A tailor is one of those rare jobs where the name is a noun, a verb and an art.
Similar to a surgeon or a pilot, a tailor's precision and accuracy are skills developed over many years of professional practice, ensuring the final garment you wear is a combination of your personal measurements, and fabric and accent choices - the ultimate personal statement.
This is the aim of Tailors Mark – a bespoke clothing maker that has combined 3D printing technology and the art of tailoring to create a pattern for success.
"We're a blend of traditional tailoring and ultra-modern technology," said Tailors Mark Chief Operating Officer, Dave McLaughlin. "The craft and the detail, the romantic element; none of that has changed. What has changed is how we go about measuring people and what it means for the experience of the customer."
"Tailoring should be super accessible. It should be for every person. It shouldn't cost you five to six thousand dollars; you should be able to get a perfectly tailored suit for around about one to two thousand dollars. That's our vision."
From humble beginnings as shirt makers, the team at Tailors Mark looked to technology to continually evolve the art of the perfect fit; discovering new methods of tailoring along the way.
"We originally asked customers to get a tape measure and measure themselves up at home," said McLaughlin. "They could follow videos and diagrams and instructions, which a lot of people did, but there was a bigger portion that put us in their too hard basket."
"So we initially developed smart sizing algorithms based on all the data that we had captured from all of our customers to statistically predict what your shirt size would be. Obviously, we needed a similar solution for suits – however, suits are a much more complex garment and mathematics alone doesn't solve the fit problem - that's where the idea for the technology was conceived."
Using a digital scanner at the company's showroom or via an in home or office visit, your tailor will take a 3D scan of your body to create a digital double. To do this, you'll need get down to your socks and jocks, step onto a slowly turning platter and remain still as the scanner documents your body – a process that takes under a minute.
A 3D replica of your body is then made from this scan, using biodegradable and recyclable corn starch. This body double is then present at all times to ensure every cut and stitch measures exactly to your body.
"We don't need to have the smoke and mirrors, or the facade of drinking whiskey and smoking cigars," said McLaughlin. "All of that is there to help bring the customer back because the tailor needs you there."
"Our customers don't need to come back multiple times to have a garment made around them as we do it around their 3D printed double. Basically, we use technology to make it less time consuming to get into perfectly tailored suit."
Down to basics
If you prefer not to get down to your Reg Grundies, measurements can still be taken the old-fashioned way. A tailor can also come to you during business hours and use a portable body scanner – although you may want to ensure you don't book the boardroom with the glass walls for your consultation.
Of course, the team are also across the fact that sometimes bodies change between the time you get measured and the time you collect. If you put on or lose weight, you can resubmit new measurements online, or be rescanned, so they keep an accurate digital 'you' on file. Any alterations are done in the showroom.
They'll also address any physical quirks that require some extra attention - do your thighs rub together (thanks to those squat sessions at the gym) resulting in fabric wearing at faster than usual.
Born this way
Single or double-breasted, lapel width, Italian style, English style, American style, vents, buttons, pockets, belt loops – every suit from Tailors Mark has more tailoring options than you can get types of coffee. Being a Melbourne business, that's really saying something.
For Head Tailor, Sam Donaldson – who brings with him a Savile Row pedigree - these small touches are the hallmarks of an individual's style: "It's about trying to capture how a person presents themselves to the world, both on a working front and a social front."
"It's my job, in a subtle way, to try and educate. But, fashion taste is like music, it's like art – at the end of the day it all comes down to the way the person perceives it. There's no right or wrong answer. I wouldn't put you in something that will not definitely make you feel great."
Designing and making suits this way is, according to Donaldson and the team, both more efficient and sustainable. It's also a process that allows Tailors Mark to promote responsible buying habits, ensuring waste is minimised across the industry.
"We're also trying to reduce the amount of waste through other websites. If people want to buy something elsewhere online, they are able to jump onto our website and look at what their size charts are."