Textile Society Award
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Officially Award Winning

I am delighted to have received the Textile Society’s Professional Development Award. The concept of delivering the ABC Level 5 Diploma, an Ofqual regulated programme and highest UK standard in Bespoke Tailoring, as a stand-alone alternative to the traditional apprenticeship is officially award-winning!

The Society states in their announcement: “The selection panel were particularly interested in bringing an ABC qualification of tailoring to the North” and continues: “the application shows initiative and enterprise, specialist knowledge and strong professional experience. The strength of this application is its potential to disseminate knowledge through vocational education”.

As part of ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme, I recently spoke about the skills shortage in the UK and how, in our sector, emphasis is being laid on increasing the provision of practical skills training in response to that shortage. There is a big offer out there for conceptual programmes but the real shortage is with practical training.

Filming took place at the Tailoring Academy, which I founded in response to what I know is an enormous demand for traditional tailoring skills: young people up and down the country – not just in our field but across all disciplines – want to learn to make things by hand again, a powerful antidote in an era of pretty relentless consumerism.

Filming at the Tailoring Academy

Much of my work focuses on developing skills in those older than school age. Typically, applicants are self-taught, have a segmented background of different roles in the industry or are fashion design graduates with a degree under their belt. These candidates are aware they don’t have the technical skills, pattern and garment construction in particular, they need to progress in their chosen career.

At the Academy, which shares premises with my bespoke tailoring house, students receive the entire bespoke skill set, giving them control over the process from start to finish. Once they have completed the one-year course, they are in a position to deliver the highest quality in garment making, enabling them to set up their own business or seek employment equipped with an acknowledged qualification.

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CapitB agrees Grant Support

The new ABC Level 5 Diploma was designed by the Savile Row Bespoke Association and Creative Skillset to open up an alternative route to the traditional apprenticeship and the Tailoring Academy has become the first UK training centre to deliver the programme as a stand-alone qualification.

In recognition of this unique opportunity, the CapitB Trust, which is funding training for the next generation of fashion and textiles industry talent, has committed to grant £2,500 to each student enrolled with the Academy.

There will be no essay-writing but hands-on practice, under the guidance of master tailor Brita Hirsch, who has 30 years of experience under her belt. Teaching within the environment of her bespoke tailoring house, she keeps the class size to only six students to ensure that each individual receives her full attention.

Students will acquire the entire skill set – Cutter AND Tailor – from pattern drafting to hand finishing bespoke garments, in a full-time course with a focus on the all-important practical skills. Launching in September 2018, the programme will deliver a total of 1,200 hours of tuition, running through to July the following year. Successful students will leave the Academy with an industry-acknowledged qualification, enabling them to seek employment or set up their own business, if they so wish.

The Academy is licensed – as the only UK provider – to deliver pattern construction using the renowned Müller & Sohn system, in English. Graduates will be in a position to draft bespoke garment patterns from scratch, individually for each customer. They will be issued with a separate M&S certificate upon completion of the course.

The Level 5 Diploma has been designed for applicants with previous experience in the field, however no formal prior qualification is required for those applying for a place. Non-accredited prior learning related to the fashion and textile industry e.g. voluntary or unpaid employment or relevant training in areas such as garment making, fashion design or textile studies may be useful evidence to demonstrate an appropriate level of experience.

Those interested in more information can get in touch using the contact form below.


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What sets The Tailoring Academy apart?

The Level 5 Diploma will be delivered in partnership with Macclesfield College, between September and July each academic year. The number of places will be limited to six, to guarantee a focussed delivery of the course.

The programme was originally designed to provide only one of two pathways – tailor or cutter – to learners. Both skills are, however, closely interlinked and the next generation of bespoke tailors expects to be equipped with the full skills set. The academy will therefore deliver both pathways to all learners.

The ABC Awards Qualification Guide recommends a TQT (Total Qualification Time) of 500 hours for the mandatory unit and one of the pathways. At the academy, the importance of continuous practice is acknowledged and we will provide a TQT of 1,200 hours for mandatory unit and both pathways, more than twice the recommended time.

The academy has been licensed – as the only UK provider – to deliver the pattern construction part of the qualification using the renowned Müller & Sohn system, in English. 

Graduates will be in a position to draft bespoke garment patterns from scratch, individually for each customer. They will be issued with a certificate from Müller & Sohn upon completion of the course.

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New Stand-Alone Qualification in Bespoke Tailoring

Are you a fashion or textile graduate or perhaps a costume maker? Have you had enough lessons in ‘history of fashion’ and written plenty of essays on the subject? Do you feel you haven’t been given the opportunity to acquire the all-important practical skills in garment making?

Creative people up and down the country are looking for a chance to learn one of the most prestigious crafts, bespoke tailoring. And yet, there seems to be a distinctive lack of skills focussed training available in the market.

The Tailoring Academy ends this shortage by becoming the first UK training centre to deliver the new ABC Awards Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring, as a stand-alone qualification. Designed in collaboration with the Savile Row Bespoke Association, the programme is focussed on delivering practical skills, opening up an alternative route to the traditional tailoring apprenticeship.

The curriculum includes:

• Individual (male and female) pattern drafting
• Planning and cutting
• Bespoke trouser, waistcoat and coat making
• Ironing and shaping
• Fittings
• Hand finishing

Students will complete the course with an acknowledged qualification, opening up progression routes to  employment, setting up their own business or applying their expertise in free-lance work.

Based in the foothills of the Peak District and yet only 30min from Manchester and 1h 40min from London, the Academy will deliver the qualification in partnership with Macclesfield College.

The training centre adopts a holistic approach – a working master tailor is at hand at any given time – and will deliver the entire bespoke process (cutter and tailor) to all students in a one year full time course. Places are limited to only six per year.

An equivalent of Level 3 experience in a related field is entry requirement for the Level 5 Diploma. Get in touch to discuss your individual circumstances if your are interested in this exciting opportunity.

Practical Skills Training at the Highest Level
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Bespoke Tailoring Training in the North West

The Tailoring Academy Ltd. was founded in response to the lack of practical tailoring training in the UK, particularly outside of London. Based in the North West of England, it aims to end this shortage by becoming the first UK training centre to deliver the new ABC Awards Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring, as a stand-alone qualification.

Designed in collaboration with Creative Skillset and the Savile Row Bespoke Association, the programme is delivered in partnership with Macclesfield College, providing practical skills training and opening up an alternative route to learners who can’t or don’t want to go through a traditional tailoring apprenticeship.

The Tailoring Academy is based in Macclesfield, the old centre of the UK silk industry, with excellent train links to Manchester (25min), London Euston (1h 40min) and further afield.