Words: Swabreen Bakr
Photography: Michael Ash Imagery
Beau & Co. is a British inspired custom clothing company for men based in Philadelphia, started by Michael J. Beaumont, a 27 year old gentleman born in Blackburn, England. Beaumont has travelled quite extensively across the United States and lived in Canada; he officially launched the company in February of 2012 with the hopes of transforming the way men dress.
We spoke to him about tailoring, the differences between how American and British men approach fashion, and what men should look when deciding on a tailor and having custom clothing made.
“As a tailor, it’s really important that you deliver what the client is looking for, rather than making them something that you like.”
What is your background in regards to tailoring and interest in fashion?
I’ve had a love of clothing from a very early age. My family were always interested in dressing well and looking presentable, so as the youngest member, I was certainly influenced by them. My family is from Manchester but we would regularly visit London when I was growing up; I always loved visiting Savile Row and looking at the incredible blazers in the tailors’ windows. From then on, whenever I’m in a clothes store, the jacket section is always the first place I go.I’m just really intrigued and inspired by fabric, interesting patterns and unique details on a blazer. I received my first taste of working in the industry around 5 years ago, when my brother started a small made-to-measure tailoring business in Manchester. It was a great experience and allowed me to learn how to measure and fit, work with fabric mills and suit makers and advise clients on what would best meet their needs. The 2 or so years I spent helping him launch and grow the business really fueled my passion for the industry and made me want to start my own company even more. Fast forward a few years and Beau & Co. was launched here in the US.
What differences have you noticed in regards to how British men approach fashion and how American men approach fashion?
There seems to be a cultural difference between British and American men when it comes to fashion, with the Brits typically far more interested in clothing and tailoring from an early age, spending time to learn how things should fit and caring more overall, about how the look.
When working with clients in the UK, a good number will know the weight of the fabric, the type of weave and sometimes, even the fabric house that they want their cloth to come from. From what I’ve seen so far in North America, the interest in fashion and clothing seems to be growing, but it still seems that a lot of guys dress for comfort rather than style.
I do think this is a product of what the designers are putting in the stores over here though, as suits in particular are cut to be larger and less form fitting, whereas even budget suits in Britain are cut trimmer for a more flattering silhouette. There certainly are exceptions to the rule though - don’t get me wrong - but there’s certainly a much smaller percentage of men that are passionate and really interested in their clothes here, when compared to men in the UK.
The signs are promising through and in the year or so I’ve spent in Philadelphia, I’ve definitely noticed an interesting style developing among the men in the city, with more unique colors, trimmer fits and on occasion, vintage influences creeping in.
What can a gentleman expect from Beau & Co. in terms of the experience and craftsmanship?
From an experience perspective, we’re really trying to change the perception of tailoring and make it more modern, relevant and accessible. Many people see tailoring as stuffy, old and only for the wealthy, but we’re young guys who really do love clothing and are passionate about making clients feel confident and look fantastic, at a price point they’re comfortable with.The service you can expect to receive from us is courteous and professional but not uptight or too formal. We’re also big on convenience, with all fittings taking place at a location of the clients’ choosing, at a time that works with their schedule, even before or after hours. We want our clients to feel relaxed and at home whenever they meet us, the experience should be enjoyable, like catching up with a friend…just a friend who’s aims to make you look and feel great!We work really hard with our suppliers to ensure that the garments that we create for clients are constructed in the right way, so that they fit well, look great and last a long time. Out suit and shirt makers have been in business for decades and have dedicated their careers to being masters at their craft. This gives Beau& Co. and in turn out clients, great confidence that the items you’ll receive will not only look fantastic, but will last longer (if correctly cared for), than a typical store bought item. We really do take pride in, and stand behind our garments. I wear them every single day!
What are some of the key things men should look for when deciding on a tailor and having custom clothing made?
Before starting Beau & Co. the catalyst for me, in terms of having custom clothing made was a major difficulty in finding dress shirts that fit me at the neck and weren’t huge through the body. I ended up either buying the correct neck size and having the body altered by a tailor so it didn’t billow out at the back, or buying something that fit okay in the body but meant I could never wear a tie because the neck was 2” too small! After doing this for a couple of years, I’d had enough; once I bought my first custom shirt, it really was hard to wear anything else.
In terms of finding the right tailor, it’s important that you have a good connection early on and enjoy working with them. If all goes well, you’re going to be spending time with the tailor for a number of years, so it’s important that they listen well, understand how YOU want your clothes to fit and get the kind of style you’re going for. As a tailor, it’s really important that you deliver what the client is looking for, rather than making them something that you like.
Other crucial things to consider when choosing a tailor include: the number of measurements they take, whether posture is taken into consideration, the fabric mills used, the types of jacket canvasing offered, the number of customization options available and their alterations policy. Answers to these questions should provide a good guide as to what you can expect from their final garments.