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The Unstructured Approach

UNS jacket

When Oscar was learning his craft, he neatly laid out the various parts necessary to make a jacket (or coat as they say on Savile Row). There was the fabric that everyone sees, along with the buttons and sowing thread. Then there was the lining, shoulder pads – much easier to make a jacket with those as they can hide a multitude of sins in terms of making and fitting a jacket, body canvas, chest canvas, domette that prevents horse hairs from the canvas poking through and to lend more shape to the chest area, possibly some fusing to reinforce the pocket openings, or on cheaper makes the whole front of the jacket would be fused, collar canvas, and melton / felt for the under collar. It is exhausting just reading this list. There is a famous video where Giorgio Armani rips the stuffing out of a jacket, the end result is a shapeless bag:

Oscar looked at all the components and decided to start from the very beginning, the essence of the jacket: the fabric, and the absolute bare necessities: buttons and sewing thread. He didn’t want to create a shapeless minimalistic garment – the tunic and kimono have been around for centuries. He wanted something that was weightless, soft and comfortable, but with shape and form - not a boxy tent, someone had already done that. He wanted the hourglass bespoke Savile Row silhouette, but the shape created only through precise cutting and sewing, not through heavy canvas and padding. Photograph of Oscar wearing an unstructured barchetta blazer in vintage cashmere, inside out so one can see the construction.

Udeshi Barchetta Blazer inside out

The softness and weightlessness would be achieved through a curated fabric selection, and changing the fundamental structure of a jacket – the shoulder. Most jackets have shoulder pads, and simply removing them is not enough. Their removal helps in creating a feeling of weightlessness and one can compensate for their removal by re-cutting the jacket, but at the end of the day, the jacket still sits on the shoulders, and if they are not perfectly set as the pattern is, one ends up with unsightly creases around the armhole. Photograph of one of the lightest men's blazers ever made.

Udeshi unstructured jacketSimply reducing the weight of the fabric as much as possible, by making the garment in the thinnest and lightest fabric possible – a bit cold in winter, doesn’t change the fundamental problem of the jacket sitting on the shoulders. One of the few times Oscar’s master’s degree in philosophy has a practical application: get the jacket to sit somewhere else – in our case, the collarbone. Our bespoke cutter who has half a century of cutting experience, helped develop this system with Oscar, and this subtle but crucial change, makes all the difference. We apply this principle to all our sleeved garments. We create razor sharp Savile Row silhouettes, but with an unparalleled level of comfort. Our garments made of nothing but fabric, thread and buttons are what we call our unstructured tailoring. Photograph of a bespoke Shetland tweed jacket and waistcoat completely unlined without canvas and lining.

Unstructured bespoke shetland tweed jacket and vestOur garments with canvas and the option of shoulder pads are our structured tailoring, soft tailoring would probably be a more accurate description. A lot of our clients have commented that our jackets are like wearing pyjamas - you don’t feel you are wearing a jacket. When we use canvas and shoulder pads, we use the thinnest and lightest pads possible and the lightest possible canvases for the cloth and routinely use tropical weight canvas that weighs as much as paper for soft cashmere winter coats. We dispense with domette – the felt in the chest that we find makes a jacket feel thick and substantial and traps the heat, by finishing the canvas in a special way from our French trained baste maker. She is responsible for putting the bespoke jackets together for their fittings. She is very exacting and slow, but every stitch is accurate and done with a light hand, and only when she is satisfied, does she hand over the jacket for a fitting. She even keeps the heir to a certain throne, and a sultan waiting, because it has to be right. Photograph of a bespoke double face double brushed Italian cashmere peacoat with canvas but no shoulder pads and no lining.

bespoke soft tailored udeshi peacoat

Miles Davis said “the secret is not the notes you play, it's the notes you don't play.” For us it is the stitches we don’t put in.










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Great Coat

Royal Airforce officers wearing greatcoats, inspecting an aircraft in France

A great coat, also known as a watch coat, is a large overcoat that is typically made of wool designed for warmth and protection against the elements. Its collar can be turned out to protect the face from the cold.  It was popular in the 19th century as a military uniform and casual wear for the wealthy, and is still issued for inclement weather by many armed forces around the world.

vintage great coatWilliam Fane De Salis (1812-1896) with a shotgun, c. 1890

stalin in great coat at yaltaJoseph Stalin wearing a uniform greatcoat at Yalta, 1945

Our great coats features an action back – a box pleat down the whole length of the coat. As we are sticklers for detail, our great coat backs are cut out of one piece of fabric that eliminates any seams, making for thinner pleats that are more comfortable against the back. This also uses considerably more fabric and requires a certain amount of skill to get right. The action back allowed for rifles to be fired, grenades to be thrown and champagne bottles to be sabered. It works quite well for throwing a ball to a dog in a park too.

udeshi great coat back

The pleat is held in place in the waist with an adjustable half belt, that gives shape to the waist and can be tightened to allow the coat fronts to be separated for ventilation. When a coat is made in a heavy vintage fabric, this is actually essential.

great coat from udeshi closed

The front features buttons and buttonholes along the front, so that the front can be closed all the way up to the shoulders. Then there is a hook closure at the neck, which was traditionally made of two small brass hooks that were notoriously fiddly to close and brass being quite soft, easily bent out of shape. We have simplified the throat closure with a bigger steel hook made for us in Germany to our specification, that allows closure while wearing gloves. With the collar up, it acts as a funnel, completely protecting the neck from the elements, making a scarf superfluous.

udeshi great coat front

The cuff is made of a separate piece of fabric attached to the sleeve, so that it could be replaced when worn, or the wearer was promoted to a higher rank and had a different colour cuff.

internal pocket of great coat

We have added two inside breast pockets that can be accessed when the coat is partially closed, negating the need to fully open the coat to get something from the breast pockets. In Scandinavia and Russia, our clients definitely appreciate that.

udeshi in udeshi great coat casentino

These are just some of the details on our great coats, there are more such as the reinforcement triangles at the pleat openings, or the swept back shoulder seams, that move the seam away from the top of the shoulders where they could be annoying….

Great coat in udeshi atelier

Our great coat is available on a bespoke basis or as a made to measure unstructured version. We keep a small amount of stock in the unstructured version that can be purchased here. Clients can choose from over five hundred overcoating fabrics from Austrian loden, archive military service cloths, Italian Casentino, Peruvian Alpaca and Scottish Cashmere to name a few. We have made an orange Casentino

Prices start from £1295 for stock coats and £4195 for bespoke coats.

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