During his many years in New York City, Rory came to know the need New Yorkers possessed for a true handcraft suit in a sea of made-to-measure. Even then Rory did not want to sacrifice quality for quantity. Rather than following the masses, Rory created the team of his dreams upon returning to his ancestral home to train a workshop of handcraft tailors and relaunch his brand as Rory Duffy & Co. staying true to old-world techniques.
He and his team of handcraft tailors have dropped the veil on their making process and proudly display the end-to-end production of their handcrafted garments. Every tailor involved with Rory Duffy & Co. is truly unique as all its members were trained by one Master Tailor to ensure that the whole choir sings from the same hymn sheet. True artisans who have spent years finely tuning their craft to deliver not only exceptional quality but also truth in handcraft service.
Rory Duffy has revolutionised the way tailoring is delivered to his clients globally while maintaining the traditional dexterity of handcraft tailoring. The tailors Rory trained in New York now represent his brand as ambassadors to handcraft tailoring offering a service even Savile Row’s finest cannot match; on-site 24/7, delivering a product and service in as little as eight weeks.
Brand Ambassadors are trained to cut patterns and fit suits for the elite of New York, London and Dubai. Every suit starts and finishes in Rory's workshop to ensure quality throughout leaving nothing to chance. Working with one of Huddersfield’s oldest cloth merchants, Dugdale Brothers, only the best fabrics, lining and trimmings produced in the British Isles are used by Rory Duffy & Co. producing a very British suit with a modern silhouette.
The Six Step Process
1. The beginning of your sartorial journey starts with that all-important first consultation
A meeting will be set with your local Brand Ambassador – a highly trained and skilled pattern cutter and fitter. Together you will discuss your wardrobe, style, your lifestyle and what is your overall expectations are when selecting a bespoke suit.
With thousands of cloths to choose from, our Brand Ambassador will help you narrow down your choices to a select few.
Our representative will take your measurements, study your figure and help guide the hand of our Master Tailor when making that first cut in your unique oak tag pattern. Using patented instruments and tools designed by our Master Tailor, a three dimensional understanding of your unique physical idiosyncrasies start to take shape.
2. The Pocket Baste Construction
All pattern and cloths are cut by our Master Tailor, Rory Duffy, at his workshop. Rory's in-house team makes up that all-important first fitting under Rory’s watchful eye. A pattern is only as good as the team of artisans that sew it together.
Not leaving anything to chance, Rory ensures that every garment to leave his sight is a true representation of what he and the Brand Ambassadors are trying to achieve.
3. The First Fitting
Within three weeks of the first consultation, you will be invited back for your first pocket baste fitting.
This first step is all about posture and balance. Our Brand Ambassadors need to be sure of the hang of the suit before preceding with fit and form.
Detailed notes, photos and recordings are taken of each season for quality assurance purposes.
After each fitting, the garments return to Rory’s workshop for the rip and remark.
4. Garment Maker Selection
To ensure continuity in fit and feel, the garment maker selected for each client will remain with them for their time with Rory Duffy & Co.
Rory hands off each garment to a skilled tailor he trained and ordained as a handcraft tailor, sewing the suit up to the next step in the garment making stage.
5. The Second Fitting
After three weeks with our handcraft tailors, the suit is ready for its second
fitting. The garment is now close to the finishing stage. The suit is made bar the finishing stitches such as buttonholes and edge stitching.
With extra cloth allowances at crucial seams (inlay), any necessary alterations can still be made.
6. Final Alterations & Finishing Stitches
The final alterations and finishing are overseen by Rory. The garments are checked over to ensure the highest possible quality is attained.
The buttonholes are sewn in by hand and the whole garment is pressed off and buttoned by Rory and his team.
The garment is then sent back to the Brand Ambassador who will meet with the client in person to deliver the garment and make the final checks on comfort and fit.
Fifth-generation Savile Row, Golden Shears Award winner Master Tailor. Rory now runs the Handcraft Tailor Academy, Rory Duffy & Co. and is the Brand Ambassador for London.
Brand Ambassador to New York and Dubai
Rishabh is a former student of The Handcraft Tailor Academy post-study Fashion and Design at Parsons, The New School and Central St. Martin’s in London. He now works for Rory Duffy & Co. as a Brand Ambassador to NYC and UAE.
Assistant and protégé to Rory Duffy
Having trained with Rory Duffy since 2017 as a trouser maker and coat maker, Terry assists Rory directly in the workshop.
Fifth-generation Master Tailor and descendant of Per (Gustav) Anderson, founder of Anderson & Sheppard, Thom trained as a pattern cutter and coat maker at The Handcraft Tailor Academy awarding him the position of head coat maker for Rory Duffy & Co.
Ties began her training with The HTA in 2017 for pattern drafting and continued into 2018 for coat making and now works with Rory Duffy & Co. as a coat maker. She lent her talents as a graphic designer helping Rory make his book, Pattern Drafting for Bespoke Menswear, the Imperial System, a reality.
Elly was trained as a dressmaker and costume designer from the Inkberrow Design Centre in the UK. She went on to train with The HTA taking all the offered courses and now works as a highly-skilled trouser maker for Rory Duffy & Co.
Nadie holds a diploma in specialised design and making of women’s garments from St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design. Becoming interested in the British style of tailoring, she proceeded to take courses with The HTA learning all to be offered. She is now an apprentice to Rory Duffy & Co.
Who is Rory Duffy
Rory Duffy is a fifth-generation and Savile Row trained Master Tailor. Rory began his tailoring career at 19 apprenticing for a civil & military tailor on the west coast of Ireland, where he learned to cut and make military uniforms.
While apprenticing at Henry Poole, Rory became their first apprentice to take first prize at the highly coveted Golden Shears Award in 2009. Later that year, the governors decided to reward Rory’s efforts by making him one of the youngest Master to an Apprentice in Savile Row’s two hundred year history.
After seven years of training and almost ten years of experience, Rory decided it was time to start a tailoring house of his own. In 2012 Rory founded his own company, Rory Duffy Handcraft Tailor, in New York City. His notoriety grew quickly, spurred on by his highly acclaimed video series The Making of a Coat on YouTube. It was an instant success. Never before had the veil been dropped on the making of a Savile Row suit. Orders and well-wishers flooded his contact page.
Not wanting to sacrifice quality over quantity, Rory struggled to keep up with the demand for his work. With clients travelling far and wide to meet with Rory, within a few short years he was selling suits coast to coast.
Rory's passion for teaching didn’t stop with his leaving Savile Row. While living in NYC, Rory still made time for teaching eager students at the world-renowned fashion college, Parsons the New School.
While teaching as a part-time lecturer, Rory was selected to represent the college and invited to the White House by the former First Lady Michelle Obama and thanked him for his contribution to education.
It was this visit that stoked Rory's long-held vision to found a tailoring academy based on the trade school of old, The Tailor and Cutter Academy.
In 2016, Rory decided it was time for a change, and to follow his dreams. Returning to his ancestral home where his family had served the community as bespoke tailors for four generations, Rory founded his school The Handcraft Tailor Academy.
Novices and professionals from across the globe have passed through his doors learning the art of handcraft tailoring from a master in the trade.
Since the opening of his school, Rory has authored a book on cutting, Pattern Drafting for Bespoke Menswear, the Imperial System, which serves as manual for the tailoring industry.
His roots in military clothing are evident in his cutting style today, with an emphasis on waist suppression and broad shoulders. Starting his school gave Rory access to the talent he longed for when he operated his business in New York. Deciding that the time was right and the network of artisans in place Rory has stepped back into the tailoring sphere to offer his clients a service equalled to no other and a quality that defies expectations.
Q&A with Rory Duffy
What are the necessary skills for becoming a qualified high-level handcraft tailor? What does the tailor need to learn?
For one to become a qualified high-level handcraft tailor they must be passionate, dedicated and committed – not only to years of training but to strive for excellence in all areas of handcraft tailoring. They must apprentice for at least three years and commit to another two years field training before considering themselves a master of the art. It is often found that tailors have a family history of artisans dating back generations, some skills tailors are just born with, which no amount of training can instil. It starts in the hands, a natural feel for the cloth and needlework. Muscle memory is something that can be taught but the true masters of the trade have tailoring engrained into the very fibre of their being.
Rory Duffy & Co.'s team of expert tailors are dedicated to preserving the art of handcraft tailoring for the next generation. But at times, even we must make a compromise for the benefit of our clients. The world spins at a faster pace now than when Savile Row was at its epicentre. Understanding the needs of our clients is foremost of our goals when meeting their expectations. We want to offer a service that can meet our client's needs in a timely fashion and therefore have introduced bespoke as a means to meet those requirements.
Handcraft and bespoke are bench made garments, constructed by individually highly trained skilled artisans specialising in the traditional art of Savile Row tailoring. In many parts of the world, the skills of the tailor were lost with the introduction of production made suits. Assembly lines were introduced and skilled tailors were replaced by machine operators. Rory Duffy & Co. has wound back the hands of time, abolishing the assembly line system and returning to the roots of bench made handcraft and the essences of tailoring; one artisan making one garment, a specialist in his or her field.
Is there a common standard of your handcraft suits? How to tell or judge a high-quality handcraft suit?
The beauty of handcraft is in its subtly. The reassurance enjoyed by the wearer in the knowledge that Rory Duffy & Co.'s suit encapsulates the essence of comfort, modesty and prestige. Like all the luxuries in life, whether it be fine champagne or a thoroughbred racehorse, it's the presentation and life long performance that is the true testament to its quality.
Like all the Savile row tailors, Rory Duffy & Co.'s suits, though often copied are never equalled as it is their heritage and skilled artisans that makes the suit stand out from the best of the rest. Their attention to detail in the handcrafted construction is only equalled by the precision of fit, sculpted to the body of the wear it forms a second skin that feels as organic as the materials used through the creation.
Could you please tell us the process of ordering and making a handcraft suit?
Rory Duffy & Co. pays obsessive attention to fit, eyeing the client like a sculptor looking for the statue inside a block of marble, measuring angles and inclines you as the client never knew you had. Using a patented measuring system developed by members of the team, they can allow for every nuance of the clients physical makeup. Early identification allows the tailor to cut for these irregularities which help streamline the fitting process, leading to a better fitting garment and an overall more enjoyable experience for the client.
A suit from Rory Duffy & Co. can be measured, cut, fit and finished in as little as six weeks. Considering themselves tailors without borders, Rory Duffy & Co. is represented worldwide, through a team of skilled artisans in Europe, the UK, Russia, and the United States.
As the old saying goes, "If you have to ask, it's not for you".
A sentiment with a touch of arrogance, but that's handcraft. It's for the elite of society, those who can afford the best of the best, have the knowledge and taste level of connoisseurs, enjoying all of the finest things in life and aspire for more. Gone are the days of social exclusion based on position within society - handcraft is only available to those who can afford to pay for it. Just like luxury cars, fine wines and expensive jewellery, a handcraft suit is an investment in time.
Unlike store-bought clothing, one does not simply order and await delivery. There's a time-honoured process and an experience working with a master craftsman developing a wardrobe tailored especially for you.
If tailoring were easy, handcraft would not be on the decline and nor would it take master craftsman of over seven years dedicated training to master the art. That being said, one of the signs for a finely made handcraft suit is not only the precision of the fit but also the attention to detail of the finish. The handmade buttonhole has vanished from the ready-to-wear sector. Its roots lay with Savile Row and the dedicated team of finishers each company employs to maintain this sign of true excellence in each handcrafted suit.
As Oscar Wilde once said, "A well made buttonhole is the closest link between art and nature".
Each buttonhole is unique and each set is unique to the creator. Though no two look the same, there is a similarity which links them together and sets each suit apart. With over seventy stitches in each hole, sewn with the finest quality of silk thread, it can take as long as thirty minutes to sew one hand made buttonhole.
It takes more than just skilled artisans to make world-class handcraft suits. Indeed, no matter how competent the baker, it's the quality ingredients that help give the cake its flavour.
A handcrafted suit is no different. Rory Duffy & Co. are constantly working with the finest mills in both the UK and Europe sourcing quality materials from leading experts in the industry.
As Savile Row is known for handcraft suits, Huddersfield is world-famous for being home to cottage spinners and weavers for over a thousand years. The oldest settlement in Huddersfield was Almondbury which can be traced back to AD75 when Roman troops were slowly making their way through the country solidifying their new imperial rule. Throughout the ages from ancient times to the present day, clothing and textiles have been of pivotal importance in the evolutionary history of Huddersfield and the mills there. Methods of textile production have continually evolved and today they still hold the enviable title of the world's best suiting cloth.
Rory Duffy & Co.'s team work closely with the mills of Huddersfield so they may constantly be informed of the new style and techniques and make them available to their clients. From diamond-encrusted cloth to gold woven yarns, the highest level of luxury is available upon request.
Just as the world is divided into the Burgundy and Bordeaux drinkers, British tailoring is divided into the contesting camps of supreme structuralists and evangelical proponents of the drape.
Rather than choosing sides in this age-old philosophical debate, Rory Duffy & Co. allows the clients to be the architects of design in the creation of their suits believing choice to be the fundamental principles behind the process. Too few handcraft houses have such a vast knowledge of tailoring contained within its walls; competent masters of the craft, influenced not only by British tailoring but European, Russian and American.
It's the full understanding of these influences that allows the team of Rory Duffy & Co. to truly interpret the wishes of their clients and translate that into their clothing.
During the time I was still a lecturer at Parsons, The New School, I had the honour of accepting an invitation from former First Lady, Michelle Obama to the White House for her annual Fashion Education Workshop in which I received recognition for my contribution to education in America. She was a remarkable woman. Intelligent, strong and elegant. She impressed with her warmth and ease to interact.
In 2016, I was commissioned to make a suit for Jonas Brother, Nick Jonas for the Met Gala Awards. His choice was a difficult make - silk, which would usually be reserved for dinner jacket facings was selected for the entire coat paired with black mohair trousers with silk braiding. Silk such as this isn’t designed for coat making but I was able to do it and thus created a new design never before seen on a New York Met Gala catwalk.
An increasing number of people across the world are turning to handcraft tailoring. What do think about "handcraft" tailoring or what are the main factors & elements to actually achieve the title of handcraft?
For generations, there has been a misconception that men should never be noticed for their sense of dress. Clearly, this is a school of thought that was perpetuated by men in mediocre clothing. For all handcraft connoisseurs, handcraft tailoring meticulously preserves and conveys unique flair, specific techniques and distinctive style. Handcraft tailoring enjoys shape, no matter what one may believe a client's physique permits. Overall the cut is subtle; some padding and roping in the shoulders combined with moderate waist suppression.
In an age when so many young designers are driven by point of view, Rory Duffy & Co. remain as both physiologist and psychologist of the needle arts. The starting point is the client's body - not the shifting trends of men's fashion. The tailor gets into the mind of his client, understanding his needs and delivering a product that conveys the inner style of the wearer in a subtle form. Rory Duffy & Co. is a permanent fashion. Contemporary suits fit for purpose and make men feel in control of any given situation. Handcraft shouldn't impose on house style, but rather work intensively with each handcraft customer to cut the suit requested without sacrificing dignity for over-styling.