NEWCOMER ON THE NEW SIDE
The grand old names of Savile Row stand largely on your left as you walk down the Row in the direction of Piccadilly. Opposite, in the newer premises, are the newer folk – apart from Davies, of course.
Next door to Davies is the small establishment of newcomer Nick Tentis. He arrived just months ago and has found it a rewarding base for his bespoke work.
“I wasn’t really aiming to come to Savile Row,” he explains. He already had a retail outlet in Avery Row, and workrooms nearby, and was looking around Mayfair. His agent came up with premises in Savile Row, which he took and revamped into a classy shop with shiny coffee bar on the ground floor and a very modish barber/grooming salon in the basement.
His stylish, sharp image reflects his background. He dropped out of school to work in the fashion hothouse of Kings Road, moved on to buying and selling various menswear lines, and then ended up focussing upon vintage suits.
“Then, in the 80s, there was still plenty of really good vintage stuff around, some from the small factories in the East End that have now all gone. There were also good suits to be found in the junk shops and Oxfam – that’s what we wore!”
Dealing with these old styles gave him an appreciation of style and quality and once that supply dried up, he decided to start producing his own clothes. Around 15 years ago he opened his first shop in Soho on Beak Street and has progressed pretty steadily ever since.
“I’m not a tailor, I don’t sew,” he says “but I do fittings and I know style.”
This shows in his slick, modern website and in the selection of his ready-to-wear designs stocked in the shop. Properly tailored but with a soft finish, unlined jackets are favoured, a piped edging something of a signature detail. And the choice of cloths is impressive, sourced from around Europe as well as the UK – “from wherever I can find the best and the designs I like,” he says.
Bespoke underpins his business, backed by a team of experienced tailors. Here, he feels style can be less traditional “I’m not into lots of embellishment. I’m into good style, fit and construction. There’s a slightly retro look, a 60s flavour, to my suits, slim, clean, quite narrow.”
He has built up a loyal client base over the years, across a broad age group. “They range from 20s through to 70s,” he says. “What they have in common is an interest in our designs and product.”
His presence on the Row has increased this base, new clients finding him, and old ones remaining. “Its worked really well for us to be on the Row, I’m very pleased now. I think it has also helped us produce a better product.”
He is now actively looking for a larger retail site around Sloane Square or in Mayfair. “I want to make it something of a male emporium, to include a coffee bar, barber’s, treatment room, perhaps a licensed seafood bar. I’m sure that will happen within the year.” And for the future, there are more ambitious plans for further shops in London … “Then I’d like to do New York – or maybe find a retail partner for Shanghai or Beijing.”
A likable and fast talking fellow, his confidence is indicative of the new breed of tailor facing the old guard on the Row. It is easy to believe that he will be taking his brand of bespoke retailing, coupled with other male style services, to a wider market.
And he is certainly a welcome addition to Savile Row, illustrating how add-on services can attract new customers.