Cut from the right cloth
A Tailored Approach: Cad & The Dandy
By Charlie Thomas
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There are no two ways about it, Savile Row can be intimidating. Walk along the historic central London street and you can sense the weight of tailoring heritage in its iron railings and looming Georgian facades. Step inside one of the old houses and the mahogany panelling, red carpets and foreboding silence can be overwhelming. Visit Cad & The Dandy though and you’ll experience none of this. At its new ready-to-wear shop at No. Seven Savile Row, you’ll be met with cheery jazz music, a bright interior and a reassuringly large onyx clad bar. The staff are friendly and unassuming, helping you to feel at home in a way that eschews the formality of tradition.

There’s a reason for this. Cad & The Dandy is the street’s youngest tailor. It was set up by James Sleater – a former finance man – in 2008, “initially with three locations; one in Canary Wharf, one in the City and one in Savile Row” he tells me. The big idea was to offer beautifully made tailored suits and outerwear, but at more accessible price points than the street was used to. “I initially got into tailoring, seeing there was a gap in the market for amazing product, sold at equally amazing prices. Before we set up there was incredible tailoring on Savile Row, but the pricing was always very high. So we wanted to offer the best price to quality ratio that we could, and that put us in good stead. We’ve now grown to be a team of 200 people.”

A big part of that success is surely down to the fact the business is young. Without the century-long history, it can easily pivot where others feel unable to. Alongside its roaring trade making bespoke business and occasion suits, Cad & The Dandy focusses much of its efforts on casualwear. Today, its bespoke department sees plenty of people commissioning pieces for their off duty wardrobes, while the ready-to-wear offering is made up of similarly relaxed pieces including safari jackets, knitwear and soft collared shirts. “When we launched in 2008, the world was in a very different place to where we are now in a post-COVID world. Back in those days our customers wanted core suiting, and while that is still a large element of our business, style and uniform has changed. As a result, we do a huge amount of bespoke casualwear. You want a jacket you can throw on that looks suitable for going to a meeting, but also for meeting your friends in the bar after work.”

Regardless of whether you go casual or not though, fabric is at the heart of everything Cad & The Dandy does. Sleater is the first to tip his hat to Thomas Mason, with whom he regularly collaborates.

As good as tailoring is, partnerships are also key and the raw ingredients are paramount to what we do. Thomas Mason shirting has always been a fantastic product for us. The range, breadth and depth of the offering is second to none.
— James Sleater

Is there a particular fabric that stands out? “I think my favourite from Thomas Mason is the chambray range. I love the way it ages, it sort of tells its own story. We use it for our ready-to-wear shirts as well as bespoke. In ready-to-wear we call it the ‘journey’ shirt, purely because you watch that shirt go on its journey as you wear it and wash it. It takes on its own character and that’s the exact essence of what we do with our bespoke.”

What can you expect from the bespoke side of the business, then? Well, a forward thinking attitude for one. Unlike many of the Row’s older houses, Cad & The Dandy’s house style is open to interpretation, depending on what the client wants and needs. “Being one of the younger companies on Savile Row, we’re not always wedded to our house style. I think the real skill of the tailor is being able to make what the customer wants, rather than dictating what we think they need.” The house does however prefer a softer shoulder (albeit one with slight roping) and plenty of shape in the jacket. “You don’t come here for a boxy cut, we want to give you lots of shape and make it look like you’ve been to the gym more times than you have.”

As we wrap up our chat, I wonder how James views Cad & The Dandy within the current Savile Row landscape. The menswear industry and buying habits have changed dramatically in the past decade, and so too has the street itself. Should every house be as dynamic as his, and is there room for newer, even younger brands to start up on this small slice of prime central London real estate? The answer is a refreshing one.

“The future of Savile Row is in an interesting place,” he says. “There’s a lot of development going on. There are a lot of new companies that have moved onto the street. And sadly the street has lost some of its old names. But, fundamentally the demand from the consumer is there. It needs the old guard and the old boys. But it also needs younger businesses moving onto the street to attract a new wave of customers. And that’s the beauty of it. Each of the houses do amazing, different things and you don’t have to be wedded to one. Because of that, we learn from each other. We’re a street of competitors, but actually we all help each other out and we work together where we can.”



Explore Cad & The Dandy’s work at

Photography by Tom Bunning

Video by Matthieu Livingston

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