The Savile Row Tour: Men's Fashion Heritage

Discover the tailored elegance and craft of men’s classic fashion on Savile Row.

Did you ever wonder where the custom for men wearing dark suits began, or how the finest suits bespoke suits are made today? 

On Wednesdays at 10 am and by appointment, I offer a two-hour tour that explains both how bespoke suits are made and how British tailors, royals, military heroes and celebrities have together set many of the prevailing fashions for Western men for hundreds of years, going back to the seventeenth century.   The tour is entirely focused on Savile Row itself, though, if desired, it can extend to Jermyn Street and St. James’s Street.  Several individual tailors and merchants are visited, and, if possible, staff members and craftsmen take the time to explain the beauty of what they make and sell.   A great deal of background history and gossip is also divulged, as I tell the interesting stories behind some of the most historically famous shops as well as those on the cutting edge of men’s fashion.

The cost is £20 per person.   Students and senior citizens may come for £15.

Groups are usually limited to 4 to 6 people, as the some of the spaces in tailoring houses are small and we must not get in the way of customers.

 

 

 

How to book your Savile Row tour

Reserve your place for a Wednesday tour or arrange a private tour at your convenience by texting 07805 935403 or contacting me here.

If you are reserving a place on the day of the tour, please text or ring 07805 935403.

 

When and where the tour starts 

On Wednesdays at 10 am, please meet in front of Gieves & Hawkes, 1 Savile Row, W1S 3JR.    The closest tube stations are Piccadilly Circus or Green Park.

 

Private Savile Row ToursBrummell&Cindy

The cost is £30 per person for a two-hour tour, with a concession of £25 for students and senior citizens.  Private tours are available most weekdays, starting from 10 am to 4 pm, and on Saturdays, starting at 10 am.

 

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Comments on the Tours

Dear Cindy, Many many thanks for the wonderful tour.  I loved every minute and learned so many things!

Hermano Silva, Fashion Journalist, Berlin


Cindy, Thank you so much for the fascinating tour yesterday.  It was a real treat to go into the various tailors, etc.  I thought I knew the area quite well but this was a real eye opener for me.  You have obviously spent a lot of time researching this tour and making such fabulous contacts for us.  Much appreciated.

Russell Nash, London


Dear Cindy, I just wanted to thank you again for the walk yesterday.  What a treat.  I have lived in London on and off my whole life, and know the area, but to have it unwrapped in that way was wonderful and fascinating.  Your talk was brilliant, and nipping in and out of the establishments revealed and illustrated it all perfectly.

Matthew Rosenberg, London


Dear Cindy, Thanks so much for allowing us the opportunity to get a sneaky peak at behind the scenes of Savile Row. It was for me a fascinating insight into a world that although familiar with I haven’t experienced since being a child.  It was great to meet Hugo [at Gieves & Hawkes] and to meet the ladies in the shoe store [Galliano & Girling] and the friendly guys at William Hunt, and end with a debate on the width of a tie and depth of a turn up at Turnbull & Asser. Thank you for your time.  I had a fantastic morning. 

Richard Wood, Woody’s Boyswear, London

 

Thank you so much for the Men’s Fashion Heritage Tour today.  We both had such an enjoyable afternoon your knowledge and the history of these areas was immense.  I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did but the way you delivered it and the rapport you have with all the shop keepers made this such a fantastic experience that I would definitely do a walking tour again.   Well done.  

Sherry Wilkes, UK

 

Your tour was just wonderful!  You were so delightful, and we, too, really had fun, as well as learned a lot.  We were particularly delighted when, later that same day, we saw the V&A’s Alexander McQueen exhibit.  Being able to know about, and see, firsthand, the influence his experience on Saville Row had on his later design work was really special.  From the fabrics to the cut to the finishings, we could trace many of their references back to that earlier time he spent in the world of bespoke.  What fun!  Thank you again for helping to make our London visit such an enjoyable one!  

Leigh Snell, Washington D. C.

 

Thank you so much for the tour yesterday, it was amazing.  I have no idea how you managed to get us into to the cutting room to chat with the top tailors in London at No.1 Savile Row, but it was an incredible experience.  And the presentation by the front of house at Richard Anderson was pretty amazing too!  In fact the whole thing was just brilliant.  Well done!  You are really good at this.

David and Carol Marsh, UK

 

 

Cindy, I want to say a big THANK YOU!!!!!! for the amazing experience that you provided for our group of A Level students. They are so inspired and are eagerly putting some of the things that they have seen and learnt into their own projects. We all have a renewed sense of the unique and special trade that Savile Row provide and we are very proud to have been a small part of the Savile Row experience for just a couple of hours. We cannot thank you enough and we will be back to visit you in a couple of years time with a new group of students to inspire!  Please keep doing what you do so well!   

J Bishop, RGS Worcester, UK

 

Hello Cindy,
I did a private tour with you of Savile Row on Monday 12th Sept.  Just after we parted I happened to pass in the street the young man who handles the Military outfits for Gieves and Hawkes as he was running an errand.   The interesting thing was that he was not wearing a suit jacket and I could see the structure, fit and cut of his trousers. They were amazing, high waisted and held by buttoning braces. I’m estimating the cut was early 20th century inspired (if not a completely vintage pattern) and he wore them so well.  I told this story to a group of male and female friends the other night and they couldn’t believe that I was only interested in the piece of clothing, not the wearer. I can truly say I was only looking at the trousers. It was wonderful to see a craft so perfectly executed and worn with such confidence.   Thank you for a wonderful walking tour. I thoroughly enjoyed it and could have asked you questions all day.

Libby Stock, Australia

 

 

 

Reviews posted on YELP

Half a century ago I left Oxford with its dreaming spires and lush Thames valley countryside to come to London to make my fortune, which so far I have failed to do. By a stroke of good fortune in the shape of an uncle in the Yorkshire wool trade who sent me occasional suit lengths I discovered very early on the fascination of Jermyn Street in London’s West End. I found my way to my first tailor, Miles & Co of Jermyn Street, and vividly remember the reaction of the Jeeves-like tailor when I suggested a zip for the trousers: “We do not use zips, sir. I think you will find the traditional buttons altogether more suitable.”

In time I found my way to various shops in the Street providing shoes, socks, shirts and aftershave. I would have learned a great deal more all those years ago if I had joined a tour run by someone like Cindy Lawford with whom a small group of us recently visited the Street. She has two outstanding passions: research and talking about her findings with joyful enthusiasm. I doubt if anyone knows more of the history of Jermyn Street than she does and she starts off in the seventeenth century with the Street’s founder, the extraordinary Henry Jermyn.

The historical pictures she creates are interwoven with visits to some of the shops where with her easy charm she has built relationships with managers, sales people and craftsmen. Those on her small tour groups are ushered into some of the back rooms generally reserved for a shop’s regular clientele. In these rooms, fitted out to the highest quality and redolent of a bygone age, the visitors are let into some of the secrets of the Street.

When I am next in the Street in a week or two I will drop into Joseph Cheaney again to investigate shoes with hand painted fiddle waists and if I buy a pair I should be able to get 10% off (thanks to Cindy). I shall then cross the Street to Rowley’s for lunch with 25% off (thanks again Cindy) where I shall raise a glass to the continued success of her tours.

Graham C, London

 

 

“Meet Cindy outside Berry Bros at 3pm” was the instruction given on the voucher tucked inside my birthday card and the anticipation created by those few words was well satisfied on a cool but bright Monday afternoon in March.

Dr Cindy Lawford is a Texan with a deep rooted love of British Men’s fashion who has many strings to her bow the most recent addition being her Men’s Fashion Heritage Tour, a guided walk (which appeals to both chaps and lasses alike) taking in visits to a number of world renowned names in the history of “being a proper gentleman”.

From the introductory snifter at Berry Bros to the Aladdins cave of Gieves and Hawkes via hatters, bootmakers, tobacconists, shirtmakers, traditional military and explorer outfitters and up to the minute high tech tweed designers Cindy kept us amused and interested all the way. Her passion for the area its history and variety of products shone through and was richly added to by each of the enthusiastic members of staff that we met in the shops along our route. We saw some jewels from the fashion world, saw some of them being made by skilled craftsmen and marvelled at the care that is taken from the moment a customer crosses the threshold for the first time to the moment their new item of clothing, footwear or whatever is ready to try on. It was window shopping with added bells and whistles!

Two and a half hours flew by. Cindy  steered us in all the right directions and the rapport that she has built up with each of the people to whom we were introduced resulted in an absolutely fascinating afternoon. We had been privileged to see behind the scenes in some of the most famous retailers in the world, places that, perhaps, even the most regular customers do not get to see. We had discovered new facts such as the one time home of the Embassy of the State of Texas (of which Cindy was appropriately proud) and it had all been achieved in a way in which we didn’t really feel we were tourists. Very clever.

Cindy’s home state may only display a lone star but, on the evidence of our time in her company, she would be entitled to have five on show.

My tour was a birthday gift from very kind friends. I can hardly wait until my next birthday as I sincerely hope for the gift of Cindy’s alternative “Jermyn Street Tour”. Perhaps I will try to arrange it for a Friday the thirteenth (and if you want to know why you will simply have to take the Men’s Fashion Heritage Tour).

 Spyke B, Eastbourne

 

 

On 23 March I took the ‘Mens Fashion Heritage Tour’ on something of a whim thanks to a ludicrously cheap deal courtesy of Amazon Local. I was not disappointed, and it proved to be the most entertaining afternoon of my year so far!
Although already familiar with the general vicinity, it soon became apparent that there was still much to learn about the sometimes less-than-illustrious but ever-rich history of what is now regarded as one of London’s smartest enclaves.
I was fortunate enough to have Dr Lawford’s undivided attention as the sole attendee (come on folks – you are missing a trick here!), and besides the sensational stories she knowledgeably expounds about business, bawdiness, clothing and characters, the real draw for many will be the unique access the good Doctor has to the usually-unseen back-of-house operations that lie behind the various shops which may seem preserved in aspic, yet still bustle with activity to keep pace with the modern markets.
You may visit the rare treats of Berry Bros & Rudd’s cellar, Lock’s hat store, Fox’s cigar humidor, Lobb’s shoe factory, and Gieves & Hawkes’ fitting and cutting rooms, among other little hidden gems. Each liveried lackey seemed happy to beckon Cindy in when she appeared distinctly dressed in red at their window, enthusing authentically about their trade and always-fascinating history. Honestly readers, there won’t be many tours that can gain such generous ingress to the bowels of these businesses, and one is received more like a friend than another tedious tourist!
For anyone interested in the history behind the geography of this part of the city, Cindy’s informative yet informal trawl from St James Street to Savile Row is unmissable. Even without a voucher, it’s a steal so don’t hesitate to give her a call and get on board.

Tom G, Surrey

 

 

Me and my mum thoroughly enjoyed the Jermyn street experience tour! I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in costume history, fashion, menswear or even just the history of London in general (as as well as clothing/tailoring, the general atmosphere of the street throughout history was discussed). It was great to be lucky enough to get to see some of the workrooms/talk to some of the tailors of Savile Row. Cindy was a lovely tour guide who is clearly both passionate and knowledgeable on her subject and so was a pleasure to learn from 🙂 5 stars from me and mum!

 

 

The Savile Row Tour in the Press  

Global Blue, the Russian version of the Luxury Travel Guide: http://www.globalblue.ru/destinations/uk/london/savile-row-tour-london/

 

 

A Documentary about Savile Row

To learn more about the behind-the-scenes world of Savile Row tailors, take a look at terrific documentary made by fashion students with much help from Matthew Rosenberg.  The documentary includes interviews of apprentices, tailors, and head cutters with decades of experience.

http://www.tailoredstories.org.uk/index.html

 

 

 

Harvie & Hudson Material

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