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Inside the seams with Michael Day, Scabal’s Head of Design

At Scabal we work hard to make our tailoring – and the style bestowed by wearing it – look utterly effortless. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, just ask Michael Day: the man behind the magic.

As Scabal’s Head of Design, Day’s charged with delivering impeccable elegance on the one hand, and seamless simplicity on the other. We’re delighted, then, to be able to offer a peek behind the curtain at the scrupulous machinations which go into producing a Scabal collection – and making it seem totally intuitive. Day talks us through fabric, cut, and grants a glimpse ahead to this year’s SS and AW releases.

What’s the creative process behind developing a new fabric collection?

I like to begin at the beginning – with quality. Asking what goes into a fabric – the type of weaves and composition of the cloth (wool, silk, cashmere), its weight and characteristics… That last point takes in everything from look to fineness and, of course, the fabric’s final use. Will it be used only for jackets? Perhaps suits, or overcoats? This season, we’ve created new collections – Mohair & Silk, Cosmopolitan, and more. Every single aspect has been the subject of dedicated time and research, not only to fabricate but also to finetune every facet of the fabric’s final quality.

How does that first stage transition into a collection that’s ready to release?

Step two, then, is working all that quality into a design. There are several factors to consider – of course, new releases need to work commercially. But even more important than market appeal is holding true to Scabal’s spirit. We want our output to be beyond compare – absolutely new, and peerless in terms of desirability and quality.

After fabric design comes colour. This phase involves plenty of testing, trying different combinations and tones before selecting the most effective. Finetuning often happens in making what we call a ‘blanket’, where we can see all the combinations of a yarn’s colour and design in the weft and warp.

Last, it’s time to choose a name – and send it into the world!

What are the defining characteristics of Scabal’s Spring Summer collection for 2020?

Our SS releases are really versatile. We wanted to offer options for all the different kinds of Scabal gentleman – younger and older, aficionados of classic chic and those keen to make a statement too. While warmer temperatures and lighter evenings influence fabric choices, our suiting customers will be able to choose light, mid- and petrol blues, as well as timeless greys and browns. Jackets are really exciting this season, and there’s no shortage of options when it comes to statement pieces or colourways. As far as composition’s concerned, SS20 outerwear ranges from linen to silk, and from cotton to the finest wools

Turbo Travel is one of the new fabrics – what makes it so special?

This cloth packs a lot into its weave – we’ve worked really hard on the technology behind it, and the end result is a remarkably versatile material. Using microfibre and wool, Turbo Travel’s stretch makes it ideal for travelers and men on the move. Beyond its inherent crease recovery (not to mention being exceptionally comfortable), Turbo Travel is water and stain repellent as well as breathable. We’re bringing it out in a really wide range of colours – blue, brown, grey and green – and checks, where a double-twisted yarn gives a striking 3D effect.

And what can you tell us about Scabal’s Autumn Winter 2020 collections?

I can give you a couple of details… First, there’s a new edition of our Eton Collection. That’s something our clients have been waiting for since we released it several years ago; a Super 130’s wool, it’s always been one of our suiting best-sellers. This time, there are 91 fabrics – plenty of options for original fans as well as Scabal initiates…

Then, something completely new is the Sir Stripe. It’s a bold option, ideal for those keen on making a subtle statement. We’re also launching a collection called Hybrid, which is a concept to revolutionise the way our clients combine separates into outfits. The fabrics have been composed to work together – as suits, or mixing jackets and trousers – for four coherent looks. There’s scope for injecting personal touches into pieces without compromising on something that works, head to toe.

As for anything further, you’ll have to wait and see.

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