FASHION

Savile Row Fights to Stay Relevant as Suits Fall Out of Fashion

(Bloomberg) — When the governor of the Bank of England stood up to address 300 City bigwigs last month, there was a striking difference from previous Mansion House dinners — no-one was wearing black-tie.

The historic relaxation of one of London’s stuffiest dress codes was a relief to many attendees after temperatures struck a record-breaking 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) earlier in the day.

But heat waves and increasingly casual fashion habits pose a headache to one of the capital’s best-known industries on the other side of town: the tailors of Savile Row.

Savile Row has faced a tough time after stores closed during Covid following several years of rising rents, but the latest threats in its 200 years of history are perhaps more subtle and pervasive.

“The boundaries are blurred now” between the office and the outside world, said Nick Paget, senior editor at WGSN, a retail trends forecaster. “The very traditional pinstriped suit starts to feel like an anachronism.”

With many professionals working from home part time and offices relaxing dress codes to entice workers back, a freshly cut suit is losing its appeal. Record-breaking temperatures this summer have put added pressure on formal dress and wealthy Chinese buyers are not able to travel to the UK for their bespoke suits as Beijing persists with its strict zero-Covid policy.

The fundamentals are stark. In the last week of June footfall on Savile Row was more than 40% below the equivalent week in 2019, the second biggest decline among all the nearby roads including Regent Street and Oxford Street, according to New West End Company data seen by Bloomberg News. 

It takes several months to produce a bespoke two-piece Savile Row suit with an average of 60 man hours and multiple appointments for fittings. The average price is

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