Segun Adelaja knows the industry. The day we met we ended up talking for a long time about the expansion of small brands like Berluti, their raw materials and supply chains. About what happens when a small company is bought out and how you manage quality in the midst of rapid expansion. His shoes are made by an ex-Berluti maker, so perhaps there is some bias there, but he freely admits to owning pairs himself – indeed to owning almost every brand of shoes.
It’s hard to stop talking to Segun (She-gun), actually.
And I suppose that theme runs though his shop and his products. He’s tucked away at the back of the Quadrant Arcade (off Regent Street), his shop is unpretentious – not to say sparse – and his website hasn’t been updated in quite a while. There’s nothing wrong with it, but the press articles are from 2002 and still reflect the time when he was more of a visiting tailor and shirtmaker. The Collections section has been “coming soon” for a long time.
Segun is more about word of mouth. Not that he’s understated in person, but such is the community of Nigerian (his native land), English and other customers from across Europe that he has never really explored marketing or the internet.
Although his origins are as a visiting tailor, today Segun is more of a host to an severely edited emporium. He is the only outlet for Lorenzo Villoresi (of Florence) fragrances in the UK. He is one of very few places that stock Gallo socks (Edward Green sometimes carries a couple of pairs). And he commissions his own designs in large holdalls from Swaine Adeney & Brigg.
Shirts, trousers and jackets, on the other hand, are made to his own designs in Italy. And I have to say it was the made-to-order nature of the trousers that grabbed my attention. They are beautifully made, with hand-sewn trouser curtain and notched waistband, as well as nice design touches like side straps in a variety of colours, widths and materials.
But most importantly, they are all adjusted free of charge. You can have the seat smaller or bigger, change the rise, alter the waist or the hips, as well as adjusting either the length or width of the legs. The legs are made deliberately wide so they can be taken in – I had mine adjusted from 28cm to 22cm across the bottom.
Segun has the eye of the tailor still, explaining to me how he thinks it necessary to lower the rise if a man has a large belly, or raise it if he has a large bum. And with the mind of a tailor it just seems unacceptable that someone would walk out with trousers that don’t fit him. The price, around £180, doesn’t change no matter what you want. Even ordering an entirely custom pair isn’t much more.
I was never sure where to get trousers before. It seems extravagant to have my tailor make them – the figuration is not difficult. But ready-to-wear trousers are too far the other way, never really fitting. This seems like a nice compromise.