Sunday 20 April 2008

Identity Crisis ... Part One.

What on Earth is a Jack Bunney?
A. ? ? ?

The question of what Jack Bunney's is and what we do has come up in conversation repeatedly over recent weeks. I have given some thought to what should be a rather obvious question and have decided that the answer is a lot more complicated than anticipated.

Jack Bunneys was originally founded as Men's Bespoke Tailors, in 1958 by Jack himself. The original incarnation of Jack Bunneys was a representation of Jack. Jack dressed impeccably and was a perfectionist in everything that he did. Although he carried this perfectionism easily and although dressed immaculately he was always relaxed in his Barker shoes and Shooting Jackets.
Jack's perfectionism marked him out in the East-End of London. Jack always aspired to West End standards and modelled his business on Saville Row tailors like Huntsmans. To understand why this made Jack and indeed the business of Jack Bunneys unique in the East End you have to understand the difference between West End and East End Tailoring.
The East End has always been t he poor cousin to the West End. Saville Row with its prestigious address, royal warrants and livery, was where the upper classes would shop. Choosing their tailor how they would choose their banker or barrister. The other customer who would frequent The Row was the Dandy and Gentleman. This type of customer (although sometimes of breeding) were your dedicated followers of fashion, this customer would choose a tailors by styling and trend. Work from these historic showrooms was often shipped from West to East for the Coat (jacket) makers in the East End to actually make.
East-End Tailoring however was without history, prestige, royal warrants and the regular income of military livery. The foundations of East End tailoring were built on immigration. Immigrants settled in the East-End and with immigration came tailors, from all over the world. East End Tailoring was about working-class tailoring. The East-End never had the upper-classes, or the Dandys or even the Gentlemen. The East End had Barrow-boys, entrepreneurs, Cab Drivers, builders, scrap –metal dealers and your factory workers. This limited your business to the Saturday night business. Whilst you had a regular clientele of professional people’s who would regularly have suits made for work and business. The majority of your trade was the hard-working man who would wear a suit for Saturday night out with the boys (maybe with the wife). This not only meant the fabrics you were working with were of a more unusual or showy nature, it also meant that budget was always an issue (not a problem Saville Row has ever had).
In short East End Tailors relied on the working man to have suits made for an evening out, which is why most East End tailors no longer exist.
Jack stood out though, his relentless pursuit of perfection made his product comparable to a Saville Row Bespoke Suit, this inevitably led to Jack Bunneys having a higher starting budget than other East End tailors. This also led to Jack expanding his client list, Jack had clients from all over the world. East-End entrepreneur’s who had “done-good” and were now reaping the benefit of their hard work and risk-taking business practices.

Jack Bunneys as a business is certainly multi-faceted but one thing I know for certain is Jack Bunneys is unique. We are a traditional Bespoke Tailors built on the principles of Saville Row. But without the history, or tradition, without the pretention, without the ceremony, without dandies, fops or toffs. Jack Bunney’s is about working-class honesty. The workmanship, the craftsmanship, the salesmanship are all working class and this seeps into our styling and design. We are traditionalist’s looking for an ideal England. In our ideal England a barrow-boy from Barking can be seated next to a Lord in a Soho Gentleman’s club both wearing a suit from Jack Bunney both comfortable and at ease in each other’s conversation.

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