On a recent sunny Monday morning, a few style aficionados got together in the Bavarian city of Weißenburg to tour the suit factory of Regent, which was founded in 1946 by Henryk Barig and Dr. Michael Aisenstadt.
Introduction & History of Regent Handtailored
Mr. Schallmey, who is the manger of the factory outlet, as well as the initiator of this very tour, welcomed the guests, most of whom came quite a long way for just this purpose. For the very first time in history, Regent was opening its doors to the public and revealing the core of its manufacturing, the suit production operation.
Along the way to one of the very elegant presentation rooms, one can glimpse pictures of famous clientele, such as prominent former German politicians, President Richard von Weizäcker and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, or well known Chef, Dieter Müller. Our guide, Mr. Kury, remarked that the chef’s visits were often accompanied by some of his culinary creations.
At the beginning of the tour, we were educated on the history of Regent, which is today owned by the Italian textile magnet, Tombolini. His vision was to restore Regent’s former glory, first and foremost, by increasing the level of quality, especially compared to the 80’s and 90’s. This was primarily achieved by moving the manufacturing of Regent suits back to Weißenburg after it had formerly been outsourced to Poland. As a consequence, the level of workmanship and sartorial finesse at Regent today is, at a minimum, on par with the likes of Kiton or Brioni or Oxxford.
Factory Tour – Cutting, Canvas, Padding, Tailoring
After the introduction, we entered the production facilities and had our first stop at the cutting tables. Mr. Kury explained to us how the basic patterns are created on a computer and certain individual details are added to the pattern. Once the pattern is completed, a blotter draws it on a special paper. As opposed to the machine-cut patterns of other producers, Regent only employs very experienced cutters who will hand cut these patterns into their final shape. This kind of hand cut pattern is rare amongst RTW tailors of fine suits.
In the next step, the front of the jacket receives a canvas. All canvasses are made of a mix of linen and horse hair while, the exact ratio is individually determined for each fabric. However, the construction of the canvas is a trade secret.
None of the canvasses are glued. Everything is sewn to the fabric. In between the production steps, every garment is steamed and ironed numerous times just like an individual tailor would do it. Experienced tailors treat every piece of cloth according to its unique properties in order to guarantee the best results.
Subsequently, the front of the jacket is sewn with the famous Strobel blindstitch machine and the lapels with the Strobel single thread rollpadding machine. This gives the jacket a rolling lapel, as well as a floating canvas, which results in a greater flexibility in the best tailoring tradition. Of course, this kind of canvas treatment is superior to any glued canvas construction.
Throughout the production of a suit, it will be double checked and controlled numerous times. This way, Regent can guarantee the outcome of a top-notch garment.
Once the padding is done, the inside pockets will be made. First, the lining is cut by hand and then the individual parts are sewn together. At that point in time, one can already see the basic shape of suit – or sports coat – coming together.
Finishing the Garment – Pick Stitching, Buttonholes, Buttons, Ironing
In the final steps, the garment is finished mostly by hand, just like in a tailor’s shop. This means that the pick stitching is all done by hand and not with an AMF machine, which only imitates the pick stitching. This process is quite labor- and consequently cost- intensive, and therefore hardly any manufacturer of RTW garments offers pick stitching by hand anymore.
Moreover, the collar is also completely sewn and padded by hand, another hallmark of a well-tailored garment.
Next in line are the buttonholes. Experienced buttonhole sewers, who do nothing but buttonholes all day long, use a special buttonhole silk to create the most splendid handmade button holes. In between, the garment is again ironed extensively in order to guarantee the right drape and shape, which also takes a considerable amount of time.
Eventually, the buttons are sewn on to the garment with a little shank. All the buttons are custom made for Regent by the Augsburger Knopffabrik and feature only 3, instead of the usual 4 or 2, holes. This is Regent’s signature feature since no other manufacturer of jackets uses 3-hole buttons.
Finally, the entire garment is checked for defects, irregularities and proper workmanship. Only perfect suits and coats will then be sold directly in Weißenburg or to haberdasheries and retailers all over Europe. The goal is to have a customer who can feel and enjoy all the passionately created details when wearing a superbly made Regent garment.
Regent can be reached at:Regent GmbH
Augsburger Straße 58-60
This article was edited and translated from German to English by Sven Raphael Schneider.