My working life started in 1985 with a four year engineering apprenticeship at lock making firm, Josiah Parkes & Sons Ltd, in Willenhall, Walsall.
I flirted briefly with a career as a roadie for various Birmingham bands and then, ultimately, started on a path towards tailoring by starting an evening course in shirt making and dressmaking.
As it became known within my social scene that I was making clothes, a friend introduced me to Birmingham designer Patti Bell. Patti had just left Khan&Bell, designers to the New Romantic scene including Duran Duran. I worked for Patti on and off for six years. This involved making clothes for bands and for her stall at London’s Electric Ballroom. At the same time, I also attended Handsworth college where I gained distinctions for the work I produced on a three year City&Guilds Hand-craft Tailoring and Retail Cutting course.
When college came to an end in 1996, I scoured the yellow pages and approached all of the tailors in and around Birmingham. After a follow up call to Ahmet Yusuf Ltd I went, thimble in pocket, to meet Ahmet and his team. After a six month trial, I was offered full time employment training along side Ahmet and coat maker, Mario Notarnicola. Throughout my 17 years at Yusuf’s I have been able to progress from apprentice through to workroom manager, cutter and coat maker.
Many years later and after being mentored by some great tailors I came to the decision in 2013 to strike out on my own: focusing and building on the art of bespoke tailoring. I’m now based at my home workroom, and continue to take my own commissions and work as a coat maker to the trade.