Enter Thom Sweeney, Los Angeles’ Resident English Tailor to the Stars and Millionaires

LONDON — While Los Angeles may be best known for its laid-back menswear, there’s an underlying appetite for English tailoring made of rich wool or cotton with satin peak lapels, according to Thom Sweeney cofounders Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney. The Savile Row-trained tailors just opened a store on Melrose Place in the city.

Los Angeles is very dressed down and no one wears suits, which seems a bit crazy for us, but we feel there’s a huge opportunity for guys to actually dress up properly — and they’re craving to dress up,” Sweeney contended.

More from WWD

“The U.S. as a market for us has always been our second home after the U.K. and a sort of natural step,” Whiddett added.

Ever since the duo set up shop in London 15 years ago with a small clientele of 20 to 30 men, two or three Americans have always been among them.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14: (L-R) Luke Sweeney and Thom Whiddett attend Thom Sweeney's Los Angeles Opening Cocktail Party on March 14, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Thom Sweeney)
Luke Sweeney and Thom Whiddett

The first Thom Sweeney store opened on Weighhouse Street in 2009, followed by a second store on Bruton Place in 2014, then an opening in New York in 2017 and the introduction of The Thom Sweeney town house in 2020 on Old Burlington Street in London.

The brand’s inaugural Los Angeles space, designed by Billy Cotton, sits on a corner building off Melrose Place and imitates a gentlemen’s club for clients to sit, try on suits and sip whiskey from the built-in bar. The floor stocks Thom Sweeney’s ready-to-wear collections and offers its made-to-measure services by appointment only.

The private space, which features art and furniture from Leclaireur Gallery, means high paying clients or stylists can come in discreetly — the latter becoming a booming business.

“In turnover it’s definitely significant and it’s good to be here [in Los Angeles] dressing the right people. There’s a few members’ clubs opening here now and the thing with dressing is that it’s quite extreme — it’s either really casual or really special with a beautiful suit that pushes it a little bit further than the rest. Being in the middle doesn’t really cater to anyone,” Whiddett said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Michiel Huisman attends the London premiere of "Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child Of Fire" at BFI IMAX Waterloo on December 07, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Michiel Huisman in Thom Sweeney.

“In L.A. they’re prepared to invest in something a little bit more special because it’s so event driven,” Sweeney added. “We’re making some really interesting pieces on the bespoke side — there’s so much action here and tailoring definitely has a place.”

Thom Sweeney’s roster of celebrity clients for its suits include James Marsden, Jesse Williams, Ben Affleck, Rob Lowe, Robert Downey Jr. and Michiel Huisman.

Being an English brand has given the company an edge against other more runo-of-the-mill tailoring brands or luxury houses that only specialize in classic tailoring.

Beyond L.A., Whiddett and Sweeney are eyeing up a November opening for a third U.S. store, in Miami.

“It’s a sunnier extension of New York with the unstructured jackets and open neck shirts. Miami felt like a natural progression because we have a presence in New York. The market here is really vibrant and the economy is great,” Whiddett explained.

Sol's bar
Sol’s, a cocktail bar and lounge named after Whiddett’s late father-in-law, Sol Kerzner.

The business duo are bringing old school shopping values with them wherever they go, from the style of service to the furnishings. An added feature that’s being incorporated in every store is Sol’s, a cocktail bar and lounge named after Whiddett’s late father-in-law, Sol Kerzner.

The bar has an emotional attachment, which Whiddett and Sweeney hope to grow into something bigger in the coming years, the same way Ralph Lauren has done with The Polo Bar.

Also in the cards for the brand is expanding into Asia and the Middle East, along with further developments in Europe.

Best of WWD