A history of MTM: Where did it come from?

28 January 2017

"Made-to-measure suiting started as a preference of the wealthy and the world’s first fashion trend"

Made-to-measure suiting is the perfect solution for the guy who’s tired of wrestling with poor off-the-rack choices. Unlike off-the-rack suiting, which is created based on a manufacturer’s idea of the average man, made-to-measure is tailored more specifically to your body. With made-to-measure services you can walk away with the perfect suit made just for you. But when did it all start and where did made-to-measure suiting come from?
Made-to-measure tailoring is a time-honoured tradition that started in the 12th Century. Prior to this time, clothing was seen as functional; style wasn’t a primary concern. However, during the Renaissance uniforms were tailored to accentuate the wearer’s physique. It was fashion before anyone knew what fashion was. The art of having a Renaissance-era uniform tailored quickly grew in popularity. 
Throughout the 17th Century almost all clothing was created by master tailors. It seemed made-to-measure suiting was a way of life for all.  In the early 18th Century, Savile Row was built and originally served as the stomping grounds of the local high-ranking military officials and their families. As the officers became more concerned with their appearance, they enlisted the services of the tailors on Savile Row. Quickly, the street became known as the epicentre of men’s made-to-measure suiting and bespoke services.
As time went on, advances in technology and literature influenced the spread of made-to-measure suiting to other regions. The first English language books about the tailoring process surfaced in the early 19th Century. In the immediate years followed an on-going battle between various tailors with patents, journal publishing and measuring systems. Each one had his hopes set on spearheading a breakthrough in the industry.
The tape measure as we know it today wasn’t introduced until 1800. Throughout the 1800s, machines like the somatometer were created to expedite the measuring process and further perfect the measurements. It was in this century that higher quality, off-the-rack clothing first became popular.
Throughout the early 1900s, the popularity of made-to-measure suiting spread beyond the wealthy, aristocratic and elite. Men from all over the world started wearing made-to-measure suits. Soon, advances in body scanning and measurement technology made it easier, faster and more accurate to make the perfect suit. Even an entry-level worker with a small budget and little knowledge of suiting could have access to a well-made suit.
Made-to-measure suiting started as a preference of the wealthy and the world’s first fashion trend. As technology improved and men’s taste for finer clothing evolved, it became a popular, widespread practice that’s still going strong today.