Read in: Nederlands
TailorMates is located at George Gershwinplein, right in the heart of the Zuidas. It was here that Ronald Gans opened his flagship store four years ago and he wouldn’t have wanted to start this journey anywhere else. “I’ve seen the Zuidas being built, and most of Buitenveldert as well.”
We meet up with Ronald Gans in the three-storey building that’s home to The TailorMates. His flagship store is full of nice jackets, soft fabrics, ties, bowties, studs, shoes and accessories – all neatly arranged by colour. The walls along the concrete staircase are adorned with pictures of Dutch TV personalities, singers and politicians. All looking very dapper, of course.
“I’ve always had a passion for nice clothes”, says Ronald Gans, who’s been in fashion for 36 years now. “Actually, you could say I grew up surrounded by suits as my parents owned Gako, a chain of 34 fashion stores selling affordable suits – ‘Buy one, get one free’ was their motto. Gako ceased to exist in 1997 but I continued in fashion. First, I ran seven franchise shops selling the Donna Karan brand and then I started The TailorMates.”
‘Did you know that women find a man in a tailor-made suit sexier than in his birthday suit?’
Too obvious to ask
Why Gans opened his flagship store at this location is a question that’s too obvious to ask. After all, this is the area where men, and an increasing number of women as well, walk around in suits all day. Yet, there is another reason why Gans opened a store at the Zuidas.
“I was born here and spent my childhood in this area. I used to play tennis right at the very spot where my store is located and I played football down the road at AFC Football Club, so it’s wonderful to be able to start a new business in these familiar surroundings. And it’s very nice to have customers so close by. Business people call in during their lunch break or after work. If they need their measurements taken for a suit we’ll make an appointment for a day when they’ve got a bit more time.”
The latest trend
Fashion trends undoubtedly influence tailor-made suits. How does this affect Gans’ business? “We don’t sell fashion, we sell tailor-made suits. And it’s up to the customer to decide how that’s going to turn out. We do notice, however, that suits for ladies are becoming a bit of a fashion trend. These days a lot of lawyers and consultants find their way to our shop. Women know exactly what they want; they often show us pictures taken from a magazine or Pinterest and we copy those, with accompanying blouses and waistcoats. It’s more difficult to tailor for women than for men. Women are highly critical, not only of the suit we make but also of themselves”, Gans laughs.
“The general trend is that people want to distinguish themselves these days. You can see it all around you: the more personal and unique, the better. Here at The TailorMates the customer decides; the cut, the fabric (more than 5,000 samples in store), lining, buttons, lapels, pockets. To customize their suit even further they often have a personal text sown into the inside of their suit. There is space for forty characters. You’re definitely going to cut a fine figure with such a personalized suit. Did you know that women find a man in a tailor-made suit sexier than in his birthday suit?”
After he opened his flagship store in March 2014, Ronald Gans didn’t sit still. Two years ago, he started The Traveling TailorMates, offering customers a tailoring service at home or in the office. And he dresses the employees of various companies. “We stand for ease of use, comfort and service. We also create all the staff outfits for Hotel van Oranje. A beautiful tailor-made suit gives employees more self-confidence and adds to the allure.”
‘These days a lot of lawyers and consultants find their way to our shop’
The Zuidas is growing and The TailorMates is following suit. Does Gans have any more tricks up his sleeve? “Well, I’m going to start a campaign to explain the difference between a tailor-made suit and a ready-made suit altered by a tailor. Not many people understand that a ready-made suit that was altered is NOT a tailor-made suit. Such an off-the-rack suit is for an average-sized person but nobody is average, really. That’s why the ‘average’ suit invariably needs altering.”
“Customers are rigorously measured – we register fifty different measurements in total! These are used by our fitters to make a fully personalized pattern. It takes craftsmen 40 to 80 hours to stitch and finish a suit. The end result is a suit that not only looks better but is also much more comfortable to wear than a ready-made one. Add a tailor-made shirt, braces, cuff links, tie, and a nice pair of shoes – available in 24 different colours – and the picture is complete.”
Tailor-made suits have the reputation of being very costly but is that actually true? “People think tailor-made suits are a lot more expensive than they really are. You can buy a custom-made suit from € 495. It all depends on the quality of the fabric and that’s a personal choice. However, there are large differences in quality. For example, the lapels of a cheap suit are glued to keep them in shape whereas our suits contain horsehair and canvas. A cheap, glued suit cannot be dry-cleaned as the glue will dissolve and the fabric will start to cockle.”
A suit from The TailorMates is not for every wallet but Gans has come up with a clever solution for that. “We have a special plan offering young professionals the chance to look impeccable: they pay a fixed rate, starting from 25 euros per month, and get a tailor-made suit they can trade in for a brand-new one after two years. That’s very much a sign of the times; using things is more important than possessing them.”
The top floor of the 250 sq.m. store has a mannequin in a wedding suit on display. “Two years ago, we opened this Groom Room where we can receive entire groups. The groom-to-be can choose a wedding suit with a classic or modern cut. The suit is measured by our master tailors and the customer chooses the fabric. In our workshop we have samples of Loro Piana, Vitale Barberis, Cerruti, Guabello and Ermenegildo Zegna but also of Scabal, Holland & Sherry and Dormeuil. They’re all iconic manufacturers of the best fabrics available on this planet.”
George Gershwinlaan 4
T 020 774 3700
Read in: Nederlands