MTM, Bespoke, Haute Couture - What's the Difference?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I can only assume you are confused too, so I am here to clear up the confusion with some 

Fashion Terminology


Ready-to-Wear or Off the Rack
Garment intended to be worn with out significant alterations. They are available in standard sizes and are formed from patterns. No customization here! Garments are produced for High volume rather than High Fashion. Although many High Fashion Houses do have a pret-a-porter line such as; Saint Laurent, Chanel and Dior. Basically what we all wear, whether that is from Michael Kors or from Topshop and Zara. 

Made-to-Measure (MTM): 

Tailored to your measurements
A tailor would take a regular size garment, for example a size 6 dress and alter the garment to more correctly fit your measurements. MTM uses existing patterns and make modifications to them. MTM is usually referenced in regards to men's tailored suits and suit-shirts.


Custom-Made with Limitless Choices Just for you
A new pattern is made entirely based on your measurements, fabric choices, styles, etc. More than just your typical measurements are needed. The word Bespoke  was traditionally reserved for high-end mens' tailoring on Savile Row, Central London. But as it looks like it is now used for designers like Michael Kors, TopShop, Stella McCartney, where they are not Haute Couture, but as close as you can get for custom designs. Bespoke does not refer to how the garment is sewn together, only that it is made for a specific person and their desired outcome. 

Haute Couture:

Custom-Made, Hand Sewn from start to finish
Haute Couture is "High-End Dressmaking". It is custom made clothing, high-end fabrics and fashion, and most importantly entirely hand sewn from start to finish. Haute Couture was established in Paris, is protected by Parisian law, and is regulated by Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The Chambre Syndicale has been around since 1868. 
To be a member you must;
       (1) Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings,
       (2) Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time,
       (3)  Must have twenty, full-time technical people in at least one workshop (atelier), and 
       (4) Every season, present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public, both day and     evening garments, in January and July of each year. (source)
Very few are able to legally and rightfully advertise themselves at Haute Couture, such as Christian Dior, Givenchy and Chanel.