To say I was nervous meeting Mark Powell is a slight understatement. My first ever fashion interview and I certainly aimed high. Mark’s high profile clients include David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Paul Weller, George Clooney & Harrison Ford. I mean you can’t get better than that! Bowie & Mick Jagger!
I arrived knowing I was meeting an Iconic British Fashion Designer, Soho’s most famous Influential bespoke tailor to some of the coolest musicians and actors since the 80’s.
When I walked through the door just as I imagined and had seen on social media, Mark was sitting on his Dark wood chair behind his desk. I say chair it was more like a throne. I couldn’t get my jacket off and was flapping as he sat there cool as a cucumber. Standard Rebecca.
As soon as we started chatting it was like chatting to a family member. My family are Londoners, my grandad always wore a shirt and tie. My nan now at 92 still always looks fabulous. She often comments on how people look scruffy these days which is true. You don’t have to be rich to make an effort.
To hear Mark say, ” There is not much natural passing trade anymore, bespoke tailoring is a dying trade,” made my heart sink. He went on to say that this is why he now does ready to wear but the good thing is he has a very distinctive style so it shows through in the ready to wear collections.
Mark’s ‘Made to measure two piece suits start from £1400 and a three piece starts from £1800. Made to measure is made at a factory. Bespoke is all made by hand in house. (That is the difference between made to measure and bespoke) Obviously that is reflected in the price. A bespoke two piece suit designed by Mark and made in house starts from £3,000 and a three piece from £3700. With a bespoke suit you can have anything you want. ” My stuff has to look contemporary and current, I don’t want it looking like costume. A lot of the vintage styles look like something off a Bugsy Malone set”.
If you see what you like online you will still need to go in to be measured and fitted and that will be by Mark himself. “So for just one a grand you will be measured and fitted by the man himself. “Not some suits you sir salesman” (Marks own words!)
A surreal moment for me was listening to Mark talk about ‘Paul Weller” or you might call him ‘The Mod Father’. “He is such a lovely bloke, a very nice guy. Very down to earth.”
Bradley Wiggins started going to Mark as he is a Paul Weller fan. He is now one of Mark’s most high profile clients. Another good friend and client of Marks is Martin Freeman. He recently wore one of Marks designs in a Vodafone advert.
If you have recently become engaged and are starting to think about your wedding suit. Contact me and let me know the colour scheme and theme if you have one. (I’m sure your Fiancé will have spent hours planning) I can take you to Mark and he will make sure you look the bees knees. Mark told me he gets a personal reward from helping you to feel great on your wedding day. He understands that it might be the only time in some mens lives they will visit a tailor for their or someones wedding. How many designers, bespoke tailors that have dressed rock’n’roll royalty are so down to earth and in tune with all their clients? He is a star!
I asked Mark what his favourite suit he’d ever designed was. He said it was an impossible question to answer. “Every suit and client are different”. One suit that stands out was worn by George Michael in 1983, an Aids charity concert.
Fashion is dictated through tailoring.’ Slim fit suits an tapered styles have been the thing for a while now. Mark predicts we will see a return to wider cut trousers again soon!
Mark makes me proud to be a londoner, well I live in Watford, near enough. He thought I was from Essex. I told him I was from Watford he said, “Same thing!” The cheek! How refreshing to met an artist proud of his roots, proud of what he has achieved. So he should be proud. If you haven’t been inside Mark’s shop, please make time to. Keep our traditions going.. There aren’t many of them left.
I could go on forever.. I’ll finish now by saying what an honour it was for Mark to take the time to chat to me. Also thank you to Bobby Harrison & Shivaun for arranging this meeting for me.