« Desert Island Discs

Andrew Ramroop, tailor

2022-08-06 | 🔗
Andrew Ramroop is a Savile Row tailor, whose international client list has included film stars and royalty. Andrew grew up in a remote village in Trinidad and sewed his first garment at the age of nine, creating a simple pair of trousers from a pillowcase. He left school at 13 and was apprenticed to a local tailor who told him tales about the pinnacle of sartorial excellence, Savile Row – the place where James Bond’s suits were cut. Inspired by this vision, Andrew saved up for a ticket to sail to the UK: he emigrated at the age of 17, only the second person to leave his village. He found work on Savile Row, went on to complete a degree at the London College of Fashion, and then gained a job at Maurice Sedwell, eventually taking over the business when Maurice retired. In recent years, Andrew has been closely involved in training the next generation of tailors. He was awarded an OBE in 2009, for his work in tailoring and training, and was the UK’s Black Business Person of the Year in 2017. DISC ONE: Portrait of Trinidad by The Mighty Sniper DISC TWO: Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2 by Pink Floyd DISC THREE: Time Will Tell by Jimmy Cliff DISC FOUR: The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel DISC FIVE: It's a Man's Man's Man's World by James Brown & The Famous Flames DISC SIX: Desiderata by Les Crane DISC SEVEN: Maria La O by Neil Latchman DISC EIGHT: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel BOOK CHOICE: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace LUXURY ITEM: A tenor steel pan drum CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Previously sounds music radio broadcasts, hello, I'm lorna then, and this is the desert island discs podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island and for right. Reasons the me It is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening. I My castaway this week is the more The tailor andrew ram rope, his career has been defined. I elegance and excellence he was the first black taylor several row and the first taylor in its history to be awarded and ob as astute
at the london college of fashion. He completed his course so quickly and with such flare at his almah, meda created the category diploma of distinction, especially for him. His principal recommended him, job with the tailor more set will initially in the back room. He went on to buy the business in two thousand and eighty founded the several row academy to ensure the skills of his trade were passed on to the next generation. He was named black business person of the year in twenty seventeen andalusia. Client list remains confidential. We do know that it's around sixty countries and has included some while jackson, tony curtis and diana princess of wales, he describes his upbringing interested in tobago as humble, although he adored clothes in his first pair of trousers from a pillow case when he was just nine as a teenager, he was apprenticed to a tailor in port of spain is fourteen hours,
days of plenty of opportunity to absorb his bosses. Colorful stories about london scolded mile of tailoring he had found his destination. He says I didn't, sale to england or to europe. I sailed to several row. I wanted to In the olympics of tailoring andrey rum route welcome It has an undisguised thank you for the invitation and very happy to be here. So let's start andrew with saddler row. Then it is the pity me of world class tailoring what is it that makes it so special. What mix southern very special is his tradition, its history, its the pinnacle of some. The excellence. Now this is radio theatre of the mind andreasen here to tell our listener that you are looking obviously, incredibly dapper for our interview. Today
got your own work, a beautiful pinstriped suit that you, where I plead guilty for designing and making this. I actually commission discourse we mentioned earlier. Simum Jackson, some jackson and I have exactly the same suit. Is that like a pink stripe, it's almost future stroke pink, come book clay design? So it's not a clean pinstripe. slightly broken stripes on a very dark blue background. I thought initially that that was a ring on your little finger of your left hand, but it's actually a thimble. It's in my pinky finger that it actually lives. There are more than ninety percent of the comments that we make are still made by hand, and that's very, very important to me, because our tradition is handcraft tailoring. You know we cut and fit in harmony with body shapes for style, for elegance for comfort. If you consider we taking what is something is essentially flat and creating sculpture,
creating a three dimensional form with it that it actually fits around a body did sartori lot. Well with all that in mind, and I think we ve got a dive into your first disk. What are we going to here? I am I very proud of my background and does so many stories in calypso does love stories they actually political, the incineration of of our life in trinidad and challenges sometimes and on what we proud of, and so the first of my choices is calypso am pleased to say
it's a portrait of my country, trinidad and Tobago. That is neither does it. Why don't you run into you rightly point out positive trinidad? Mighty sniper, let's go back to the beginning, then you're born in now in fifty two in a village called mango in trinidad, one of five children, your parents also, I'd aspirations fit for all of you to do well. That was that the culture in the family did they emphasise the importance of working hard, presumably
also the importance of presenting yourself well and putting your best face forward. The view was that the pathway to success is becoming academically attained. I rejected that because I just did not want to go to school, partly because the school teachers want very kind to us. We came from the hills and we went expected to mount anything in life. I say never paid too much attention and at that time teaches really can
for not doing very much wrong, get ahead. That you've got your own back on one of the teachers. Save oh yeah inflicted a corporal punishment on you. What happened? The stitcher had a leather belt and he had names for all of the bouts and after being spanked by this teacher, I went into his desk. It was one of those desks can lift up the top of the desk and he had all this stuff that the leather belt was deemed shallow, just where he got the name from I don't know, but it's written in pen at the rough part of the belt was written shallow and I took charlo away and I put it inside my shirt continued. My sunday sculptures meant to be very, very christian, I said to my son: miss school. Now we had an outside toilet, everyone had outside toilet seven and I went down and almost ceremoniously dropped shallow and good for you, it's exactly where he belonged. Well, we've got to make some time
the music conjure it's time for your second disk today, what's gonna be and why you taken it to your does and pink floyd's another brick in the war, because of my belief that academic attainment, certainly high academic attainment, does not necessarily prepare you for success in life. But I love the beat his fantastic. It speaks to us pink floyd
wait and another brick in the wall. Andrew ram root. Tell me then about the first time that you created something out of fabric. I remembered so clearly my mother reminded me that I was about nine years old when I cut up a pillowcase and made myself what we call it back home the pants. We had no electricity, but we had one of those hand sewing machines and I saw the outside leg. So the inside lang proudly call my mother and showed her. What I did the pillow case that we had in all our curtains was made out of flour bags and one side of the bag was printed. It was white and the other side of the bag had it was read. Books called red roses flaw and he's had a big red roses.
A sign on the other side was all printed out. I could see the picture of it now. I really really wanted to leave school and gone and do an apprenticeship learning to make shirts. I learned to make pants when and that's what happened at thirteen he left school, you apprentice to a local taylor. Making try was as what were the first few weeks like do you remember I leave school in July and before the new term started, parents were ordering trousers short cocky pants for the kids to go to school, and I was making short cocky pants for kissed. Go to school when school opened in early september, I was putting a lot. well they it I learned to make trousers with. I was ambitious enough to want to learn to make jackets and even teach me. There was a tailor in the town who always saw me coming and going, and eventually
one day. He offered me an apprenticeship to learn to make jackets without any discussion. I said yes, I went off my told mummy call us taylor and said die in he's, got dishabituated legitimate jackets. Will you teach him, and he said I wasn't ready, because I was earning him pretty had some amount term, time and I wasn't getting paid so he was taken to funding for, though the since you were making these yeah. I've had just one day at that taylor learn today jackets, because his trousers taylor got himself inebriated and when, in quarrel with this data about taking his worker, and so the following day, when I went in the stillness, had told me what happened last night- and he said I m afraid you can't come back here, because I very respectable business. I can have this happening so at age. Fourteen I was unemployed, mommy went back to the trouser taylor said. Will you take him back and he said
Not only did he said no, he said I'll see to it that he does not get any further industry. That's take paint, to music. What are we going to hear next country? My mother used to play me a song by jimmy cliff time, will tell and she used to go to different priests are different, so many different churches and she would come home and say to me never mind.
one day things will would be better. The Jimmy and time will tell so andrew ram rape, you saved up enough money. I think it was nine hundred pounds in nineteen. Seventy. two for a one way ticket to southampton, and you done that after getting another place, taylor and import of spain by the time you got the money together,
seventeen years old, you taken in your bosses, colorful stories about life on the golden mile of taylor, what we are dreams at that stage. It was probably an unrealistic dream and I sailed to southampton not knowing anybody, what To take just seventeen years old, you grown up with that large loving family for siblings, leaving them behind must have been such a wrench. I can say on your face, even as I'm talking about a very difficult
You ok memories. I thought that had managed to be able to deal which I had not been further from mango village to border spain, and I didn't even go to the island. Tobago I've never been in a boat, and here I am selling four thousand miles away. I really am just came just did what I did without really giving it much thought you know it is that I wanted to be where the pinnacle of software will excellence was practiced and I wanted to be amongst the finest what's it like leaving. A parents must have been very tough. It was very, very different.
I was living my family. I was probably the second person that ever left village. Instead, it was a huge fanfare here. I am with so many people to see me off in the docks of port of Spain, waiting for the boat that didn't turn up, and so my parents said to me- or you wait here just in case the boat does turn up and everyone left daddy had to go back to work. Mommy had to go home to cook. Everyone else. It came to see me off had left and I waited and waited and waited and dressed in a suit that I made.
It was really really smart. Olive green suit, with a subtle burgundy check, with the inverted pleat at the back and were depleted and the cuff. If you can imagine the old docks building with them, he can just exposed rafters waiting for the boat to arrive waited for hours. One hour went by two hours, three four five hours. Her back is not beginning to get dark and in a small boat arrived, there will take no more than about ten fifteen people and is this boat is going to take me to england. I was shocked and it turned out that the boat that I was meant to sail on the northern star wouldn't pay the docking fee to come into trinidad waters. So they stayed out of trinidad waters to hide the small boat to take the eight passengers
was going to go on a boat from when I actually stepped on the boat that my family came. So I was literally on the boat when my family came to see me off. I was pretty tough and was sailing out into the darkness and got to the side of the boat, and he can imagine it was like going up. Sixty feet up it must be. I don't know how high sitting up into the sky- and it was a narrow ladder- sort of two got that side of the boat. That's what a trepidation. its climate in your lovely, see that you made my sea with one of his suit in your hand, luggage, editing one other suit, in my hand, luggage. Small blue case that my father had bought me. Two pairs of pajamas
and I had a shirt in there and the only shoes pair of shoes I had was beer shoes that I was wearing and the socks I was wearing wasn't prepared at all. I found myself in on that boat and into Southampton navigated my weight to. I think it was waterloo from southampton, and then it was some arrangements made for me to get an awful on them. You got no funding into an attic room and I never gated my way on at that time. It was big italy line. I find my way to Savile role. Well, andrea will find out what happened next in a moment fast, though good here
Music is number four today. What's it going to be it's going to be simon and garfunkel, the boxer, the box is very much to a large extent. I came here at age, seventeen, it's an autobiographical account of my journey and my life in the early days alone, just my stories assistance promise lies in the man s simon and garfunkel, and the books so Andrew, rape, tell me then about your first attempts to get a job on several row. He dreamed of working and effort is what was the reality that that met you
when you first knocked on that door. James bond Sean connery had his suits made at Anthony sinclair. Even though, and Mr Sinclair was not on Savile row, he was on conduce street, which is obliquely opposite Savile row. I wanted to work a james bonds, taylor. He had a a caught up in a window. Taylor wanted I went in and said yes, you consult monday. He liked to suit. I was wearing under one. I took with me I said I had made them. I started on Monday and almost exactly the same thing happen, the one day that I actually spent and a tailor wanting to make jackets, because another guy saw the card in the window and he came in the day. I started at Andrews sinclair
so you've been at the same job. So you'd been there twenty minutes or something yeah yeah I'd only just started. I got my board where I'm going to be working, and so now this guy came in. While I was waiting for Mr Sinclair to show me where my workstation was- Twenty minutes later, he came up to me and said: I m, have you and I like this- I said no, I haven't, but you know you plug it into damn thing: it's hot right Then he said what, if you had muse- and I guess you I'm afraid I can't work here- it was only an excuse to get rid of me and give this other person to job. Why? I think he probably didn't have any confidence in me and this person he was preferred sinclair. Did me a huge faith by firing me after twenty minutes, because he called up one of his of it for
And then he called over the huntsman, which was literally across the road. The most historic must settle as in the world. I, whenever the huntsman by ten thirty I had another job at the most famous tailors on sovereign role and in the world. I got it up it husband after awhile working huntsmen. You saved up enough to start a degree at the london college of fashion, but you ve had no family money behind you. How did you get the funds together? How hard we working? I had a choice between spain and it was at eight p m to six p m and whose monday to friday, what am I gonna do? It said it is
it is so. I got a job on the king's road chelsea. Now I was getting paid twelve pounds a week at huntsman and the king's road I was getting paid. Six pounds on a saturday. It is a flared trousers was velvet suits, was very, very tight on the thighs tightened, a waste no pleats at the top pergola shoulders, rope, ground, sleeves snug fitting to all my goodness. It was beautiful, and here I am working on the kings road. Getting it with all of these governments who is really really exciting times, music. I think country ramrod. What are we gonna hear next and why I saw James brown before it was the first time at sea, things called stroll blighting ways: the flashing, latin, the tories dancing in slow motion. My goodness super impressive. I saw James brown performing at the rainbow theatre in finsbury box. I could not do this.
Programme without having james brown. It's a man's word The the. James brown and it's a man's world, so and remember it be graduated from the london college of fashion. You'd managed to complete your degree in just two years. Instead of the usual three and you are ready takes apple row by storm. What happened next? How hard was it to find a job? I could not get a job the front of a shock
And this is where probably the active racism came in, but I did not recognize it. I just felt that I was a suitable, so I didn't take umbrage had been turned down, but one boss said our customers would not take kindly to a foreigner, but if you wanted a job in the back room, we can take you, and I had at least eleven appointments in related to talk. There is no one would give me a job at the front of the shop and so
I was determined to get to the front eight graduates coming out of the london college, a fashion the world's your eyes to this competition. To take you, but not me. Finally, MR said well called up to college and asked if they had any great is- and I gotta for we try to morrow said well and after a couple of weeks mrs edward said to me: don't bother about a trial, you got a job, so tell me about my said. Well then, He described the man as a very clever east under what was the relationship between the two of you, like, I guess, somewhere along the line, I became the sun him overhead
one of the reasons I think that he gave me the opportunity to do. The data was that he had dem been in the navy. He had traveled the world. He had been open to other cultures. He was a lot more minded, then the owners of shops and cyber row, Andrew, tell me about getting to the front of the shop. Then you made it. Obviously how did it happen? I was actually doing all the alterations in this sort of, like Very narrow space to we have almost like a corridor, and I said mrs said well, look we ve got some. alterations to do. Why can't? I have a look at the fittings so that at least I could possibly have an input and we have less alterations and he said yes, you can come, but you stand by to adorn the corn. You don't get involved,
that's what I did. I stood at the door. I looked at the fittings and I would make my comments afterwards and that process what you're describing there's what's known in the trade is rock of I isn't it it's a rock of eye is a natural talent and ability to recognise difference between good and perfect all right. Let's have similar music entry number six. What are we going to hear next and why have you chosen ip? You know I was brought up as a christian. He was fire and brimstone. So when I had the opportunity to make my own decisions when I came to england, I didn't want to go to church anymore, but the upbringing that I had and the values that my parents taught me. I had heard of les cray a dj who had
call it a poem core desert around her, and when I heard it really really impressed me- and I use it as my bible- in inverted commas- to navigate my own life go placidly amid the noise and pace and remember what peace there may be in silence as far as possible, without surrender be on good terms with all persons speak. Truth quietly and clearly and listen to other, even the dull and ignorant they have their store, avoid an aggressive, less cream performing max amans poem, a writer, andrew runway, when moorish said, will retired in nineteen eighty eight people at the business from him, but he kept his name above the tool. Why it tribute to Mr Mauro said well,
he had given me a fault we trial and for me is to have more said, will live on longer than. I will live on. I've never lifted a hundred and twenty two minutes official it, but I would certainly want to morrow said about two gone for belonging to another. Fifty is certainly I need to ask about your customers now. Obviously, the relationship between taylor and client is it very particular kind of intimacy and for many tailors on the road. Discretion is particularly important, but we do know about a few of your client on one of the most famous was princess Diana. You made a few seats and jackets for her, including the jacket that you when she was interviewed firm panorama, and were you aware that
she was going to wear one of your pieces for the occasion. I wasn't aware on the all of the photographs, and even on television, it looks as those black it isn't black his smith. I blew it's pure kashmir. Of course it had to be built. Kashmir also made the oppressors away, as I made her. At least it suits, and I had three in progress when she passed away, one was half made, one was completely made and the other one was cut it. What's it like to do I'm fed someone who is so famously stylish shipment is that bring extra pressure with it. You submit three designs: you dont have to many choices, searches and designs, and then a selection has paid off the one,
all three and you get on with it. It was very much am keeping it confidential from everyone, even keeping confidential from staff confidential from your family, because you, u sworn to see Missy samper disk number, seven andrey. What are we going to hear next and why you taken it with you to your island today may much one is the godfather of my son that have named after myself, Andrew Madame ram, rip, junior nails, performances of phenomena he's also from trinidad and Marilla o is a song of chosen because it is an operative peace and you would not associate opera with the west indies and most certainly not trinidad the birth of still pan and calypso.
However, the latin american influence and a spanish influence in the caribbean is it was very prevalent during and after the war, and you will get this song, those who were inebriated will be singing the song interim shops, and so this is the principal reason, apart from the very very close relationship I've got with with me, lexman and our background and so on. I think this is a test of peace, to take to the island with me in paris the us yeah
war. What's yours in us We must yes No, re alone by earnestly quota sung by your friend Neil lackman, with cootie green on the piano andrew, of your work today is about teaching the next generation of tailors, and to that end, you established the several row academy in tooth as an eight. I started to solve a royal academy, because getting an apprenticeship and central role is like trying to window lottery without a ticket area was right.
Ellie challenging, and I opened the doors as of january two thousand and eight who would sixth students who could not get apprenticeships and one of the six was a former stood ended. Lunnon college, a fashion actually still looks at me and today of taught all over the world, and I stood students from fifteen countries on our last count. It was, I think, three hundred and eleven tailors, but I haven't got it for a long time was thrown lemon, tailors, retrained and you must see them go onto too in the industry and many of them still on the road or not four of them that are working in and around sovereign and the rest of the world, and it's a very, very difficult competition to golden shares to win. But we wonder golden shares on yeah occasions and in the last year, the competitions every two years we want both the golden shares. The first and the second prize Andrey
time feel your final choice to take with you to the island. What's it going to be my sons, they have given me a lease of life that I am looking forward so much to be engaged with their growing up to be a part of their life with Simon and garfunkel bridge over troubled water. This song speaks so much bought parenting about challenging about relationships. It raises all of those questions. If you ve got someone there did you can feel confident that he can approach to have a conversation with about your emotions, about how you feel what's going on with your life, that is of paramount importance to encourage them
spite motivate- and this is why I have chosen bridge over trouble toward her the the Simon and garfunkel, bridge over troubled waters?
so andrew ram rape, it's time to cast you away to the island what so violet or you're hoping for while I'm hoping re palm trees. I said palm trees, but I really mean coconut trees. I can have a fresh coconut water to drink every day, surrounded by turquoise waters. I think it's going to be totally idyllic and other journey on which you're setting out full of optimism and hope. This is good to hear so. Let's get you there then I'll give you the bible to take with you the complete works of shakespeare. You can also choose one or the book. What would you like wallace's in fine, I just he's my choice: a book infinite, just ok, it's yours! You can also have a luxury item to make life a bit more bearable. What would you like do you know? I have always always wanted to learn to play to steal a pan. I grew up.
with silver music. All around me, the height of luxury for me, is having a still pan and teaching myself to play to still ban, but I want to soprano tenor still ban, which is the lead pan, one, a different. Absolutely it's yours I mean it's gonna, be perfect on this island that you ve conjured up. I feel like I'm there already. Finally, Andrew one disk of the eight that you ve chosen to take with you today. Would you rush to save from the waves if you needed to. That's really really difficult one, but it's also a simple one for me to select. It is bridge over troubled water, andrea ram. Thank you very much for letting us here your design and discs. It has been my enormous pleasure
hello, I hope Andrews happy on this island and that is still upon drumming, is coming on a treat there are more than two thousand guns in our archive, which he can this into in fleming boat, the James bond Seats made on sovereign role and in was interviewed by roy plum, lay back in nineteen sixty three. Just nine minutes survive of his programme, but you can find it in our archive, along with the complete desert island discs of former james bond actor. Jimmy the studio manager for today's programme was jackie, marjoram and the producer Sarah taylor. Next time my guest will be kate. You at banks of the british council. I do hope. You'll join us.
hi, I'm Andy Oliver and I'd like to tell you all about my radio full series, one dish
it's all about. Why you love that one day wondering you: could he, over and over again without ever getting tired of it? Each with a very special place will bring their favorite feeds my table and will be unpacking. History of it and feed psychologist kimberly girls with his own hand, to talk or through the science bit what things reminds you of your child. What's your favorite place to go for dinner, what you have the sunday la? What's your favorite desire, you say: plan ten power plants, godfrey review. Take leave each with a design. What's your favorite like a kidney, or do you have the requisite vessel ones, but one thing so if you're, the sort of person is already planning what you're having for lunch, while you eating then facebook cause he's gonna, be right up your streets. That's one with me. Andy! Oliver, listen now on pvc seconds.
Transcript generated on 2022-08-11.