In July of 2017, when Conor McGregor showed up to pro-mote his fight with Floyd May weather wearing a suit whose pinstripes were in actuality repetitions of the phrase fuck you in white letters, the world hailed it as the sartorial equivalent of mixed martial arts. In fact, McGregor’s move was nothing new; he was, as usual, just doing it more violently than anyone else. But such forays into “extreme bespoke,” where custom fabrics are merely the starting point for creating garments that are literally one of a kind, are rarely seen at press conferences.
Duncan Quinn, the British-born, New York–based lawyer turned-designer whose signature style was once described as “Savile Row meets rock ’n’ roll,” has made similar suits for well-heeled clients, though most of the messages woven into them “were not dreamt up by an ex-plumber’s apprentice who climbed to riches on the shoulders of defeated fellow pugilists,” he notes. One recent commission contained the more refined moniker “warlord.” McGregor’s suits, made by California’s tailor-to-the-stars David August for a reported $4,000 to $10,000 apiece, were relatively inexpensive in a world where most truly bespoke creations begin at a minimum of at least twice the higher end of that range and spike sharply from there.
Of course, the very concept of “bespoke” has all but lost its meaning these days as the term gets slappe