Meet Shivali Soba, Senior Style Advisor and Assistant Manager at A Suit That Fits Studio in London’s West End.
With a background in fashion design, pattern cutting and styling, Shivali is excellently qualified to meet her client’s tailoring needs.
Variety is the spice
In the West End, variety is the name of the game.
“We have a variety of customers in the West End,” she says. “The City [of London] studio mainly has corporate clients, but we get a mixture. We have a lot of wedding clients. I get a lot of marketing clients, too. Some people want business suits. We also get wedding parties.”
While the demand for business and wedding suits can be felt in every branch of A Suit That Fits, the variety of garments Shivali describes is unique to the West End.
“I get to do creative blazers,” Shivali points out. “For instance, blazers with elbow patches, different details or printed linings. I’d say that the strength here in the West End is variety.”
Besides the types of garments it creates, the West End studio shares certain strengths with the whole A Suit That Fits brand.
“The main thing is that we cater for all ages and sizes,” Shivali explains. “Our goal is to tailor a suit for everyone and anyone. We also cater to people’s budgets and all our garments are ethically hand-made.”
The West End studio
Located in Soho, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, the West End studio is one of the main studios in Central London and is open Monday to Saturday between 8am and 7pm.
In response to client interest, Shivali works the morning shift at the studio, between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. “I had a lot of interest from clients who say they like to come in before they go to work,” she says. “There’s also demand from people after work and throughout the day, but my busiest time is in the morning.”
The studio is located in the heart of Central London in a region known for its history of bespoke tailoring. “The area is a main hub and tourist attraction,” says Shivali. “We’ve got Oxford Street on our doorstep. We’ve got Regent Street. We’ve got everything, really – a prime location.”
Shivali’s background: design and pattern cutting
To be an expert style advisor, you have to study – and you have to have practical skills, too. Shivali’s experience in design, pattern cutting and styling has an academic and a practical dimension.
“My background is in fashion design and tailoring,” she explains. “I did a degree at the London College of Fashion in design and pattern cutting. I studied womenswear design and pattern cutting. The concept is the same for men’s, women’s and children’s wear once you’ve grasped the skill.”
If you needed further convincing about the expert attention you’ll receive from this particular style advisor, consider everything it takes to make models (like the ones below) look great in the chaotic atmosphere of a busy Fashion Week.
“I was backstage,” she says, “getting fashion collections ready and working as a wardrobe assistant, checking the models were perfect before they went out on the catwalk.”
Thankfully, the West End studio is a calmer place than the backstage of Fashion Week, so you can be doubly sure you’ll receive Shivali’s best work.
What can you expect from a visit to the West End studio?
When you come in for an appointment with Shivali at the West End studio, the process begins with a conversation about the type of garment you’re looking for.
A few opening questions from Shivali should help to narrow down your options.
“I ask opening questions as to what they’re after – because it’s not always a suit, it could be an overcoat or a shirt,” she explains. “I make sure I understand what they’re after, what colours they’re looking for, and what the garment is needed for. That way, it narrows everything down for me before I start going into our books, which include hundreds of cloths.”
The first half of the appointment is devoted to covering stylistic options and discussing the customer’s price point and time scale. The second half of the appointment involves measuring the customer for his or her garment.
Learn about bespoke tailoring
One aspect of the appointment is informational. It’s useful for the customer to know what the tailoring process looks like – in both a practical and conceptual sense.
Shivali explains: “I make the client aware that when the suit goes into production, they’re notified that it’s joined our tailoring queue. I also make them aware that when the suit’s ready for collection, they’ll be notified by text and email, and will need to book in for a fitting.”
The first time a customer has a suit tailored with A Suit That Fits, it’s more time-consuming than subsequent occasions. This is because Shivali needs to perfect the suit and the customer’s measurements with a series of fittings before the suit is ready. Once the suit is perfect, the pattern is stored in the A Suit That Fits system, and unless the measurements need to be changed at a future date, every subsequent suit is made according to the perfected pattern.
“I make the customer aware that for the first suit, we require them to be flexible in coming back and forth to us,” says Shivali. “After that, once their measurements are updated on the system for future orders, it’s a much smoother process. Once we’ve got the pattern perfect for your first suit and we’ve done all the fittings, everything is updated and it’s much easier for ordering. I make them aware that that’s part and parcel of the bespoke process.”
The initial consultation with Shivali is also when you’ll learn what bespoke tailoring really means. “I do this every day so I know what bespoke tailoring is,” she says, “but I can’t expect all my clients to know the terminology of bespoke. I don’t want to use jargon that a client doesn’t understand – so I make it very clear what will be done in the appointment, how the process works and what to expect.”
Shivali’s proudest tailoring moment?
Shivali has the distinction of completing A Suit That Fits’ largest ever order.
“It was for a new uniform for fifty staff members at First Great Western,” she elaborates. “I did all the style advice and completed the order with help from our production team and our managers. That was a fab order, something I’m really proud of.”
So whether you’re a corporate client looking for a new uniform, a businessman wanting a tailored suit, or someone looking for a unique, creative blazer, our West End studio is the place to be. Book an appointment with Shivali today and enjoy the process of tailoring a fully bespoke suit.