Are you local? Yes, Brighton born and bred. I was born in the Trevor Mann unit and grew up on Hartington Villas by Hove Park.
What do you do? I’m a period tailor. Making men and women’s bespoke clothing from the 1660s to the 1910s.
What drew you to that? I’d always been interested in making things, and vintage clothing. I started making a few bits for myself, and then one or two pieces for friends.
So the impulse for you to make your own clothes came first, and the business sprang organically from that? Exactly. Friends of friends were saying “can you make me such and such?” and I was going “yes I think I can!” It started off more as a hobby making the stuff, as I was researching and practising and learning my craft. To a point where it’s now a business, which is daunting. I have now got a global scope, where I’m going over to America to see clients and I’ve got clients specifically flying from other countries to see me. It’s nothing like I ever thought it would be.
Did that popularity come from the BBC News video this summer? No, it was all sort of doing fine before then. The BBC piece has actually made me known more in this country, bizarrely. I was already known quite well in America. Now I’ve got more UK clients, which is wonderful. On just the BBC platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, it’s had over 60 million views, which is a little bit mad. At one point apparently, I was trending on Japanese Twitter.
It keeps astonishing me why people are so interested in all of this. I don’t see myself as necessarily doing anything special, I’m just being me and doing what I enjoy. I’m wearing something that I’m completely, 100% comfortable in. And truly myself in. And if you’re confident in yourself then you’re laughing really.
Are you a theatregoer? I saw The Lover/The Collection by Harold Pinter with David Suchet and Russell Tovey. It was amazing, really wonderful pieces. I then hung around backstage and got to meet one of my absolute heroes, David Suchet, and Russell Tovey. I’ve always loved Poirot, and Tovey was also in one of the early episodes. It was funny thinking ‘ah, he’s there!’
What do you like about Brighton? I love that Brighton is unapologetically itself, and not afraid to change. Some people say “Brighton’s not the same anymore”. Yeah, but that’s always been Brighton. Brighton’s never been the same, it’s always changed and evolved. I think that’s really important. When you think of its past, it started off as a fishing village and then became a royal playground. It’s always been open to change. It’s always been dressed up. I believe that Brighton is the Pavilion. It’s that whole madcap eccentricity.
Brighton is a bit of a bubble. A wonderful bubble that I absolutely adore. 99.9% of people in Brighton are genuinely lovely. It’s fantastic. This atmosphere is completely different to other places I’ve been in the country. I can’t imagine going or being anywhere else: London’s great but it’s not Brighton. It’s not home.
Photo by Adam Bronkhorst