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In Conversation with Darren Tiernan & James Macauslan of Budd London

Budd has been located in London's Piccadilly Arcade since the company’s inception in 1910, and forms part of the elegant thoroughfare of shops that leads into the famous Jermyn Street. Like all of Mayfair’s traditional arcade boutiques, the shop is tiny, but its size belies the wealth of goodies that can be found inside. Budd is a veritable Pandora’s box! Budd's prime offering is shirts. They make all of their shirts by hand at their workshop here in England. They are also one of the few remaining West End shirtmakers to still have its own cutting room on the premises. This is located above the shop and has presided over the Arcade for over 60 years. As well as shirts, Budd carries an extensive range of dresswear, nightwear, a fantastic selection of ties and bow ties, braces, socks, and many more accessories.

In a recent MenswearStyle podcast episode we spoke to both Darren Tiernan, Senior Cutter and James Macauslan, Cutter & Brand Creative Consultant at Budd London. They jump into the rich history of the brand and dissect the handmade shirt, discussing the different shirtmaking stages, from first being measured, to the complete final product. This laidback chat which took place within the brand's cutting room is full of interesting tailoring facts, insights and tips that are not to be missed.

How did you get into the shirtmaking business? 

JM “I did a foundation degree at London College of Fashion and I hated it, but I really enjoyed the making side of the course, so I pursued tailoring at Newham College. During that course you get placements on Savile Row and I had one with Huntsman and was there for about a year. After a year they recommended a paid job at a shirt shop and I’ve been here ever since.” 

DT “I’ve been doing this a little while longer than James. I’ve been shirtmaking for nearly 34 years. I first started by doing a classic apprenticeship on Savile Row at a shop which is unfortunately no longer there. At the time we were the only shirtmakers on Savile Row, so we got a lot of business from all the tailors there, and there was no conflict of interest. I then went on to work at New & Lingwood for a while and then returned back to Savile Row working for Dege & Skinner, and I’ve been at Budd for 8 years now. However, I’ve known the head cutter and shop manager here for a lot longer.”

How long has Budd been here in Piccadilly Arcade? 

JM “It started in 1910 and it was originally across the road from where it is now because during the war a bomb landed on the shop, and so Mr Budd opened up across the road. We are the only original shop in Piccadilly Arcade and we’ve pretty much been making the same stuff since it started. A lot of the furnishings you see in the shop are all original from when it first opened. It’s like walking through a time warp, like a weird museum time capsule; everything is precious and traditional.”

Can you tell me about the bespoke shirtmaking process? 

DT “We’re lucky as a company to be able to operate above the shop. There’s three cutters, so if someone does come in they can see the person who is making their shirts and they can also see the place where it is being made which is rare to find. The process would be that someone would come in and we would discuss what they need the shirts for, what fabrics they need e.g. do they live in the UK or a hotter climate. We discuss all that and then we measure them. We then head down to the fitting room and take around 20 measures and various figuration notes for the order sheet. It instils confidence in them when they know they can come in and speak to us. When you’re measuring someone you can see everything, your hands are such a good tool. You can feel if the shoulder drops down or if it’s a bit hollow at the collar bone; It’s very tactile and very useful. We then draft a pattern from scratch upstairs in the cutting room. Once we’re happy with the shoulder and it hangs nice from there, the rest is pretty much down to the customer. Collar sizes and sleeve lengths are probably the most personal part of a shirt.”

This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 48 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Darren Tiernan, Senior Cutter and James Macauslan, Cutter & Brand Creative Consultant at Buddshirts.co.uk. You can listen to the full version below or subscribe in iTunes, Spotify or your favourite podcast player.


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