Scabal Savile Row
Interview with our store manager, Ricky Sahota
No address is as synonymous with quality as Savile Row in London’s West End; the home of tailoring for more than 300 years. In 1972, Scabal settled into its home at number 12; the address they can still be found at today.
At its helm is store manager Ricky Sahota, the man responsible for service at the highest standard, fair and unbiased advice and all manner of styling tips.
So, Ricky, how has the Savile Row man changed over the years?
Men have become more confident in dressing up; they have a much clearer idea of how they want to dress. These days we see more ideas presented to us from clients especially from social media, which in turn makes us more creative in how to put together different combinations of styles, fabrics and colours.
How would you define Scabal’s clientele?
It’s very varied: artists, businessmen, politicians, celebrities, wedding clients and we meet a lot of customers who are looking to buy their first made to measure suit, really its anybody who wants to be expertly styled and well presented. As a people person, I find it great to be in that mix, sharing experiences with these different clients.
What advice do you give to a first time made to measure customer?
Firstly, I would advise them to select a versatile, flexible fabric in 280gram weight, either a plain or a semi-plain weave which can be used year-round and is suitable to be worn to numerous different engagements. For suits, I would recommend an extra pair of trousers to prolong the lifespan of the suit. I would also recommend the customer selects a classic 2 button suit, it’s the perfect all-rounder. For the colour and fit its best to take the expert advice of your consultant we know what works best for different skin tones and body shapes.
Overall, keep it simple, don’t overcomplicate things with fast fashion styles, go for something timeless.
How is the Scabal store different to other stores on Savile Row?
We offer a full made to measure service with hundreds of different options in order to make the garment completely personalised to the client’s needs. We offer the only sheep to shop service in Savile row from fabric through to production.
The store layout is also much more lifestyle offering a full selection of garments which cater for all occasions, along with an extensive range of accessories so we can easily create a full look. The staff knowledge is also second to none, between us have over 60 years of retail experience, mainly in made to measure, so we really know how to make a good garment.
What’s the most important part of selecting a suit?
From the client’s side it’s a mixture of how the suit looks and how it fits. As Scabal is also a fabric producer we have access to over 5000 different fabrics everything from a simple Super 100 wool, up to our most luxurious Vicuna so once we understand what use the customer wants from the suit we can choose exactly the right selection to show them. Then we spend a lot of time measuring and fitting the customer, we have over 200 different alterations we can make to the patterns to ensure a perfectly fitting suit.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
At Scabal the suits we make are very personalized and that’s the way we approach everything we do. Every tailoring appointment starts with us talking to the client to establish exactly what they are looking for so we can create something beautiful for them. But it’s not just the wearing occasion that important, learning more about their personality can also ensure we really understand their lifestyle which can help us make some practical choices for their garments. We have a very loyal customer base and I think it’s because all the team take the time to find out more about them – their hobbies, interests and passions in life, that way we build up a trusting relationship which is really important to me and also makes my job more interesting – no two days are the same or two customers.
What qualities do you think a gentleman must possess?
Compassion, gratitude and humility.
What advice do you give to wedding guests looking for an outfit?
Don’t try to out dress the groom.
Dress for the occasion, research what type of venue the wedding is taking place at and what time of day. It’s also good to check if there is a theme.
If anyone is unsure of what to wear, ask for advice.
Special Tips – Do’s and Don’ts ?
Do give yourself several months of planning to order a garment. For weddings we find as there is a lot of planning involved in all areas, time becomes more sensitive.
Select shades which suit your skin tone, hold the fabric to your skin, ask yourself does it suit my skin tone, ask the consultant and double check it in natural light.
Don’t try to copy another look if it does not suit you, for instance, if the colour/shape does not look right, be prepared to be flexible and change your view.
Be open and flexible in your thoughts when selecting a garment, you may find when you try something it looks completely different to you what you had thought in a picture or in real life. Always ask the consultant to make a recommendation they know their collections the best and also have a great understanding on what works best on different people.
And as we edge into a new season, what’s the one thing we should look out for in the new collection?
For me, it’s definitely the leather gilet, ideal for unpredictable weather. It’s so useful, lightweight and easy to wear but it adds the warmth you need, great for travelling or to leave in the car. It’s also available as made to measure so you can choose the type and colour of leather and make some personal alterations to the size.
I am also looking forward to the arrival of our new outerwear capsule which is a new introduction for Scabal, it’s a selection of Trench coats, Parka’s and bomber jackets. There is also a quilted jacket called the Oxford which has been designed to wear over a jacket or suit for workwear but equally can also be worn with a knit or denim at the weekend, best of all, it made from a technical fabric so its insulating and water repellent but as its wool it’s also breathable so great for the different temperatures of city life, anyone else who travels regularly on London’s central line will know exactly what I mean here.
You’ll find the Scabal store at 12 Savile Row, Mayfair, London W1S 3PQ.
To book an appointment in-store, click here