Oh, and me. Well, I’m the middle one of Ricky’s three sons. As a child I would spend hours watching him work. I would be fascinated looking through his fabric pattern books, imagining what each fabric sample would look like made up into a suit. The patterns he used as templates for the suits were made from brown paper. He had them all rolled up in a cupboard behind his work table. I loved watching him roll out the fabric on his large table, root through his numerous self made patterns, then chalk around the selected pattern. Pattern removed, there was the outline of a suit.
Next out of the cupboard would come out the biggest scissors that I had ever seen, his best scissors, only ever used for ‘cutting’. Over the coming days this roll of fabric morphed into a stunning suit. Fitting the client both perfectly and beautifully. In clothing terms, it was what I would imagine to be the equivalent of watching an ‘Old Master’ at work; with every brush stroke the paint evolves into an image, it takes on a depth and can even tell a story.
Through my early teens I would earn extra pocket money shortening trousers for him; a pound a pair and I could do four pairs an hour. I wanted to follow in his footsteps, but he advised against. After leaving school I tried a few jobs but my heart was in clothing. Joe Corris, owner of JOSEPH+CO, initially offered me a Saturday job which I did alongside my Monday to Friday office job. After several months, Joe offered me a full time position and I gratefully accepted.
The years have rolled on and in 2010 Joe decided to hand the reigns over to me; both daunting and exciting, equally. Sewing something together is an easy enough task, but understanding the body form and how the fabric and garment should fit to compliment the person is somewhat more difficult. I never became a tailor but I had a bespoke tailor as a father and mentor.