The Soho tailor draws on influences from around the world and just around the corner in his quest to add style and class to a man’s wardrobe.
David’s father came to England from Jamaica in the 50’s impeccably dress in a suit like so many other Jamaicans back then. This pride in looking sharp was polarised by the grey hard industrial backdrop of 70’s Birmingham where David was born and influenced by. He soon went to live with his brother in London where he grew into a man on a creative mission! His first experience of Soho in the 80’s got him totally hooked with the juxtaposition of this amazing grime pit! As a result of this, he sighted Soho as the creative powerhouse of the world coming to live in the neighbourhood in the early 1990’s. “Soho was changing when I first came here and it will continue to change, mutate and evolve” says Newell, “Therefore in a strange way nothing has changed!”
David began his career in fashion working for Michiko Koshino in the early 90’S later running the high pressure Gieves & Hawkes flagship concession store in Selfridges, where he worked for nearly 10 years, running the most profitable business per square feet in the company. Amid his success at Gieves & Hawkes, David had a desire to become an entrepreneur in tailoring, begin his own business and experience the joy of determining his own future through his own venture. During his 10 year tenure, David measured thousands of clients. This nurtured his ability to instinctively recognise combinations of measurements to feedback to a pattern cutter in order to achieve the desired look, style and fit his clients desired. “I studied International Product Design at Central Saint Martins for 4 years, so I was designing accessories for Michiko Koshino way before I started sartorial design” says David, “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the institute of Savile Row, as I have learnt from the best and now have my own vision from looking through centuries of sartorial tradition. My values are all based around quality and comfort. I won’t comprise either for fashion.”
Newell has developed a multitude of styles and cuts in order to create the perfect look for all of his clients
That which defines all established Soho tailors is their own distinct vision, style and values. When beginning Newell Bespoke, David aspired to create an understated style; a quietly confident look with a bout of insolence. Italian tailoring has had a particularly influenced David, which he describes himself to be in amore with. A particular individual whom came to influence his work is the late Raffaele Candilio, whom sadly passed away in April last year. “He was a great influence on my take of Italian tailoring. He would show me how they worked back in Napoli and how jackets in particular are constructed in comparison to the English methods” says David, “We would have fruitful debates on which method was best. A lot of high voices and higher arm waving – priceless!” he says of Candilio, whom I sense may have acted as a mentor.
While Candilio preferred the softer Italian chic style, David prefers the more contemporary and structured British look. David has a good understanding of what it takes to successfully conduct a sartorial consultation, determining his clients needs and requirements which he is able to skilfully interpret in order to achieve the desired suit. “There is no use in a beautifully crafted suit if it doesn’t fit right” says David, “You can have the best tailor in the world but if the measurements aren’t correct, all you’ll end up with is a beautifully made ill-fitting suit… and what’s the point in that?” Many of David’s clients have come work with him simply by word of mouth and sight of eye. Select clients of his include Formula One racing driver and 2015 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and american actor & songwriter Jamie Foxx.
David operates Newell Bespoke from a small studio space on Dean Street which he shared with Candilio up until his death. Stooped in Napoleon history, his studio is set within Candilio’s classical Italian tailor’s workshop. Born out of Soho, Newell Bespoke has now been running for 5 years. David assures me that Soho will always run through the DNA of his brand which he intends to nurture from his studio space until he reaches total independence in the years to come. “Soho is the trunk of the brand. Although, I strive to have many branches beyond Soho, this in turn will grow my roots stronger in Soho” says David, “Newell Bespoke is passionate about making its world a smarter place, almost like a crusade, preaching the sartorial faith to the un-initiated.”
David’s rich source of inspiration is coupled with Italian sartorial influences which has enabled him to develop a entire multitude of styles and cuts in order to create the perfect look for all of his clients. From the traditions of Savile Row forward to the likes of fellow Soho tailor Mark Powell whom constantly surpasses them, David has developed into a tailor that asks one question: “I have a mantra: does your suit speak for you?” His vision is to make everyone answer yes.
This feature article has been reproduced with the approval of Soho Journal.