Founded in 1906, Anderson & Sheppard was begun by the fittingly named Per Anderson and Sidney Sheppard. Trained by the Dutchman Frederick Scholte, who would become the tailor to the Duke of Windsor, Anderson and Sheppard would completely change the standard of dress in Britain. Gone were the strictly tailored Edwardian designs, and in were softer cuts and styles that are reminiscent of the suits that we know today.
It is these early Anderson & Sheppard designs that remain the standard for the brand even today. The cut, developed by Scholte, Anderson and Sheppard is known for its less prominent shoulder and higher up arm holes to ensure the suit stays on the body. What has changed, however, is accessibility – in the early days you would require a recommendation to be accepted as a client, which basically meant you would have to be royalty or aristocracy to be accepted.
No longer on Savile Row itself, Anderson & Sheppard now resides at 32 Old Burlington Street. But the new location does not mean that traditions are forgotten – Anderson & Sheppard are the only Savile Row tailor to only offer bespoke suiting and nothing else. This mean no made to measure, no licensing their name internationally and no runway shows. What this means is that each person gets the same service – one which becomes a collaboration of sorts with the staff to create the perfect, personal suit. Each bespoke takes at least two fittings to complete and the tailors of renowned in their field. It is a truly British experience.
But what would a Savile Row tailor be without a long list of illustrious clients? Fred Astaire came to Anderson & Sheppard after being influenced by Edward VIII and used to have the shop staff roll up the carpet so that he could dance on the wood floor beneath. So the story goes, if the jacket collar did not move from the neck then it was ready to leave the shop with him. More legendary clients include Gary Cooper and Douglas Fairbanks Jr, and today, although Anderson & Sheppard are famously tight lipped, clients are rumoured to include Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.
It is the culture at Anderson & Sheppard that a suit should last a long time. For them, a ten year old suit is still a new suit, and if a suit is passed on from father to son then the cutters and tailors are happy to alter it to fit its new owner. One suit that may not be passed on is the one that was worn by HRH Prince Charles when he was married in 2005, even though it was made in 1992 – surely a mark of quality if ever there was one. This is probably down to the minimum of 27 measurements that are required for each suit. Each order is written in the ledger book and the customer must sign – a tradition since 1924.
In 2012, Anderson & Sheppard opened a haberdashery on Clifford Street which is looked after by Audie Charles, formerly the second in command at Doug Hayward, to ensure the authenticity and quality of this second location. Designed to feel like a Mayfair home than a store customers are encouraged to come and touch the merchandise, which are out of their glass cages, for a full tactile experience.
Trousers come in ten styles developed by the cutters at Anderson & Sheppard with a wide range of colours and cloths available from flannels to moleskins, cords and worsteds. The customer can select from a range of styles from flat front, jean cut or pleated in any of the colours and fabrics available and have them hemmed to their specifications within a few hours of placing the order.
This development has allowed Anderson & Sheppard to take what they are already well known for and apply it in a more democratic and accessible way. Customers do not have to be stuck with clothes that do not fit properly as it is possible for their purchases, which have already been customised in terms of fabric and fit, tailored to their bodies.
Menswear classics like white oxford shirts, perennially on menswear style lists, to cashmere sweaters with high cut arm holes, designed to be worn under suits are available along with a number of other British made pieces like cabled wool shooting socks from Cornwall, fisherman’s sweaters from Ireland or cashmere sweaters from Scotland. All of these are available year round so if you are planning a trip to the jungle in November or you need a sweater for your summer skiing trip then Anderson & Sheppard have you covered.
You don’t have to be a Anderson & Sheppard regular customer to shop here either, first timers are more than welcome to come and shop or sit in the front room of the store and warm themselves next to the fire, have a drink at the bar or watch whatever sport is in season before or after perusing the clothing on offer.
For more information head to http://www.anderson-sheppard.co.uk