Completely dumbstruck as I was just about calling it a night, I didn’t know how to politely decline so I tried telling him that I had none of my suits on me and I wasn’t well dressed. He didn’t buy it.
Forcing myself into the mood, I put on something to wear and headed out with the motto “when duty calls”. In the car, I called him and asked him who it was.
It was Teodoro Nguema or more famously known as “Teddy”, the Vice President of Equatorial Guinea.
Now that’s when a sudden jolt of energy passed through and everything became all-the-more exciting with a build up of anxiety. I arrived at the hotel and waited at the bar with the PA of Teddy, waiting for his protocol to give us the clearance.
By 12:30am we were up in his mansion-like room, the Royal Bridge Suite.
I was ecstatic after our meeting but I knew that we had very little time to turn this around, especially considering he wanted a full canvassed suit based on a sample suit that he gave me, which was fully “loaded” with handwork.
Of course my engines started quite early in the morning; my anxiety levels were still high! It almost felt like ‘The Matrix’ was going on in my head as I felt like teleporting and transporting my way from one task to another.
First thing as the clock struck 09:00 and my team started walking in, I got my master tailor to cut the pattern of Teddy’s sample suit whilst I arranged for his fabric. I picked a simple Super 150s Merino Wool in navy blue by Reda1865. In the meantime I also picked the fabrics for his traditional safari suits, formal and casual shirts and put them into production.
By afternoon, I got a call from his associate asking me if anything was ready and whether I could come by 3pm to which I said – it’s impossible. He then asked me to bring whatever I could by 5pm and at that stage, I barely just managed to finish his handmade shirt. Caught in the moment, I took the call of preparing his suit as a second fitting rather than first, as I now had time till the next day (for the suit at least). That evening I also decided to take a t-shirt along from my edition monochrome collection. I was sure he would like it and he did. The bespoke shirt that I made for him was almost a perfect fit too and so we were onto a good start.
Given the suit I was making was a full canvassed one, the time usually taken is x3 folds compared to a fully fused suit.
As you would recognise from my blog on the “walkthrough of suits from the past”, we are known for being the solution to last-minute tailoring. I don’t usually like using this card but THIS TIME, it was absolutely essential!
I decided it was best to have both front panels ready in it’s entirety and the rest fitted for a trial. This meant –
- Using a readily made chest canvas and shoulder pads to reduce some of the work hours; the rest of the horsehair canvas was sewn onto the fabric.
- The top wallet and the two flap pockets were made in full as well as the lapel, leaving only the top collar made out of canvas.
- Inside pockets of the front panels were made full with the lining fixed.
- The sleeves were basted into the shoulders without the buttonholes made.
- The rest of the lining was left unfixed.
- x1 Full Canvassed Suit (Second fitting)
- x1 Formal Shirt (Final fitting)
- x2 Casual Shirts (First fittings)
- x2 Traditional Safari Sets (First fittings)
- x1 Kandura (Dishdasha) (First Fitting)
- x1 Round Neck Tee (edition monochrome)
- x1 Polo Tee (edition monochrome)
As much as I would love to, it’s quite literally impossible to complete a full canvassed suit in such a given timeframe – even though I put 2 tailors on board. The fact that I made a decision and never looked back won his trust and he did mention he’d have more work coming our way.