EAST END RISES AGAIN
Head East, young man, it you want to find the epicentre of London’s latest hot region. Shoreditch is where it is at, completely transformed from its ragamuffin, down-at-heel image of but a few years ago, with Spitalfields its less than alluring-sounding beating heart.
The East End of London has been home to successive waves of immigrants over generations, and for long was the a centre of London's clothing workshops. But gone are the old sweatshops and in their place is a smart, vibrant mix of retail outlets, housing names more used to being found in the world’s top exclusive centres. Hackett, Oliver Sweeney, Swatch, Agnes B, Barbour are just some of the international names that have moved in here, plus tailors Timothy Everest, who was a trail blazer, Marengo and now Gresham Blake.
The cognoscenti crammed into his shop one starry evening early this year to celebrate the opening and to indulge in some suitably stylish cocktails. Ray Winstone, Steve Coogan, Mitch Winehouse and Luke Evans were some of the starry guests who were showing off examples of Gresham’s tailored works.
Other samples lined the walls, with one particularly striking jacket made in a silk material patterned with a barbed wire pattern. This, as some of the other original cloths available, was woven to his design, and illustrates his quirky alternatives to the mainstream bespoke styling he also makes.
At top, classic suits in the new shop; right, Gresham Blake; below one of his bolder designs, a check three piece suit.
His stated aim is to “revitalise classic British tailoring and make it relevant to a new audience and a younger, hipper clientele”. So even the most classic looking of his suits may have “flashes of dandy”, as in brightly patterned linings, or perhaps gold or silver sleeve buttons.
“We did a suit for dj Carl Cox once with his name woven through the fabric and solid gold buttons with embedded diamonds. The aim was to out-bling P Diddy at a red carpet event and it did!
"I had another suit made up with our web site name woven through it, when I was on a USA selling trip. “Gee, does that say greshamblake.com” - they absolutely loved it.”
He retains his shop in the Lanes of Brighton, where he started and has a loyal local following. The Shoreditch shop replaces the facility he had in South Moulton Street.