Up until a month ago the word ‘bespoke’ was not a part of my vocabulary. When I first heard the term, I thought it was a conjugation on the word be. Like I spoke, she spoke, be-spoke. I actually wasn’t that far off, the word is derived from the verb bespeak.
Now, I can hardly look up a clothing line without it attached to a brand or designer.
We’re used to terms like off the rack and tailored, but bespoke has a distinction that couples personalization and customization. It’s a level above tailor-made because the cloth is traditionally cut from a pattern drafted from scratch. It’s a super Hot Thing to wear a one of a kind fabric for your own one of a kind design.
If its attention you thirst for, take a sip from the cup of fashion. We all know a neighborhood celebrity and Chapel Hill is a town full of D-I-Y (do it yourself) individuality, so sporting a bespoke design is certainly an apropos attitude.
Here are three things you need to get properly outfitted.
First off, it’s good to have an idea in mind for your design. The set of clothes can be broken down into what I like to call the Four Esses. That’s your shirt, slacks, shorts, and skirt.
Next, I recommend thinking of your fabric and event as a pair. You wouldn’t want to be sweating at that summer wedding in wool. And going to a fall ball in a seersucker pattern is for suckers. Now if your noggin isn’t full of name brands and recalling the latest looks on the runway, you may enlist the aid of a bespoke designer.
August Fulton, an on the bubble clothier out of Charlotte may be able to help. A self taught “sewing-machine” (puns!), he creates stylish attire for both men and women. His signature style is an Italian cut, but splashes color with a polka dot shirt and paisley tie. He makes bold cuts with cloth, like his one shoulder vest, playing on the design concept of contrast taken to the extreme.
With your selection from the Four Esses made, it’s time to choose a fabric.
Spoonflower, out of our very own capital, offers custom printed fabric. Everything is done online, and you have the option of uploading your own creation. They offer an A to Z list of popular patterns and colors as well. Or, you can take an existing print or unique color and upload it. You like the zig zags on front of your fan? Feeling the electric blue paint on that speedy new car? Just snap and send.
And if you need a more local tinge, Julian’s of Chapel Hill known for dressing Carolina Royalty, is top notch in bespoke clothing. They offer custom clothing, alterations, and a Made to Measure line to serve your bespoke needs. No one keeps it more local than Alexander Julian — my aunt was a seamstress there in the 1980s!
Now you’ve got your design, your fabric, and you’ve been fitted… Where are you going? Pulling off an original design is not for the faint of heart. And sitting around the living room with your fresh garb on, just won’t do. Get dressed and get your smile ready as you are sure to be seen around town. The event you diligently tapped into your calendar app is coming up soon. So when your alarm goes off, don’t snooze and lose. Get bespoked, dismiss and go!
Photo Courtesy August Brandon