Learn the Basics

Bespoke – What exactly is it?

What does bespoke mean?

One of the things that we at Contrado pride ourselves on, is that we make bespoke products. But what does bespoke actually mean? Over time it has become to mean something very different than it was originally intended to. So it’s pretty unsurprising that people aren’t necessarily able to provide a definition of it when asked.

We live by the philosophy that you can’t claim to be something unless you know what it means, and today we have decided to share that knowledge with you, as you’re the ones that it impacts the most.



bespoke apples

The Origin of Bespoke

Bespoke comes from the term bespeak. Bespeak is a verb which literally means to speak for something. Which isn’t really how we recognise the word. Over time, bespoke has come to be used commonly as an adjective. This wasn’t an overnight thing and happened over the course of multiple changes. Continuing as a verb, bespoke transitioned to mean ‘to discuss’. This then came to be an adjective that would describe something that had been discussed in advance. This advancement in the word’s meaning is how the term bespoke came to be associated with tailor-made clothing and accessories. The customer would discuss – in advance – their specifications for the garment, and the tailor would create it, complying with those needs. The word bespoke became used generally in reference to men’s suits, which were tailor-made, or made to order.

Modern Usage

By 2008 the term bespoke was often used to describe database and computer applications, as well as in reference to suits, shoes and other garments. Becoming used more and more frequently, the word became recognisable to many and the Oxford Dictionaries website currently describes the word as meaning “made for a particular customer or user” and “making and selling bespoke goods, especially clothing”.



bespoke stand out from the crowd

Stand out From The Crowd

Here at Contrado, all of our designs are bespoke. We have an in-house designer who creates each garment, chooses the fabric, the style, the cut and all of the little details. This means that no other company anywhere uses the same pattern as we do. When you order from us, you will see that our sizes are available in XXS to 4XL (with some items having an even broader size range). We give approximates of the UK dress sizes for each of these, however, to ensure a perfect fit we would advise using our size chart and measuring yourself.

Custom vs Bespoke

Custom means made or done to order. Bespoke means made by hand. These phrases have become interchangeable over time and it is generally understood that they both imply a made to order product or garment. Here at Contrado, we are proud to say that we hand make everything to order, meaning that everything you order from us is both bespoke and custom.

Bespoke with Contrado

Here at Contrado, we are proud to call our items bespoke. In the sense that everything is made to order, as well as in the sense that everything is handmade. Our printing technicians print your designs onto the fabric that is required for your garment, or that you have chosen to have printed. Skilled craftsmen then cut the material to the correct shape and size – by hand – and then our artisan seamstresses stitch everything together. Of course this is done on a sewing machine, but it is not done by a machine. It is stitched by a person, ensuring that all of your made to order, custom, made to measure, bespoke items are handmade.



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