According to the UN World Tourism Organisation the silk road begins in Xian, the ancient capital of China, and ends in the Cheshire town of Macclesfield, which is where we met Brita Hirsch one sunny day in October. And, fittingly, it is Macclesfield silk which often lines her tailored suits.
Using the right materials is key to everything Brita does. When we first tried to meet her, she was visiting the Western Isles, sourcing Harris Tweed directly from weaver Donald John Mackay MBE, who famously helped the revival of the heritage cloth by securing a deal with US sports wear manufacturer Nike some years ago.
We eventually caught up with her at her Macclesfield studio, which has views across the hills of the Peak District and is perfectly placed for a trip to the famous Yorkshire woollen mills. Brita is a firm believer in sourcing materials from manufacturers who are within reach and points out that “I try to get to know all my suppliers personally; it is important for me to establish a trusting relationship, knowing that they are as passionate about what they produce as I am about what I create.”
But her most important driver is to make the best possible garment for her customer. Be it a business suit, an outfit for a special occasion or simply a piece that someone has always dreamt of wearing - she will make sure it is just perfect. Having developed her passion for quality and precision during a three year traditional apprenticeship in Germany, in her first job she tailored costumes for the musical Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg. “But it was during my time with master tailor Tom Reimer when my skills were really honed”. His love of 1940s Italian and British style and persistence on using only the most meticulous hand sewing techniques meant she had opportunity to develop her craftsmanship to the highest level.
As well as being a skilled tailor, Brita has qualified and worked as a textile engineer for years, developing highly technical fabrics for airbag production. Her engineering background allows her to look at her product from an investigative angle, feeding back into every bespoke piece she produces.
Her client base is global, with customers travelling as far as from the Hollywood Hills for the bespoke, personal service Brita offers. A Hirsch tailored suit takes up to 80 hours to make. This level of skill and attention is seldom found away from the Savile Row tailors and importantly, it is even rarer to find a tailor who can produce the same quality for both, a male and female fit. It is this knowledge and understanding of fabrics combined with her many years of tailoring that make her suits truly personal and unique pieces of craftsmanship.