One of our top Facebook fans recently asked me why we use the word "bespoke" so much in our posts. What does it really mean?
Another good friend called us out for using the word as well, saying "bespoke" sounds too old-fashioned and pretentious.
The word is old, having been used since the late 1500s. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "to speak for" or "to arrange for" items and services.
The word has become especially prominent among tailors.
If you've walked through a department store, you've likely even heard of the two very distinct types of suits: Made-to-measure, and bespoke.
A made-to-measure suit is a pre-existing suit which is simply bought off the rack, and adjusted to fit the buyer.
A bespoke suit is one which is made specially for the client. This process begins with selecting the fabric itself, at which point the fabric would be "spoken for." Over time bespoke fabrics became associated with finely tailored custom suits, and then with custom creations in general.
One of the lines you'll hear us say often in interviews and ads is that every piece starts with a conversation. Our creation process doesn't begin when I sit down at the computer and push buttons - it begins when you start describing what you've dreamed up, and sharing your stories with us.
At J. Fox Custom, we don't show you a catalog of ready-made pieces we can alter to fit: We craft unique pieces specifically for you. Your words begin the process, and your words shape the product. It is truly bespoke.
I've mentioned before how many jewelers abuse the word "custom", using it to refer to anything that can be customized or special ordered, rather than true one-of-a-kind creations.
There are no laws governing how these words are to be used, so often customers don't even fully understand what it is they're getting.
That's why I like the word bespoke. It conveys that added element of agency. We create what you describe, when you ask us to do so. You're not buying someone else's ideas, you're asking us to help bring yours to life.