John Handel Lawson Cutler
John is the fourth generation of his family to take up the tailor’s shears. He joined J. H. Cutler, the family business, straight from school in 1965 at 16 years of age. Even before that date he had shown a keen interest in tailoring. During his holidays from Sydney Grammar, he would visit the shop in Bligh Street to learn about tailoring. He even made the occasional waistcoat for members of staff at the school.
At 18 John followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father before him, and travelled to London, the home of bespoke tailoring. Whilst working at one of the world’s foremost woollen houses Dormeuil Freres, he got to know the tailors in Savile Row. He also attended the renowned Tailor and Cutter Academy in Gerrard Street, studying ‘Cutting Gentlemen’s Tailormade Garments’, before graduating in March 1969 with “A Diploma of Merit of the First Class”.
A list of alumni of the Academy reads like a who’s who of top end tailoring. Graduates have included Tommy Nutter, the flamboyant Savile Row tailor who was popular with so many stars in the 1960s and 70s, Michael Skinner Chairman of Dege & Skinner, Angus Cundley of Henry Poole & Co and John Mengers, who for many years was Chairman of DAKS Simpson.
John returned to work with his father Bruce in the family business before taking over the cutting in 1972 and as Managing Director in 1976.To this day John remains as designer, cutter, and Business Principal with nearly 50years of experience in high end bespoke tailoring.
John remarks that, “ I ventured into this rare trade with passion, knowing there would always be a buoyant demand at the top end of the market. There will always be those who insist on the very best.”
More than 50 years on that demand remains as robust as ever, and John continues to maintain the exacting standards and quality that have made J. H. Cutler synonymous with exclusive bespoke clothing in Australia and across the world.
Sam joined J. H. Cutler at the beginning of 2010 having studied fashion design at the TAFE Sydney Institute in Ultimo. Since that time John has taught him much about the art of bespoke tailoring and shirt making. Today Sam manages J. H. Cutler’s growing bespoke shirt business and has recently launched ‘CANVAS by J. H. Cutler’, which offers a range of semi-bespoke men’s clothing that complements J. H. Cutler’s core bespoke offering.