Endurance! (Good or bad?)

5 days ago I run a marathon. It was one of the warmest ones in Copenhagen Marathon’s history! Wow! That was a really, really hot day! With the sun beaming from a clear blue sky, and almost no shadows in sight. Such a beautiful experience!

It was actually exactly 10 years ago I ran my last one (I’m counting 4 runs now). But otherwise I’m absolutely not a stranger to long-lasting either runs or assignments. Staying awake for hours-and-hours, making monotonous movements is actually a large part of a tailor’s work. Sometimes even working for 36 hours straight with only short breaks, before huge deadlines, is something I’ve done many times. It’s what we call control. Or is it?

So here comes the question. Is endurance really a good or a bad thing? I know it’s a complex question, but anyway? Is being enormously passionate about one thing, and use hours, days, months and even years to perfect that – is that a plus or a minus? I, myself have my doubts sometimes. As in, that some things is harder to control than others, right? And as in, that for some things, there are never time enough! It can be so frustrating.

My conclusion though, personally, here at this very moment, is that things that make you happy is a good thing. Tailoring and creating garments makes me happy! And running! And coffee. But I also think it is important to be realistic, and try to make some sort of planning.

On the other hand, I’m not a believer of quick fixes. I like doing things properly, and I like to stay with things or ideas for a while. Shifting to new things constantly, just for the sake of moving on – well… it’s probably not my greatest force!

That’s probably why I still work with the same thing I did in the 80’s! Because craft and tailoring is such a rich thing! To thoroughly make things from start to finish, although it takes a long time, is such a blessing to be allowed to.

So I think I’ll probably stick with my training and my job for a while yet. Yes! Let’s go to work! And be great! We do deserve that. To evolve. And to enjoy. As much as we can.

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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T.D.O.H.A.G. – The prequel!

The idea is actually quite simple.

  1. Take one person.
  2. Design 10 trousers (or skirts), 10 tops (or shirts), and 10 “covers” (as in jackets, windbreakers or coats).
  3. Make the garments.
  4. Wear them 100 times each.
  5. That would give a total of 1.000 combination possibilities.

Let’s take that one more time! 30 garments, divided into three groups. Combine them with each other and that will give you a whole new outfit, every day, for 1.000 days.  10 x 10 x 10 = 1.000. Rather obvious one could say – but still kind of amazing! That’s almost three years!

So what’s the hook here? Well, a few actually! Let’s break it down into a couple of questions:

1. Which kind garments should it be? Hm… to make the calculation work we’ll need three categories. My suggestion is a very simple setup called A, B, C. A would stand for “a top”. (Clever, right?) B would stand for bottom. And C for cover (it all). Together, a fully dressed person.

2. What should the garments look like? It’s all up to you. The challenge though, is that all of the pieces in each and every category, should be  combinable with every piece in the other two categories! So think it through properly! Do I need something for weddings? And can I wear that piece 100 times… in some way? (Alternations is okay.)

3. Can a garment endure 100 times of wear? I certainly hope so! You have to make it durable. (Mending and repairing is okay.)

4. What about additional clothing? Well the focus will not be on that part – just on the three categories. But preferably the other items should be self-produced also

5. How much time do we have for preparations? Almost non. Starting Maj 20th 2018. 4 days.

So what do you think? Will you join me? Just to show that lesser garments in good quality maybe still can give you lots of possibilities to look fresh – every day!

Thousand Days Of Hope And Glory! T.D.O.H.A.G. Let’s do it! Right?

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Getting ready for summer!

While spring slowly turns into summer, at some point, I usually feel the need for a thorough clean-up! And that was today! The daylight gets brighter, the sun rises higher, and all colors just pop-up everywhere – everything suddenly seems so full of life! And that’s when it all needs a fresh back-drop.

The bright light also, of course, reminds me of washing windows… letting the sun in, clean and crisp – it’s a must! And having the studio in an old late 18th century building, placed in a neighborhood dating centuries back, I really love seeing all the colorful old facades on the other side of the narrow street, contrasting to the blue sky. So windows need to be done. Check!

And then floors… Having your workspace functioning as both production and customer greeting area, cleaning and tidying up the studio can be a constant struggle. Unlike other traditional stores, that have their production placed elswhere, or online shops where you usually don’t see the premises at all, we don’t really hide any parts of our design and tailoring work processes. It all happens right here! For you to see. But naturally we still want it to look okay and not compleatly messy (as it often can end up doing in the tailoring and sewing trade). And sometimes it needs an extra push. Like today!

The blue sky and all the other coloring outside also inspires our work! As we’re finalizing all planning for next spring, our blue naturally ends up right there in the center! Bright colors turned into active wear!

And yellow, and orange, and mint, and stripes and flowers! Yes! Amazing to finally letting it all come together in lot’s of bursting feelings and fun! Can’t wait to get started! But first… finishing to swab the floors, right?

There! The sunny, bright heat and coloring outside in the street! And comforting and freshly cooling shadows inside. Now let’s get back to the “actual” work, shan’t we? Getting all ready for summer!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Going grand! When more is more, and less is not an option.

Sometimes you just want it all! Everything! The full skirt, train, corsage, lots of fabric! Or a fully bespoke suit! Yes! The luxury look! Couture! Bespoke couture.

But how to go about it? Will it be a wear-it-one-time-only thing? Who should make it? What’s the cost? And can things really possibly be reused afterwards?

Difficult questions! Because they are so personal. But don’t be discouraged! There are some practical guidelines. And these are the ones which I usually share with customers who ask.

First, decide on your budget. Very important indeed! There will always be solutions to find, be sure of that, but all involved really need to know the limit. Would you like to invest in something made in good quality, that can be used over and over again? Or are we remaking a vintage dress (or some other garment)? Anyhow, it will probably cost a bit more than you expected, so make sure to have a solid calculation made before diving in into the full experience. It will save you a lot of trouble later on!

Second, find a crafts-person or tailor that you really like, someone that “gets you”. If they’re not really that into you, don’t waste your time. You should feel in perfectly good hands and secure, since it sometimes can be a bit of a bumpy ride to embark in a larger projects. Don’t just go for the smooth talker. Instead try to listen for factual information and solutions, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. And, if in any doubt, try to get a smaller order done first, to check for interest, quality and treatment.

Third, have a vision! But also listen to advice. Important. The best tailored work done, in my opinion, are true collaborations. Where the tailor or crafts-person learns about you, your life, your personality, wishes and desires – and you learn about possibilities in garment making. Don’t try to control the other person. Instead, be helpful and open!

Fourth, plan ahead. Always make super-early deadlines. Why? Because when making original (one-off) garments, unexpected things do happen, almost always. And that’s not even anyone’s fault, or usually a problem, if you just schedule a good buffer. So do that. Be sure to do that! And be open about it. Hey, did I mention you should plan a buffer? Alright then. Buffer planned.

Fifth, keep your budget. And help keeping the budget. Remember that any differ from the originally planned path for the project will probably add lots of extra work. And/or remakes. Try to stay with the plan, and if in doubt, be early and open about it. But also, try to embrace the process, and get used to taking decisions and sticking with them. The options are plenty, and some of them needs to be eliminated for getting the best of results. That’s just the natural process of getting things done. Be helpful with that!

Sixth – remember all additional processes and items. Acessioaires. Hair. Underwear. Shoes. Embellishment. Overcoat. Transportation solutions. After-treatment. Ask and be in good time with planning, always.

And last – enjoy it all! If you follow these rather basic overall directions, I’m sure you will have a grand time!

And who knows – maybe it will even be addictive? Go for it! Yes!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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How much clothes do I really need? (Bespoke Era and beyond!)

10 cubed. Or cube root of 1.000. Thousand Days Of Hope And Glory. A project. How many items of clothing would I need for that? (And what is Bespoke Era anyway?)

Math can be so complicated! Especially when tried to be put right into practical use. I know that. So when our Bespoke Era project was started – a project where we look into if a person could wear bespoke tailored garments only, for a certain amount of time, and if possibly, having all the clothes made by one person only, like in the “good ol’ days” – I quickly began to plan and calculate how much clothing and time that was needed, to enable our test-person to be dressed in life’s many situations. A lot, it showed. Of course. But not as much as one would think. Still I wasen’t quite sure of my calculations.

Since I was the one making all the bespoke clothing for this project, some things was extra important for me. To make good quality was one thing. Because then the garments would last longer and less items was needed to be made. To make clothes that could be combined was another thing. Because then you could use the clothes for even more occasions, and over and over again. The real challenge though, came with the discussions of how many styles of clothing there should be. Suits – of course. Sportswear – yes. Casual wear – practical. Winter garments – hm… more layers? Underwear – needed! Formal wear – are you kidding me…? Oh well alright then. Fashion items – what? You must be joking! Luxury goods – hey! Wait a minute! Stop!

It quickly became clear, that to build a gentleman’s wardrobe from scratch would involve a huge amount of work for both the tailor and for the gentleman planning and wearing the project’s clothing. The issue would not be so much about the amount of clothing that would be needed, but more about how many garments that would be desired, to keep up a respectable look and standard within a modern way of living. A question not easy answered. And what equation to use for that?

But back to the basic mathematics!

If we break it all down into a simplified practical problem, I would probably present it like this: First, it’s about how many types of garments that are needed. Second, how many variations of each type. Third, how many combinations possible.

So, if we were to say that I basically would need three types of clothing. Something over the waist, something under the waist, and something to cover and alternate (your body temperature) with. And then, that I had one variation of each – that would be sufficient for x amount of days.

But now let’s step it up a bit! Let’s say I’m a bit of a dandy, and I would absolutely not accept to be caught wearing the same look twice! What to do then? Suddenly we’re heading into some kind of combination mathematics! Let’s se… If I had 3 trousers, 3 tops (t-shirt, turtleneck, shirt) and 3 “coats” (jacket, denim jacket, blazer) they would together give me a combination possibility of 3 cubed (i.e. 3 x 3 x 3) = 27. Actually covering enough combinations for almost a month of wearing new looks every day!

Now let’s imagine 1.000 days – almost 3 years – how much clothes would I need for that? With new combinations to wear for every day of course! Well… that would be the cube root of 1.000. And that equals 10!

There it is! I would (just) need 10 trousers, 10 tops, and 10 coats for being able to make 1.000 different combinations of those three item types! 10 x 10 x 10 = 1.000. A whole new look every day for almost three years! Amazing.

Maybe it should be tested? We could call it Thousand Days Of Hope and Glory! Or, A journey into an unknown creative struggle! Starting from scratch and see where it goes…? What do you think? It would be like the tailoring of Bespoke Era and beyond. When do we start?

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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