As much of the UK retail landscape becomes pretty much undistinguishable, the next Westminster Council have allocated ‘special protection’ to five historic addresses, with Savile Row being one of them.
Renowned all over the world for impeccable British craftsmanship the tailors of Savile Row were concerned that multinational chains were moving in on their long established address. When US chain Abercrombie & Fitch Kids took up residence in the area in 2012 the bespoke businesses became very concerned.
However, Westminster Council, it seems, were thinking along the same line, after ten years of discussion and planning the allocated “Special Policy Areas” which includes Savile Row are now under protection, which will make it far more difficult for developers or landlords to muscle in and dilute their unique character.
The other four protected addresses include:
- Harley Street
- Mayfair Street
- James’s Place
- Portland Place
New stores wanting to open on Savile Row will now have to fulfil certain criteria such as “sell bespoke, unique, limited-edition or one-of-a-kind products”; and are “complementary to the character and function” of the zone.
The tailors of Savile Row are said to be extremely pleased with the council’s new policy. Mark Henderson, chairman of tailors Gieves & Hawkes and former chairman of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, told The Evening Standard:
- “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s recognition that Savile Row is totally unique.
- “Not only does Savile Row provide beautiful suiting but it is an inspiration for British fashion and we’re always concerned that it shouldn’t become just another retail street. Training to become a bespoke tailor takes five to 10 years and we have a group of uniquely talented people whose craftsmanship will now be protected.”
Westminster’s deputy leader Robert Davis added:
- “The 17.5 million people who visit London each year come to experience our capital’s distinctive character and like a good suit, planning policy should be made to measure.
- “It’s unthinkable that world renowned destinations such as Savile Row could become indistinguishable from any other high street. Special Policy Areas will ensure we retain and nurture the world-leading expertise that made these areas famous.”