We need to go back to the middle ages to imagine how the first artisans tailors from Brussels looked like. At the crossing of two narrow streets, after the thrift and the leather crafter, an artisan was leading his team in the back of the shop, while the master tailor would receive his client. Over the centuries, tailoring has remained even if it has had to adjust itself to the ever-changing needs. Yet he has never failed in his duty to dress men, while answering to the dress codes and standards of society, but sometimes also coquetry or fantasy of elegance, that only a tailored garment can offer.
The tailor is, and has always been a craftsman. It is also for his expertise and his prestigious profession that he is given the title of tailor master. Although he has changed over time, the authentic tailor persists. It is certainly rare but at the corner of some of Brussels’ streets you may still find some shops where tailor-made suits have been made for a very long time.
The master tailor has several jobs depending on the step of the tailoring. He is the one who takes the first measurements of his client. Then he draws the template, choose the materials, lead his workshop and will do the final adjustments. But a master tailor is also an advisor. He is there to listen to the client starting from the first meeting and he will be there to advise him so that he may find a design that corresponds to his morphology. He will also help indecisive clients to choose or guide those who are not familiar with the sometimes strict evening wear dress code.
The tailor identifies the needs of the client, and knows instantly which style suits him, and determines according to the tastes of the client, what colours and fabric are the most suitable. For centuries, even though fashion has evolved, the tailor performs the same gestures starting from the measurement all the way to the final adjustments.
The tailoring business involves many of the skills and qualities that only a few master tailors still have in Brussels. The master tailor is meticulous and patient. He knows all the materials and fabrics he uses. He is obviously mindful of the details and has good relational skills. The connection with the customer is essential, while keeping business in mind. Finally, to lead his workshop, the master tailor must demonstrate an unparalleled sense of organisation and rigour.
In the past, the master tailor was the only craftsman who made clothes for men. Nowadays, even ready-to-wear brands offer suits on their shelves.
However, no machine can replace the work and the expertise of a master tailor. This is why men continue to turn to a professional tailor for special occasions (engagement, wedding attires, ceremonies, balls, …)
Ready-to-wear clothes may have dominated the industry and offer clothes that are accessible to everyone. Nevertheless, standardisation and the need for mass production have had the effect of creating templates. We then find sizes S, M, L, XL, which correspond to an arbitrary cut and we need to settle for the size which is the most suitable. The tailor does the opposite. It offers a personalised service from the first appointment until the purchase of the garment. When you enter a tailor, he receives you and tries to learn more about your personality but also for what occasion you are planning on wearing your future suit.
In fact, opportunities to wear a tailored suit are more common than you might think. Any type of ceremony, gala or wedding must be celebrated by wearing a suit that perfectly flatters your body type. But a tailor also does adjustments. This can give a second life to your old trousers or readjust a dress-shirt that was not fitted enough..
Whether your style is classic or trendier, it’s nice to have a unique and elegant garment that fits both your tastes and your criteria, knowing that it was designed by a professional who has put all his expertise in. The personalised advice of the master tailor will allow you to find the ideal design. Its unique crafting will be made according to the measurements taken during the appointment. Then adjusting will take place again in the workshop in your presence. That is why it is important to find out if the tailor has his alterations workshop.
In 1365, the City of Brussels allowed tailors to acquire the interesting status of craftsmen and to practice a recognised trade. Although outfits has evolved and the standardisation imposed by ready-to-wear has changed the landscape of fashion, Brussels has carefully kept some master tailors at the corners of its shopping streets.
The center of the city has always welcomed brands of all kinds, placing itself as the focal point of the capital. Yet, historically, it is other neighbourhoods, such as those along Avenue Louise, who have made their way into the world of fashion and luxury.
Moreover, near this artery are still some authentic tailors like La maison de maîtres who embrace the traditions of the master tailors who have built the reputation of this district.