We have a great crew at Henry Herbert.
There is myself, Charlie, and I set up the company eleven years ago. However, it is everyone else who really makes the whole show work. The Front of House is Alexander; our Head Cutter, Francesco; our shirt maker and Alterations Manager, Abdul and our two apprentices, Lucy from Newham College and Finn from Amersham & Wycombe College. Just as importantly is our Administration – Agnes and Pat, who both make sure the wheels turn around.
This week, we completed a Nehru jacket – a beautiful looking, tall jacket which a customer asked us to make for his sister’s wedding. There are a variety of stories as to its origin and often with these stories it takes some deciding yourself which one to go with. I am comfortable with it being born and styled by Jawaharlal Nehru, a freedom fighter, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence.
Indeed it is often worn for traditional Indian festivities and ceremonies and has been the popular choice amongst villains too – including Dr. No, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Karl Stromberg and Kamal Khan in the James Bond series as well as The Master, the arch-enemy of The Doctor in Doctor Who .
But how on earth is a freedom fighter from India associated with ham and Tailor’s Ham at that?! In order to complete the bespoke jacket for the customer, let’s call him Mr Bigfoot, we need to sit it on something that resembles his chest. A mannequin would not do and so we used what is called a Tailor’s Ham – a tightly stuffed pillow used as a curved mold.
Tailors Ham’s have become a respectable tool of the tailor’s trade, to the extent that people cover them in a variety of interesting fabrics and patterns.
In any case, our Tailor’s Ham saved the day and ‘he’ seemed very comfortable, and at home, giving a helping hand to the legendary Nehru jacket.
And we had a very happy customer at the end who has promised to send us photographs of the jacket in all its glory at the wedding of his sister. Until that moment, Mr BigFoot wishes to keep his jacket under close wraps and so in the meantime, my own jacket in all its glory is shown below. I love it.
As always, please feel free to leave comments and ideas below.