FROM PORT OF SPAIN-TRINIDAD TO SAVILE ROW
“The privileged are reputed to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths but for me it was not a privilege but a talent; it was a needle and thimble in my fingers”.
Andrew Madan Ramroop was born on 10th November 1952 in a small village at the foothills of the Northern Range of mountains, called Maingot Village, in Tunapuna, Trinidad, West Indies.
While other boys were seeking further education at College, Andrew was asked by his teacher at school how he sees his future career, he excitedly replied that he would much rather become a tailor than go on to the prestigious Hillview college - the preferred choice of his parents.
At a time when academic attainment was paramount to the development of the peoples of Trinidad and Tobago, a desire to take up vocational training in tailoring was quite a bold decision for the then 13 year old.
There were no sewing influences in the family or indeed anywhere nearby to engage his passion for sewing.
Following much discussion amongst family members and amid parental protest Andrew was determined to seek an apprenticeship, learning the demanding and intricate skills required of a bespoke tailor. His apprenticeship was not a major challenge. He absorbed the skills with ease through dedication, commitment and determination and compares learning tailoring as a young boy to that of ‘teaching a new language to a child – it comes easily’.
Having heard that the finest tailors in the world can be found in Savile Row, Andrew’s dream was further stimulated. At aged 17 he boarded the luxury liner Northern Star and sailed for England. Nine days later he arrived in Southampton not knowing anyone or where he was heading. At this stage it should be noted that the furthest Andrew had traveled were the few miles from his home village to Port of Spain as an apprentice tailor.
Andrew’s skills immediately became apparent when Huntsman & Sons, the once renowned firm of Savile Row tailors engaged him.
As part of his personal development Andrew studied for ‘O’ levels in English literature, English language, Mathematics and French. In 1972 the youthful Andrew Ramroop sought formal qualification in tailoring and after giving serious consideration to The Tailor & Cutter Academy he opted for the more comprehensive course at the London College of Fashion (LCOF), completing the three-year course in just two years gaining a Distinction.
Andrew was seconded to Mr. Maurice Sedwell as an assistant cutter in 1974.
In both 1976 and 1977 Andrew’s Hand Craft tailoring skills resulted in him becoming a finalist in the Federation of Merchant Tailors National Competition in the category of Gentlemen’s lounge suits, competing against long established tailors throughout the United Kingdom.
Copyright of this article belong to Andrew M. Ramroop and must not be reproduced without the written permission of the writer.