Howard Cole always making the right cut
A glamorous look is what most of us desire - our style must be neat, our seams must be straight and our hems must be well tacked - because we must make a bold fashion statement. In these times, some of us go to a tailor. But, have you ever stopped to consider about the life of tailor? Well, Howard Cole (Junior), one of Jamaica's finest tailors, has opted to tell you about his world.
Nestled in the cool town called Bog Walk is Junior, an easy-going, hard-working and determined tailor. Growing up, he remembers living in several communities in the area, Shenton and Pineapple Lane, because "it was 11 of us, so Mommy would struggle and had to move from one spot to another just for comfort". But, he made it.
Of all the factors you could guess that pushed Cole towards becoming a tailor, you would never consider maths. Like many persons who learnt the skill, Junior was introduced to the profession as an apprentice, helping his senior with maths. "He was having a little struggle. Him never understand him maths, and maths have a big play in this world. So I would go by him and assist with the division 'cause in the work you have to divide. A dress or pants comes in four pieces. If the measurement around the hip is like 40, you would divide 40 by four and get four pieces of material, two for the front and two for the back," Junior told Flair.
Determined to support his family, Junior began to focus more on tailoring. "When my babymother told that she was pregnant, I had to do something and this was the nearest thing for me. So, I got a little shop."
Over the 30 years as a tailor, Junior has evolved into one of the best. As an esteemed tailor, Junior boasts of the level of pride he puts into his work. Owing to his customers, he now boasts that if he were to set a number to the pride and care he puts in his work, it would be nothing less than "100 per cent".
He told Flair, "My customers help me to be more focused and serious about work, my work." He noted that he aims to please his clients because good publicity expands the number of jobs he gets. But there's a time when the work gets too much. "Sometimes I have to hide from them," he said with a chuckle. This doesn't mean that he does not do his job, he said it means he has taken time to rest.
Although he loves his job as tailor, his family always comes first. Caring for his grandchildren is one of his favourite things to do, even if it means sacrificing a little work time. In addition to this, a little music and a game of football or cricket will always make his day.
It's easy to walk into a store and get a pair of pants or shirt that fits perfectly and saves you time from going to the tailor. If you look at the tags on these clothes, they are likely to read 'made in China' or 'made in USA', which causes some people to believe that the tailor industry in Jamaica is being stifled. So Junior has made a plea, the future of tailoring "depends on the abundance of us, we need more young people and we need to encourage it in schools".