In the latest of our regular series of interviews with modern-day adventurers, explorers and entrepreneurs, we sat down with the irrepressible James Sleater - the brainchild behind Savile Row's 'Cad & The Dandy'.
"Cad and The Dandy started out in 2008," says James. "We wanted to dispel the myth that quality comes at a heavy price, and show that high-end bespoke tailoring could be accessible to all. Eight years after opening we've grown to be the biggest tailor on Savile Row."
If you've been before, it's easy to see why. In James' own words, Cad & The Dandy is home to "everything [required] to create a truly tailored suit. There are hundreds of design permutations, a vast library of fabrics and countless stylish linings to choose from."
There are three grades of tailored suit to choose from too: fully hand-stitched (by trained Savile Row tailors, cutters and finishers of course); half hand-stitched, and machine stitched. But for all that variety on offer, the cut of the suits remains distinctly, discerningly British and inspired, naturally, by the famous address which Cad & The Dandy calls home.
Most Treasured Possession
"Arguably my favourite possession is a very large, very old tailors' sketch book I found a while ago. It was full of notes on all the different items the tailor was learning to cut. The book is dated 1897 and there are some wonderful images in that book, some of which I had framed and hung inside Cad & The Dandy on Savile Row, and the others - the best ones - I saved for my house. It's a daily reminder that we are continuing a craft that's already centuries old"
That commitment to the traditional and the contemporary is reflected by James' biggest influences too. "My biggest influences would be people like David Niven and Terry Thomas; people who remind you of the elegance of life but were always relevant in the way they dressed; always willing to evolve, and never lapsing into appearing too twee or contrived.
"That attitude informs how we work today. Our team spend hours pouring over our clothes and creating new ideas and looks. We've worked hard to create a real culture of creativity. My attitude towards life in general is to try hard, enjoy it, but to ensure that nothing is ever mediocre. I have a fear of that and it always pushes me on."
British Adventures & French Escapes
Not that James doesn't find time for adventure outside work too, of course. "My favourite place in Britain to explore or take a little adventure to is the Isle of Wight. It's amazing how a small hop over the water gives you the feeling of total escape. It's the same thing with France. My wife and I spend a lot of time over there - even if it's occasionally just a few hours for some lunch. My daughter was actually born on one such hop over."
Top Travel Destination
"In terms of my favourite country further afield, I think I would have to say India. Even though I have been many times already, it's so vast and varied a place that there is always more to see. It's one of the few countries I think I could move to." Not that James is likely to move any time soon. And with his business going from strength-to-strength, the odds on James upping sticks for India are lengthening all the time.
Speaking of time, before we say goodbye to James - who on the evening in question has a trip to his favourite London haunt, the Dukes Hotel, all booked in - we ask him the all-important question that we put to each Farer interviewee.
Favourite Farer Watch
"My favourite Farer watch? The Barnato with a metal strap. It is beautifully simple; I like the combination of the white face with the subtle colour detailing." An excellent choice, but not a surprising one. Good taste comes easily to James - as you'll discover for yourself if you ever pay Cad & The Dandy a visit.