"The suit is no longer constrained to the office"
It all started with a morning suit. When Daisy Knatchbull donned a top hat and tails for Royal Ascot in 2016, she became the first woman to do so in the history of the Royal Enclosure. She knew she was breaking with tradition, but the overwhelmingly positive reception she received still came as a shock.
“It was the reaction of the women and the press that made me realise the beauty and elegance of all things sartorial was woefully unavailable to women (in the same way it was for men),” she explains, “and so I decided that I would take the risk and try to make a difference.”
That difference comes in the form of The Deck London, a made-to-measure tailoring service founded by women, produced by women and available exclusively to women. A scion of the Mountbatten dynasty, Knatchbull utilised her years working as the communications director for Hunstman on Savile Row to set up her business, naming it after a deck of cards in a nod to the four signature silhouettes — or ‘suits’ — the brand offers: the Single-Breasted, the Double-Breasted, the Boyfriend and the Safari.
Competitively priced, made-to-measure suit trousers start from £700 and blazers from £1,600. Each style is available with a choice of straight-leg, wide-leg, flared or cigarette trousers, and more than 7,000 types of material, with the lining, buttons and thread customisable. There’s also the option of skirts, waistcoats and shorts.
“We wanted to create an exclusive tailoring offering for women and challenge the conception that being fitted for a suit is often an 'intimidating process' by offering an empathetic women-for-women service, understanding their needs and emotional relationship with clothing,” Knatchbull says. “There are thousands of tailors making for men and only a handful for women, so it’s fantastic to be a part of that.”
For Knatchbull, that same experience comes down to not just service and style, but location too. In September, The Deck London relocated its standalone boutique from Lower Sloane Street to Savile Row, joining the bastions of British tailoring on a street that has been traditionally been, until now, male-dominated.
Positioned next door to Maurice Sedwell, The Deck London joins a handful of established female tailors working on Savile Row including Kathryn Sargent, who opened her menswear store in 2016, and Anda Rowland, the director at Anderson & Sheppard. Furnished exclusively by Oka and spread over 3,000 sq ft, the new store offers not just The Deck London’s signature tailoring but a capsule collection of concession brands that will change every three months, including jewellery, shirts and shoes that complement the brand’s own suiting.
“Savile Row is a street steeped in history and heritage and home to some of the best tailors in the world. It’s a privilege and an honour to sit amongst the prestige,” Knatchbull says. “To be the first all-female tailor on the street and to have a shopfront is a wonderful thing. The reception from ‘The Row’ has been so wonderful and so supportive.”
“It has never been a better time to be a woman,” she adds, “so opening a tailor exclusively for women amongst the macro trend of female suiting and rise of female empowerment couldn't have been more perfect — particularly now we are amongst the best in the business.”
As the pandemic continues to impact the retail industry and with more people working from home than ever, it is an inauspicious time to be opening a new tailoring boutique, but Knatchbull isn’t phased — she sees the world’s changing consumer habits as a positive step that will only serve to inform The Deck London’s USP.
“Post-lockdown, we have seen consumer shopping habits have changed and people are starting to be more considerate about what they’re buying. More and more of our clients are looking to invest for the future and not one singular event,” she says. “We are lucky to have seen an increase in sales post-lockdown as the more conscious consumer is choosing to purchase high quality investment pieces — garments that they will treasure for life and eventually pass down to their own children. The suit is no longer constrained to the office and the last few months have shown us the versatility and durability of a suit — most importantly that they are so often worn as separates.”
Launched in 2019, The Deck London’s trajectory has been lightning fast, garnering a loyal clientele that includes the likes of Elle Macpherson, AJ Odudu and Gillian Anderson — no mean feat considering a large chunk of that time has been during a global pandemic. Plans for the future are presumably just as ambitious — a collection for men, perhaps? “Certainly not for now,’ Knatchbull says. “We’ve got so much to do in the space for women and so many exciting avenues to explore. Watch this space!”
Suit trousers from £700 and blazers from £1,600, 19 Savile Row, W1S, thedecklondon.com