Straight down Freemans Alley on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, up a flight of stairs inside the famously taxidermied restaurant and—like something out of a spy novel—through a false bookcase, you finally reach the FSC Bench-Made Bespoke Studio. This new menswear atelier is the latest project of architect and restaurateur Taavo Somer and joins his ready-to-wear men’s store, barbershops and restaurants in the Freemans cabal. And though the bespoke studio only opened its (hidden) door a month ago, it already caters to a celebrity roster that boasts names like Depp and Springsteen.
The 12-week bespoke experience begins when studio director Alex Young hands the customer a drink and walks them through the initial fabric selection and style consultation—which starts on a broad scope but extends down to the last stitch. Tailors then take 22 different measurements, which are then translated into custom-cut patterns overseen by master tailor Felix Aybar, previously the head tailor of Tom Ford. From there, 60-plus hours of labor begins to produce a hand-constructed suit finished with a personalized label bearing the client’s name and the date.
Young says it isn’t unusual to find the tailors of other labels coming into the atelier to soak up the craft. “Bespoke is an art form that is nearly gone,” he says. “There are a few places doing it in Savile Row, a few in the city. But an alterations tailor is not a bespoke tailor. Bespoke is labor-intensive. There’s a certain skillset that you need to have.”
The studio entrance
For the FSC team, nothing is off-limits. A recent customer asked for an extremely high, Victorian-style collar. Done. “We empower our customers to make their own decisions and be confident in them,” says Young. “After all, no one else is going to have that suit.”
To make an appointment, visit shop.freemanssportingclub.com.
Photos: studio: Kenneth Edwards; bookcase: courtesy of Freemans