James and Iain are determined men. Ambitious too. You might even say they were daredevils. For what was once a fledgling tailoring company that measured customers in West End, City and Docklands offices for suits made overseas, Cad & The Dandy has evolved into a full service tailoring brand that not only makes suits fit to a customer’s peculiar shapes and sizes but one that also, within reason, accedes to various wills and whims; with a flagship shop near the Royal Exchange, a berth in Savile Row and roaring trade, Cad & The Dandy are one of the most talked about successes of tailoring.
The first time I reviewed a Cad & The Dandy product, a little over a year ago, I was reviewing a company still in its infancy. It was a made-to-measure double-breasted suit, tailored overseas at one of the tailors that C&D had sought long and hard for; a reliable cutter that could be trusted to deliver a quality finish time after time. The result was highly satisfactory for me. For James and Iain, it was momentarily satisfactory but they thought, as they always do, they could do better; pride and satisfaction subsided, hunger for improvement increased.
While trade has been good, I get the impression that James and Iain themselves are never content; once one level has been achieved, they cast themselves off into that great ocean, sailing towards the horizon seeking perfection. Perfectionists are not content people. They are seekers, discoverers; daredevils indeed.
My recent fitting at Cad & The Dandy for one of their top flight ‘Full London Bespoke’ suits was a new experience. Having been measured by John at the shop in the City, a man who seems to have been born with a pin in his teeth and a chalk in his hand, I now went for the first of three or four fittings at C&D’s Savile Row rooms. The comparison between the last Cad & The Dandy product was already stark – for the first suit, there was one fitting; the finished article was delivered and small adjustments made to perfect the fit. At this stage the suit, a blue flannel chalk stripe with a double breasted waistcoat, was basted; fragile and covered in white stitching, the fabric was nevertheless magnificent.
At this stage, I made sure that I was satisfied with the aesthetic of the suit – “The lapels” I commented as John examined my shoulders “are fantastic. I love the width.” John looked up and acknowledged my approval; any alterations or suggestions are certainly better made at this point in time. I also confirmed that there would be lapels on the waistcoat, as I had requested; these are added, I was informed, at a later stage. As I slipped off this cobweb of a suit, I felt a humbling gush of embarrassment for the craft that was being employed for my benefit; my insignificant frame, my bony back, and my lopsided shoulder blades were all receiving attention. Slight touches here and there, pinning and gentle brushing of fabric; there is nothing like the experience of receiving such a fitting to make one feel as a King; a complicated mixture of pride and frivolousness.
Iain, ever present throughout the fitting, informed me it would be a good few weeks till the next stage; “John’s got a lot of hand stitching to do now.” As the suit should be nearing completion, although still in a physical state that allows for adjustment, it will be more interesting to review. I will be keen to compare the feel of this fully canvassed, hand-stitched C&D suit with the simple, but nonetheless very elegant, made-to-measure that I already possess. For the purposes of immediate comparison, I plan to wear the latter to the next fitting. James and Iain promised me that this new product is the fruit of their considerable labours; they said if I was pleased with my previous suit, this one will exceed all expectations. I look forward to the result.