London tailor Timothy Everest on the suit he is making for Chancellor Gordon Brown
"What you see in the picture is a suit in navy serge that we're making for Gordon Brown. By this point, the customer has come in to see me, and we will have discussed what their commission might be - what they will need the suit for, what we think might look good on them, how they think they might wear it, and what's most appropriate in terms of colour and fabric. Having placed an order, they will be asked to come back after about three weeks to try on the suit, in the state you

can see in the picture.

What you can see is the garment looking like a house covered in scaffolding - it's in the first stages of being put together. We'll see how it looks on the customer, and see their reaction to the shape. At that stage we can change an awful lot of things, making it longer, shorter, wider or smaller to get the optimum fit.

If you went to a traditional tailor, someone like Anderson and Sheppard, you'd find that each one has a very specific look: say, a roly-poly, drapier look very much like the Duke of Windsor used to wear. Or you might go elsewhere, where they might have an equally beautiful, but more military- esque sort of look. But, if you don't fit in with those looks, they won't necessarily accommodate you. Although we're known for a very neat, tailored silhouette, we have a greater sense of the individuality of our customers. And we're tailors first, who hopefully can design, rather than designers who have discovered tailoring, which seems to be popular atthe moment.

Our clients range from the Chancellor of the Exchequer through to Tom Cruise [in Mission: Impossible] to Jarvis Cocker. But the majority of our business comes from people who actually need to wear suits. The bulk of what we do is for people in financial institutions, and corporate environments. It's a very varied clientele, and that's what we wanted: we didn't want to be too fashionable, but we didn't want to be too rooted in the past, either.

Our business has been going for seven years. It's small, but we have some international business, doing ready-to-wear for New York, Chicago and Beverly Hills. And we started doing ready-to-wear out of Tokyo last September. It all really took off in about 1992, when we actively worked at getting people to write about it. But the good thing was when people like Richard James and Ozwald Boateng were opening shops about 18 months after we had, and we could genuinely get people to write about this new tailoring boom. Other people doing it made what I do cool again." Scott Hughes