Although at first the word tradition often invokes ideas of the past, it actually describes the dynamic, constant renewal of cumulative knowledge. Handed down from generation to generation, closely guarded and developed in the intimacy of workshops, families or small businesses, communicated but never standardized, tradition in craftsmanship describes the transmission and evolution of complex know how and the continuity of professional legacy.

©FondazoineCologni/S. Pozzoli

When I came into the trade, I learnt very quickly that a Savile Row suit whispers to you, it never screams… For the ceremonial garments, I always say that half of the job is knowing why you are making what you are making, and why it’s important to maintain standards, the other is executing… What I produce today is made to the same standard as the 1920s and of much the same cut.

Keith Levett
Ceremonial and Livery Tailor

Keith Levett is a director at Henry Poole & Co, and the only dedicated livery tailor on London’s Savile Row. He learned to sew from his grandmother, and joined Poole’s as an apprentice at 17. Today, his complex gold braid and traditional decorative designs for coats and waistcoats can require as many as 32,500 handmade stitches.

T. Bertelsen © Michelangelo Foundation 2016