Savile Row. I found them to be so different and interesting that I would like to share some of these pieces with you today.
Maurice Sedwell & Andrew Ramroop
In 1969, at the age of 17, Andrew Ramroop tailored his first suit for himself as an apprentice. The cloth was a blend of polyester and wool and the style was a classic 6×2 double breasted suit in brown with small checks. He wore this very suit for his first job interview on Savile Row in 1970.
The Trinidad native, Ramroop graduated from the London College of Fashion and interviewed with Maurice Sedwell, who was the only bespoke tailor on Savile Row at the time who would hire a non-white person! Eventually, Sedwell retired 18 years later and Ramroop purchased Maurice Sedwell Limited at No.9 Savile Row. Once again, he was the first black bespoke tailor who owned a Savile Row tailor shop. Nevertheless, he decided to keep the name “Maurice Sedwell” out of respect and gratitude to his former teacher, the only person who gave him a chance to become a part of Savile Row.
In 1994, Ramroop moved from No.9 Savile Row to its current premises at No. 19. Just three years ago, Mr. Ramroop founded the Savile Row Academy with the goal to train the elite bespoke tailors of tomorrow.
That aside, he received an OBE appointment from the Queen in 2008 and was honored at the W.E.B Dubois Institute of Harvard University for Outstanding Contributions to Faculty in 2002, which resulted into the annual “Andrew Ramroop” prize.
Brown Stripe Shooting Jacket – 1973
In 1973, Mr. Ramroop tailored this very special pure wool shooting jacket, which has a number of interesting details. From the front, you immediately see the spectacularly wide
lapels with a very high gorge, the huge flaps and the short distance between the front buttons.
From the side, you notice the double shooting pleats as well as the half belt in the back. The back view reveals the flare of the coat and double vents. Overall, it is certainly a very 70ish garment, though I really enjoy the double shooting pleats.
Delta Line Cavalry Twill Coat – 1974
While still a student at the London College of Fashion, Ramroop created this – for modern standards quite flamboyant – jacket in a so-called Delta line. The front seams are quite unique, as are the vertical pockets. The Knize lapel and the square quarters stand out as well, and the triangular buttons make you think of science fiction rather than Savile Row. It seems like everybody claims that Richard James is so different on the Row, but this stuff is way more progressive than anything James has ever made.
Dinner Jacket – 1974
That same year, Andrew Ramroop created a dinner jacket, which was intended to be special, and sure enough it won him the princely sum of £5 at the Student Tailoring Competition.
Aside from the wide, notched lapels, the jacket stands out because of its channel seams along the edges, including the lapels, flaps, chest pocket, collar and trouser side seams. I can only imagine how long it took to create these.
Fawn/Light Blue 3 Piece Suit – 1976
This three piece suit was tailored from pure wool and had a huge windowpane plaid. Interestingly, the waistcoat had a fly front but the sleeve buttons had only two holes, which is typical for Savile Row. The entire suit was voted among the finalists of the Federation of Merchant Tailors competition that year.
Overall, the 70’s were clearly a different era in terms of bespoke garments, and although only few would wear these today, one can pick up some of the details to brighten up the classic suits of today.
Maurice Sedwell Video
Maurice Sedwell also provides business suits, as you will see in this video: