Bradford tailor Imran Khan has his fingers crossed that Captain Sir Tom Moore will be wearing one of his hand-made bespoke suits when he appears on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories next month.
Mr Khan, owner of Bradford-based designer menswear brand IK Collections, contacted the World War Two veteran earlier this year offering to design and make three suits for him. In July, he visited him at his home in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire to discuss the suits and visually assess the sizing required, as the usual method of suit measuring was banned under distancing regulations.
Now Mr Khan hopes that the 100-year-old hero, who grew up in Keighley, will fly the flag for Yorkshire tailoring and wear one of the hand-made bespoke Yorkshire suits when he meets Piers Morgan to discuss on national television his service in the Second World War, his life and his fundraising in an upcoming episode of the ITV show.
Captain Sir Tom raised almost £33 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his landmark birthday in April. He has since been knighted by the Queen in an outdoor ceremony at Windsor Castle in recognition of his outstanding achievement.
The IK Collections tailoring team made suits for him in navy, grey and one in a striking blue and burgundy check. The fabrics are also all Yorkshire-made, from manufacturers including Bradford-based Barrington Fabrics and Bateman Ogden, plus Otley-based Marton Mills.
“A lot of people, especially in Bradford, think there is no one left in Yorkshire making hand-made suits as we make them. We have brought Savile Row style tailoring north to Bradford,” said Mr Khan.
He said he hoped Captain Sir Tom might choose the grey suit to appear on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, although his particular favourite of the three was the checked one, adding that a checked jacket teamed with checked trousers would have been far too busy for Captain Sir Tom.
“If you wear a checked jacket and plain navy blue trousers and waistcoat, that will look amazing,” he said. “This look has been out a while and it suits anyone.”
Mr Khan said that bespoke tailoring was especially important for the older gentleman, to help counteract the inevitable posture problems that come with growing older, such as drooping shoulders.
Captain Sir Tom tried on his three IK Collections suits when he visited Keighley last month. Mr Khan was delighted to see that they all fitted perfectly and said that the veteran seemed very pleased with them.
There are three IK Collection shops, at Newcastle, Manchester and the headquarters in Bradford’s Westgate, which opened in 2016 and is where many of the clothes are made in a studio behind the showroom. As well as Savile Row style tailoring, the shop specialises in sherwanis, knee-length jackets crafted in luxe fabrics and beautifully embellished, worn as wedding outfits by grooms and male wedding guests. “The Asian wedding market is massive,” Mr Khan said.
IK Collections has built up an impressive clientele list of well-known names. It has made clothes for TV presenter David Dickinson, Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint and the late magician Paul Daniels. Boxer Amir Khan, a friend and favourite client, often wears the brand to special events. Actor Jimmi Harkishin, who plays Dev in Coronation Street, is also a client, as is Duncan James from boy band Blue, who chose IK Collections’ Monte Carlo shevani with handwork on it.
Last year, Mr Khan made a jacket for former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn featuring a pinstripe print with the message ‘For the many, not the few’.
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