x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Suits you, sir ... UAE tailor makes clothes to measure over a webcam

Gentleman's outfitter Knot Standard aims to bring the old-fashioned art of bespoke tailoring into the internet age with a webcam measuring service.

Tarig El-Sheikh, co-founder of Knot Standard, measures up Leith Matthews, managing director of MAKE Business Hub, for a suit that they are designing for him. ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National
Tarig El-Sheikh, co-founder of Knot Standard, measures up Leith Matthews, managing director of MAKE Business Hub, for a suit that they are designing for him. ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National

Knot Standard, a gentleman's outfitter based in the UAE, aims to bring the old-fashioned art of bespoke tailoring into the internet age with a webcam measuring service.

"You can actually stand in front of a webcam against a white background and hold a CD against your stomach so it can take a snapshot and take in your measurements that way," said Tarig El Sheikh, a co-founder of Knot Standard.

It is working on perfecting the algorithm, which currently has an 85 to 90 per cent hit rate, and expects to release it online early next year.

"We are still working on it to try to make it as easy and painless as possible," he said.

At the moment, people ordering suits on Knot Standard either have to be measured by a friend, a local tailor or by using dimensions of a current suit. The service caters only for men, but the company is working on an algorithm for women. Suits retail for between US$495 (Dh1,818) and $695.

Knot Standard was founded about two years ago by Mr El-Sheikh and friends Matthew Mueller and John Ballay, who had all lived in the UAE and had suits made here.

"I noticed that when I went back to London people said, 'wow, you must have done quite well this year going off to Savile Row and paying £2,000 [Dh11,746] for a suit' and I would be thinking no, I got that from Bur Dubai for Dh1,000," said Mr El Sheikh.

Since launching in April, the company has sold about 1,500 suits and made about $400,000 in turnover.

All the suits were made here in the UAE, but most of its customers are in large markets, such as the United States, where the industry is worth $6 billion annually, just 1 per cent of which is custom-made.

gduncan@thenational.ae