AmCham Slovakia


What do you need to know when having a suit tailored?

Tailoring a suit that fits perfectly is not something just anybody can do. Why? Miriam Lisová, the co-owner of Marco Mirelli, through whose hands thousands of garments have passed, gives us the answers.

Today, if you want a tailored suit, there are many companies that claim to be able to make the perfect suit. How do you choose a good one?
I tip my hat to those who have the courage to claim they make tailor-made suits. Creating a truly high standard custom-made suit is an art. You need to know the customer’s build, the fabrics must be of the highest quality and you must be a master in design, cutting and sewing. So, when someone says they make custom-made attire, be sure to verify it. In the first place, you should take an interest in whether they have the expertise and knowledge and whether they posses the experience necessary to provide the product and services they claim. Simply put, whether they have the “professional legitimacy” to make tailor-made garments. Not everyone can do everything and tailoring a custom-made suit requires certain abilities.

So when I am looking at the professional legitimacy and experience of a company, what exactly should I be looking for?
As regards professional know-how, experience and background, let me explain it via my own story. In my family, tailoring is something we learned from childhood. My father was the technical production director for the largest clothing company in Slovakia and he inspired me. I have devoted myself to clothing design and modelling and I have been continually expanding my education as regards cutting. I have always been a perfectionist and thanks to this I was recognized by an award for the best technological solution and the best graduate clothing. At college, I developed my creativity in philosophy, ethics and art. We worked in studios with different materials and colours; I explored how we communicate via our clothes and express our feelings and mood. I was extremely fulfilled by this and this was reflected in my receiving the dean’s award for the best diploma thesis of the year entitled “Objects as a Means of Art Communication”.

I suppose to make the perfect suit, we need more than just education.
Of course. Natural abilities, creativity, belief, energy, willingness, perfectionism, and sometimes the courage to break the rules and do things differently are all vital. These are the prerequisites for building a brand with a world-class product and service. So when, finishing my studies, I decided where my skills could be of the greatest benefit, whether to start teaching, or transform my knowledge and skills into creating beauty and building a culture of tailoring in Slovakia. My husband, Marek, convinced me that fulfilling our dreams and developing the abilities that we were given was the right way to go. So, I took an internship at a modelling studio where my father worked and I started to development my understanding at Marco Mirelli. We were thrown into the deep end, and everyone told us nothing would come of it. But our credo was: that nothing is impossible!

As regards your study and practice, what do you consider to be unique compared to your competitors?
One thing that really helps is that I know the process inside out from A – Z. From image consultancy, which involves the creation of personal styles and dress codes, to everything that concerns production. I know about cutting, the design of clothing according to specific measurements and build type and sewing technology. I came to understand that we had to manufacture garments on our own, not at other companies. We found that if we want perfection, we needed to have the whole process under our control. This is why we produce everything in-house. For the ultimate product, however, it is not enough to have top technology, we also need the best people. We found them and they are the heart of our business.

Everyone has different expectations for tailor-made clothing, but everyone wants clothing to sit perfectly. What are the different ways tailored clothing can be made?
Bespoke tailoring (BT; British term for custom-made) is traditional tailoring, and its origin is in London, where there is a well-known street of traditional tailors – Saville Row. Bespoke is the highest level of tailoring sewing and involves sewing by hand. Bespoke is therefore associated with tailoring and the tailoring art. Then, there is a lower level of tailoring known as made-to-measure (MtM), which is used in ready-to-wear products and services, local and international brands that are only based on design. This method can be characterized either as a fitting with length adjustments, or a tailor-made fitting into a ready-made size with the correct length and circumference. Some brands have suits tailored and then leave the bottom of the legs unfinished, which are then adjusted as the client requires. In many cases, however, the made-to-measure method is not just used by ready-made brands, but also by many salons and individuals claiming to offer tailor-made clothing and tailor-made garments.

So certain companies claim to provide tailor-made clothing, but in reality they are tailor-made only to a certain extent?
Yes, exactly, because to create a custom garment, the company must have the entire process under control, i.e. own resources – either traditional tailors, or professional foundations, in-house production, know-how and experience. So, if someone does not have professional qualifications, this will not be tailor-made in the true sense of the word. If I were to pretend I offer tailor-made garments when taking measurements, but basically I do not know anything about the details of individual builds, and the modelling, I am misleading the client into believing they will receive a tailor-made suit.

What should we ask if we want to choose the best company to create our custom-made suit?
How many measurements they will take, which ones and what they bring to the modelling. What kind of experience the person performing the modelling has, what adjustments will be made to the garments, what will be done to ensure that the garment sits well, and how shortcomings are covered up and advantages highlighted. Even a seemingly simple adjustment may affect other things, and they need to be aware of this and be able to address the side effects of an alteration. There are no generally accepted modifications to alterations, as every build is different and every alteration must be done differently. There is no easy way when tailoring a suit; only an amateur would think this. This has to be learned for many years. We built our know-how for ten years, and for the next six years we have been honing it. The foundation is our own style, which I have modelled during ten years of experience when dealing with the builds of more than a thousand clients, their measurements, individual modelling of clothing for all types of characters, fittings, adjustments after fittings and knowledge of tailor-made sewing technology.

Does this mean that creating a custom suit to make me feel perfect will take a long time?
Not necessarily. Let me tell you about my experience: most individuals providing tailor-made clothing provide an alibi in advance and say that for the clothes to sit well they need to be tested several times. Even we used to do that. But today, using our know-how, we do not need to do this. We take all the steps necessary to allow correct modelling when taking measurements, and on the basis of this we have the whole process under control from A to Z, we can achieve a perfect fit. One of our satisfied clients did not believe this at first. His previous experience was that his suit could not be tailored from one sitting without fittings. He liked the idea of saving time, but he was convinced that if his suit were to sit correctly, he would have to have at least three fittings, as was the case at his previous tailor. We convinced him to give it a try. He became convinced it was possible, but the tailor has to know how to do this.

Which of the types of custom tailoring would you recommend? The highly personalized bespoke tailoring or made-to-measure?
It depends on the client’s build and expectations for the suit. We make suits using both methods. But we always add a little Marco Mirelli to the specific method. That’s because we’ve tailored our sewing technology and products to meet the demands of our clients. That’s why bespoke tailoring à la Marco Mirelli is not done in the traditional way, i.e. manually, as our clients want clothing that is smooth with a clean feel, regardless of the material’s properties, and which feels like a second skin. With traditional hand-made bespoke tailoring, this cannot be achieved. What we can achieve and what links us to bespoke tailoring is individual modelling that results in a perfect fit. With made-to-measure à la Marco Mirelli, the garment is always cut and sewn for a specific client. The difference between MtM and BT is only about the range of measurements taken and the resulting modelling. With MtM à la Marco Mirelli we modify ten circumferential and longitudinal cuts as needed and BT is 25 to 50 measurements as required, which we take into account in individual modelling. Our technology is adapted to bespoke custom tailoring so we can consistently work with the garments and make the necessary adjustments. And by that I mean not only the modifications during the manufacture of the garments, but also the subsequent adjustments. If the client’s weight changes, we know how to take the garment apart, make a new one, and re-sew it with the same result.

So you have your own original way of custom tailoring garments?
Exactly, we fuse global design with the art of tailoring. There are international brands selling design of standard sizes, and there are tailoring salons that make tailor-made garments to the client’s requirements. Marco Mirelli fuses the best of both worlds in an original way. Our vision was to create a modern progressive company and a brand that embodies elegance and style.