Interview with John Maines, our ETC Manchester tailor

John Maines is the most recent tailor to join us at the Edinburgh Tailoring Company family, as we continue to branch out to more cities UK wide. 

We thought you might like to get to know him better and find out who inspires him. He also has some the excellent advice for all of the aspiring tailors out there.

When did you enter the world of tailoring and how has your journey evolved since then?

My journey began in 2015. However I have been dressmaking myself on and off since 2005 when I began studying fashion and textiles in Liverpool. That was when I began to learn how to use a sewing machine and overlocker. 

I found it so thrilling to be able to create the paper patterns and make my own clothes, it is a deeply satisfying skill. The journey has evolved through my experience of fashion and my own tastes which have also changed. I I know what I like more and I dress more for myself rather than to shock. 

I’m still very ostentatious with what I put on my back everyday, however, and I don’t think that will change. I’m currently (finally) watching Downton Abbey and it’s like candy for me – not only captivating storytelling, but the most elegant suits! I’m definitely influenced by historical fashion as well as current. 

Do you remember the first suit you ever made?

My first suit I had made was for a young client in his twenties who was due to get married in a few months. He went for a white tux with black satin shawl lapels, and black trousers with a satin strip along each side of the leg. 

I found it magical that you could create this from a personal body profile and I was full of pride. The chap in question was very pleased and I felt great that I contributed to one of the most special days of this life.

Do you have a favourite or particularly memorable suit/garment you have worked on?

I once had a client that had been involved in the making of ”Cult of Chucky” (2017) and for the premier in a few weeks time, he asked if I could make him a bespoke two-piece suit in his own fabric (the fabric was identical to the fabric used for Chucky’s dungarees!) so I explained I would take his body measurement profile and have a toile made first to ensure the fit was perfect before we make it in his cloth. 

I assured him this would all be done in time and he was satisfied with the plan. After we were certain that the toile was perfectly fitting to his body, I requested it be made in the real cloth. He took it home the day he received it, the chap was overjoyed and couldn’t wait to show it off at the premier!

What advice would you give an aspiring tailor?

Do your research on the history of tailoring. Read a lot of books, research online. Follow Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter people for guidance. Learn about stitching. Learn to stitch! A natural excitement for all things fashion is key. 

Understand the process and have a keen eye for detail, as this is so essential. It’s vital you kill any doubts with your clients and ensure they have complete confidence in you – if you know you can do it, that will shine out of you and customers will sense that, believe me.

If you could choose one person to make a suit for tomorrow, who would it be?

I’m going to rebel here and not go for one, but for three! It would be between actors Andrew Scott (”Fleabag” and ”Spectre”), Timothée Chalamet (”Interstellar” and ”Call Me By Your Name”) and Cate Blanchett (”Carol” and ”Notes on a Scandal”) – they just seem to exude confidence in a suit and carry themselves so well. 

I’ve seen them all in many daring and refreshingly different suits and outfits that few of us could pull off, but they just embody the skill to do this and make it look outstanding. 

Thank you, John! We are thrilled to have you on board and look forward to seeing your fantastic bespoke creations in the very near future…

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