The Designer’s Corner — The Telegraph Collection
So, just how well does our Telegraph Suit travel? What makes it the perfect suit for the man on the move? We asked lead product designer Nick Kemp a few questions about our latest collection and his thoughts on the perfect everyday suit.
Tell us about what makes the Telegraph Jacket and Trouser different from the everyday suit.
“The Telegraph Jacket and Trousers are in essence a deconstructed suit; there are no shoulder pads, it’s not fully lined, it has a simple backdropped lining. We wanted to make more of a natural fitting jacket—to make something that doesn’t feel so constructed and suit-y. It’s not your typical power suit that’s meant to broaden your shoulders. They are just great casual, easy pieces to throw on and wear throughout the day. Also, the jacket and trousers are intended to be worn as separates, and I think that is a big thing that’s been a bit difficult to get across. The jacket can look great with a pair of jeans, while the trousers can go with a crisp tee and rolled cuffs.”
Was there something that inspired this approach toward the traditional Jacket and Trouser?
“Back in the day, in the early 1900s, no matter what your profession, you were wearing some blazer or jacket. It wasn’t a suit per se, it was just everyday attire. That is what I tried to do with the collection; to make it feel like a jacket and less like you’re wearing a suit. A little more casual, a bit more approachable.”
And the fabrics for this collection?
“The two fabrics were custom developed with a mill in Portugal that has specialized in classic suiting fabrics since 1936. While they had an excellent range of base materials, they didn’t have quite the texture and color we were going for. There wasn’t anything in their line that hit the mark. So we worked closely with them to make something just for us. The color, texture and yarn make are all unique. The resulting mixture of wool, linen, and 2% stretch offers a beautiful, classic, tailored suit without feeling restricted—a working man’s suit. Most suits are meant to be comfortable with your arms at your side. This one allows you to move and move in it a lot easier than your typical suit.”
“Also there’s a little bit more of a casual approach with the chambray drop back lining and bound seams. Chambray is historically more of a classic, almost workwear-type fabric and not what you typically see in suits. It’s a nice juxtaposition from what you usually see when you open a suit, which is generally a synthetic lining.”
Finally, were there any particularly challenging aspects about producing this line?
“The most difficult part has been getting that fit. We wanted the clothing to have mobility, but we also wanted a great classic shape. To achieve that took quite a few rounds of sampling. We’re very exacting about the way our garments fit and the way they function, and we couldn’t find that in a lot of suit jackets. Same deal with the pants. There was a lot of back and forth and resampling to make sure that we got the best fit but also the most mobility out of a dress pant. We don’t want this to feel dainty, restricted or not utilitarian. A lot of that back and forth involved minute changes down to even a quarter or eighth inch. One of my mentors taught me in clothing: an eighth of an inch is a mile. All those little adjustments come into play as we work through the development process.”
“To take it a step further the Jacket has been constructed to be finished but also easily tailored. It can be hard to buy a suit off the rack and have it fit your body perfectly. Part of the way we constructed the jacket and pants was to have it customized easily. We want this to fit correctly.”