Natasha talks to Kathryn Sargent, incurable collector of old fashioned tailors’ instruction manuals for everything from court dresses to military suits, with a childhood appreciation for men in suits. Her dad even did the gardening in a suit!
In 1996 Kathryn was the ‘dog’s body with bling’ sorting buttons at Gieves & Hawkes. Today she gets to measure the inside leg of some rather famous men…royalty, stylish stars, world leaders and successful men of all professions. By Natasha Claydon
What did you do this morning?
I was up at 5:20am! I had a gruelling session with my personal trainer at The Third Space in Soho. Although I’m a good morning person, that’s not a typical morning. I had a cup of coffee, I can’t have too many because I get too hyper, and was in Gieves & Hawkes by 8:20. I pretty much started remarking suits straight away. I had a client fitting - they ordered a new blazer, and then caught up with the tailors and cutters who were already in. It’s all open plan but I like being around people so it’s quite good for me.
Who inspires you?
I like people that support British Industry, like Prince Charles. I like his views on architecture, craft and industry. A couple of years ago he was here with me. He was only supposed to be with us for about an hour but he spent much longer talking to the young people, the apprentices here.
And the late Robert Gieves. His knowledge and zest for the Company was so inspiring I was very fortunate to have worked with him. He is legendary in our trade.
How would you describe your earlier career?
- I did a fashion degree at Epson, now known as the University of Creative Arts. My tutor encouraged me to see Savile Row because I showed an interest in tailoring at that time. I was in a class of 60 and 55 of my classmates were doing womenswear. So I realized being a woman doing men’s tailoring was quite unusual.
I’ve always been really inspired by men in suits. I like the tailoring in James Bond’s films. I just thought, I’d love to make clothes like that, which are really beautiful for men. That can make people look so smart and sharp. And that’s what drew me to Savile Row. I did work experience here and was introduced to the lifestyles of its tailors and their customers. I ate food I’d never eaten before and met so many famous people. It was this secret burrow and you never knew who was going to walk through the door. I just knew I wanted to be a part of it.
When I came to Gieves & Hawkes I had to first do probation to make sure I wasn’t a lunatic. My first job was as a Trimmer. It’s a junior role but a very important role to give you an oversight of the whole process.
What has been your defining moment?
When I was 12 and 13 I used to go into the Leeds Art Gallery whenever I could. I knew then that I had to do something creative. And it’s what led me to study at Dewsbury Art College. I remember having to draw these loosely stacked matches and match boxes over and over again, having to look at the tiniest detail each time. It was so disciplined. It taught me how to really use my eyes and I still apply that discipline today.
What makes this all worthwhile for you?
What's your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
Seeing my clothes on clients. Knowing that I’ve done something that will really enhance their image or lifestyle. Being able to promote that service and having those same clients come back again. It’s a really good feeling.
My Louis Vuitton handbag. Actually I love all my handbags. I have over 40! But my Louis Vuitton ones are my favourites. I picked up a beautiful black patent one when I was in San Francisco last year. It is very smart and perfect for business.
How do you handle being so intimate with the rather famous men who you get to measure up?
I used to get really nervous but I don’t think about it now. You have to be totally professional when you start taking measurements. You have to understand each client’s likes and dislikes and you have to be very discrete about those. Getting the measurements right for their proportions is very important. Fortunately they seem to understand this.
(Kathryn is thankfully very dexterous. No slip of the hand then, I think to myself!)
When you’re measuring up for the perfect suit, which measurements are most important to you?
Chest, waist and seat. Those are the 3 important ones. They give you an idea of whether a client is proportionate or disproportionate. There are actually about 25 measurements to be taken if you want to get the pattern just right. Once I’ve got these I get to use my creativity to deal with the bits that need to be concealed.
(Yes, I reflect, the ‘seat’ is undoubtedly an important measurement. Eva Green had quite an eye for Daniel Craig’s perfectly formed seat in Casino Royale…)
Do you have a hidden talent?
Drawing. Especially people. And I love drawing in pencil.
Kathryn has whisked herself away from Gieves and Hawkes to set up her very own brand of luxury tailoring for men and women. Kathryn Sargent is part of the global tailoring elite, the Savile Row set and her brand that goes by the same name promises to be just that. To make an appointment with Kathryn call 02077347136 or email her at
If you would like to join ASIP
If you are a practicing personal stylist or image professional and would like to become a member of ASIP, please go to how to join ASIP. If you have any queries, email