Five Minutes With… Brendon de Silva, Bespoke Tailor

Having trained under a Bespoke master at a young age, Brendon de Silva has now positioned himself as one of the best Bespoke tailors in New Zealand. Silva started his career at The Suit Centre, selling upmarket suits before spending time at Working Style, which eventually lent itself to transitioning to the next level of tailoring.

“A bespoke suit is made in stages with generous inlay to establish the perfect fit as only a bespoke suit can. This differs from a made to measure suit which is made in one go with a few alterations before and after and can never attain the fit of an authentic bespoke garment,” said Silva.

For the past 15 years, Silva has been visiting mills in West Yorkshire, where he sources English suiting fabric and catches up with industry friends. Along with designer Jane Daniels, Silva visits Paris to attend a three day trade fair and meet with a local French tailor to further his education.

“Italy is for the bits in the suit you don’t see, the sun dried canvases and beautifully made silk and Bemberg lining. The hours of effort that go into a bespoke suit prohibits the use of inferior materials.”

This year Silva hopes to take on an apprentice, to both pass on his knowledge but also increase throughput as his client waiting list continues to grow. But urged that training in a bespoke style is incredibly time consuming, and maintenance of high standards is incredibly important.

“New Zealand generates young fashion designers by the truckload. They all exit with the same generic knowledge but none could make a top end garment after 3-4 years of study. It would be great if we could attract overseas talent to fill this tuition gap and allow time in their courses for this.”

For now, Silva continues the almost 120 year old tradition of Preston and Maurice Tailors, situated in the same workroom at Auckland’s Queen’s Arcade.

“The arcade is old-worldly enough to look the part and has natural light, which is essential for a tailor.”