Made to order. A bespoke item fits your personal needs–from a suit tailored to your dimensions to a chest of drawers designed and planned to accommodate your particular jewellery, collection, underwear; it could be a T-shirt, a full dressing room, an extra long chair or specially made lower or higher than average work surfaces in a kitchen. Bespoke is when the whole thing is designed and made for you with full discussion, from measurement to final fitting. It’s a word that is sometimes used sloppily–usually to add kudos, for example describing when one part of a unit has been adapted for you, e.g. a standard chair with shortened seat, or a kitchen with one piece lower or higher: whilst still very accommodating this is not truly bespoke, it’s a personal alteration.
The difference between a bespoke item and a commission–which is also made to order–can be subtle, and hinges upon artistry, location and dimension.
A piece of art, special textile or furniture made to your ideas and even to your size is a commission. You choose within a theme, explain your general idea and specify to a degree, but you are working with an artist whom you have chosen for their particular style–something about their approach resonates with you. The outcome is not entirely within your control–and neither would you want it to be.
A sofa or kitchen, a ceiling or a door, a whole house, a suit or a hat is bespoke when you have chosen every detail,often as a one off item or idea. The relationship is one of trust based on long discussion, interaction, sketchesand sample of the work. Even if you can’t picture the outcome exactly, you will have chosen the concept and the detail with the help and guidance of the specialist–an architect, joiner, stonemason, tailor or hatter. You will have chosen them because you are confident of previous recommendation and results, knowing you want something special and that they will deliver it. On-going discussions and inspections of the progress are welcomed and changes and adaptations are part of the process – the bespoke item is for you and your specific use.
The craftsman’s expertise within the decision making process is of great importance, their experienced and technical knowledge of the potential and limitations of their materials, of how they can be worked and manipulated in order to get the best looking and most long lasting result, is crucial to the success of the project.
Careful and minutely detailed measurements will have been taken to ensure than the finished item fits the space and the form exactly.