Standing next to an array of fashion luxury stores peppering the streets of Salamanca, Madrid's fanciest neighborhood, its front door goes almost unnoticed. Tailor Jaime Gallo who past away in 2015 - didn't like ostentatious and, yet, his shop wasn't an ordinary clothing shop. It houses one of the oldest and most established brand of handmade suits in Spain.
It all started in 1948, when a boy aged only sixteen named Jaime Gallo entered the world of tailoring. Working hard to learn the trade, he developed his own simple but elegant personal style until he found his own brand in 1972 which quickly became a reference in Spain.
Over the last four decades, many important names have chosen to be dressed by Jaime Gallo including the Spanish king. Since the tailor passed away, the shop became a family affair run by Gallo's sons. Although the number of clients passing through the doors has declined over the years, in part due to the fierce competition of industrial tailoring, the name Jaime Gallo remains a token of quality in the country.
A commitment to artisanal tailoring and handmade manufacturing
Step inside the shop and you will feel like you’re taking a step back in time. The dim lighting, the thick carpets and the men drawing sewing patterns on wooden tables give a quiet, sophisticated vibe to the place. In the back of the shop, another door opens to a small workshop where a group of people, sitting on stools, are sewing the pieces of the suits together.
This is what sets apart the Jaime Gallo brand today. Its artisanal, almost artistic, way of manufacturing clothing. The suits and the shirts are handmade from A to Z with solid, high-quality fabrics imported from all over Europe. and the production continues despite the decline of tailoring skills on the market. And since more than 70 hours are needed to make one suit, the brand states clearly its suits do not distinguish themselves for their competitive price or for their sophistication but for "the cut, the fabric, its commitment to artisanal tailoring, handmade manufacturing and overall quality of the garment."
How to choose a bespoke luxury tailored suit?
The process of choosing a Jaime Gallo suit entails, first and foremost, an in depth conversation between the tailor and the client in order to understand on which occasion the client will wear the suit - or the jacket or shirt - and his personality to create the best possible outfit possible for him.
A lot of the preliminary work is about listening to the client. The fabric is chosen with this conversation in mind and depends on the client’s taste, the season, and how frequently the suit will be worn. A good bet according to the Jaime Gallo’s team is to choose the so-called TEBA vest. Traditionally worn as a hunting jacket, it is now regarded as an everyday, elegant yet casual piece of easy to wear clothing.
Then come the measurements which is a crucial moment of the whole process. The tailor draws a sewing patron based on those exact numbers which takes time but is essential. Every single one of the suits are manufactured with a patron to prevent mistakes during cutting and stitching.
After a few weeks, the client is invited for a first fitting to see how the suit is coming along and to make the necessary alterations. This fitting session can be repeated up to three times to make all the adjustments to the patron and to the suit.
One of the most respected names in the world of Spanish menswear
If one thing is clear at the time of leaving this iconic home of bespoke tailoring is that the client is very much at the centre of the whole process and receives careful, personalised attention. More than the suits themselves, it is this customer care which makes the whole experience unique.
Getting an outfit done does take many hours and requires the client to come back a couple of times - something to take into account if you are not a local. The Jaime Gallo team is nevertheless used to dealing with clients who do not live in Madrid and facilitate the organisation.
Even if you are just in the Spanish capital for a short amount of time it’s worth passing by just to check out one of the most respected names in the world of Spanish men fashion and get a glimpse of 20th century tailoring in the 21st century.
Writer: Léa Surugue
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