For those that don’t know, the Golden Shears is the Merchant Taylors’ cutting and tailoring competition, which takes place every two years. Entrants, all under 35, are apprentices or students of tailoring. They each have to design, cut and make a suit – at least two pieces, though more commonly three – that demonstrates technical skill and original design.

This year’s event is in two weeks’ time, March 21st, and there are still tickets available among the 320-strong audience if anyone wants to come along. The tailoring houses are all taking blocks of 10 and 12, to support their apprentices, so it’s worth being quick. Permanent Style will be in attendance and will report back on the evening’s inventions.

Also, look out for the diary of Sunna Johnson, coatmaking apprentice at Anderson & Sheppard, as she talks about her entry. This will appear on The Notebook – the Anderson & Sheppard apprentice blog that I help put together – for three weeks beginning next Monday. The quilting to her Norfolk jacket has to be seen to be believed.

The Golden Shears has been growing in popularity in recent years, somewhat in line with the renewed interest in tailoring. This is particularly evident in the rising level of entries from colleges around the country, which has to be encouraging for the industry. This year there were 80 entries, which have been whittled down to 24 for the catwalk show in a fortnight.

Winners get £2000 (as well as the golden shears) and the second and third places £1500 and £1000 respectively. This year’s judges are Deborah Meaden, known from Dragons’ Den but also involved in tailoring through her work with Fox Brothers, Jeremy Hackett, Gerry McGovern (car designer), Charlie Allen (tailor and designer) and Roubi L’Roubi (women’s designer).

It should be good fun. I’ve posted pictures above and below of a few of my favourite entries from 2009. Tickets are £60, contact Katharine Green – [email protected] – if you’re interested.

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Anonymous

Dear Simon,

I am so pleased to see this somewhat antiquated style making a comeback. I have been watching the repeats of Jeremy Brett’s sherlock Holmes on television recently, and I am most impressed at one outfit he has. It is a black frock type coat, to mid thigh, very waisted and lightly pleated at the rear of the tail. He wears this with a very high single-breasted waistcoat, and dark (or sometimes pinstriped) trousers.

Do you think that it is possible to pull something like this off at the moment without looking too “affected”?

Yours,
Barrister.