top of page

How I became a bespoke tailor


My name is Allan David, and I am a bespoke tailor in Calgary, AB. Firstly, I would like to welcome you to my website and blog. Thanks for visiting.

My journey toward bespoke tailoring perhaps isn't the typical narrative that comes to mind when people think of tailors of old. I wasn't born into a long generational blood line of master tailors with thimble and needle in hand. I didn't spend my childhood sweeping the shop floor while dad and grandad worked away; making suits by age 13. Instead I grew up in the heartland of Northern British Columbia, where fashion takes a back seat to utilitarian functionality. As a Boy Scout for most of my childhood, I spent a lot of time outdoors, and in the woods that surrounded my home town. In this way I learned early on the importance of the usefulness of clothing, and from this would later develop my passion for men's fashion. The industrious, honest and hardworking nature of my hometown is very much at my core and has guided me through my journey toward bespoke tailoring.

My life long interest in clothing, both as an expression of identity and self, as well an instrument of use and function lead to me to explore menswear retail as a young man. For several years I worked at Dugger's Menswear in Halifax N.S. There I was introduced more formally into the standards of dress, and sharpened my eye for quality and attention to detail. Retail was a fantastic introduction to the world of menswear. It intensified my interests in men's fashion and sparked a curiosity to explore further. That same curiosity eventually lead me away from the sales environment and towards the art and craft of bespoke tailoring. Ultimately, I came to realize that retail sales left an incomplete and limited understanding of menswear. I had to know more, I had to go further.

My introduction into the art and craft of bespoke tailoring was both humble and simple. I bought a used domestic singer sewing machine, some fabric, thread, a couple of patterns, and went to work. I began with the basics, teaching myself to sew on evenings and weekends. I was lucky enough to have several mentors at my disposal, who were themselves skilled sewers and fashion designers. With their guidance and support, I gradually started to make clothing for myself. Little by little, project by project what started out as a hobby, my love for sewing and tailoring grew and became my primary focus in life and for my future.

To gain a more technical foundation of garment construction I enrolled at Dalhousie University in their Costume Studies program. With a focus on costume design and creation for theatre. I was exposed to both historical and contemporary techniques of garment construction. Learning the historical underpinnings of costume and dress lead to a contextual understanding of modern menswear and fashion as a whole. It is important to understand why we dress the way we do. The wonderful thing about the theatre, is the diversity from one production to the another, exposing one to a vast array of historical periods, styles and standards. In doing so new challenges arise, different techniques employed and a more complete understanding formed.

There is, however, no educational equivalent to real world experience. That is exactly what I got out of my time with Desmond Merrion. I wanted to learn the art of tailoring from the very best, keeping in line with the English traditions of Savile Row, and so I moved to the United Kingdom to work with Desmond. This was perhaps the most ideal learning environment I could have hoped for. Working one-on-one along side each other, I gained invaluable insights into the world of bespoke tailoring. Historically tailors are very much guarded about their "trade secrets", but not so with Desmond. He is so passionately committed to preserving the art, craft and traditions of tailoring and teaching younger generations. Under Desmond's guidance as one of the few cut and make bespoke tailors around, I honed my craft and skill in both the cutting and making of suits and shirts.

Like many pursuits in life, there are no shortcuts to becoming a bespoke tailor, no hacks, cheats or easy wins. It requires commitment and perseverance. After nearly a decade of hard work and dedication I have landed again on native soil and bring my love and passion for fine handcraft tailoring to Calgary, AB. I invite you to get in touch for a friendly chat to find out if bespoke tailoring its right for you.

- b-spoke -

60 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page