Late in 2007 I was in Paris on a sneaky weekend away with my partner. One night I found myself so inebriated that I decided it would be a good idea to propose to her. She was clearly in a similar state of confusion as she foolishly agreed.
As we later planned the various components of the ceremony, I thought it might be nice to avoid all the nonsense of hired morning suits and chintzy waistcoats. They never fit properly and the resulting photos look bloody awful. So I did the decent thing and spent some of the money on a bespoke suit. Flush with cash from the apartment I’d just sold, I walked into the little tailor’s shop near my office in Kent and nervously enquired about getting a suit made.
It turned out that the tailor had spent many years working on Savile Row. He encouraged me to borrow a book: The Savile Row Story: An Illustrated History. I found it fascinating, bought some other books about the history of men’s fashion and gradually started forming the idea that it might be nice to study something in this area at a college. After all, I’d just finished two nightschool courses in car maintenance – Basic and Advanced, serious stuff – so I was primed and ready for the big time! A quick search online for suitable courses only brought up one option: London College of Fashion’s MA in History & Culture of Fashion. Assuming I had a background inadequate for their entry requirements I emailed to ask what I would need to do to prepare for an application. The reply from the Course Director (the author of a book I had just read) encouraged me to apply, so I did.
After sending an application, an interview, submission of a short written piece and a bit of a wait, I got a letter with an unconditional offer to start the MA. I was that chuffed I even blubbed a bit. Five years on I’m still at LCF with 4 years of a part time PhD left to go.
The tailor? He made a beautiful suit and we’ve become very good friends. He now sends me texts with the filthiest jokes you could ever imagine….