If you live in the Greater Toronto Area then chances are your sofa, love seats or beds were made by my father over the past 40 years. Working in the world of luxury fashion I admire the time and skill that it takes to create beautiful merchandise. I deciced to interview my father to honor his legacy and his contribution to fashion and upholstery.
Natalie: Daddio, I always receive complements about my vast knowledge of textiles I have you and Pauline to thank.
Upholstery King: That’s great I made a lot of custom chesterfields in my life.
Natalie: How old were you when you became a tailor and what inspired you to design?
Upholstery King: Oh my goodness, when I became a tailor? I started at the age of 16. Nat, I just went to school it was something that I needed to do.
Natalie: Who taught you how to sew?
Upholstery King: I don’t remember my teachers name it was several years ago in Jamaica at a tailor school.
Natalie: Did you know that you would have a lifelong career working with fabric?
Upholstery King: No, no one thinks that way! The professionals say that careers change every 10 yrs. I couldn’t predict that I would make a career out of this.
Natalie: Why did you decide to leave tailoring and enter the world of upholstery?
Upholstery King: The Market changed and became mass produced. Factory’s took away our trade. When the market changes you have to adapt to change or you get left behind.
Natalie: How many years have you been in this industry?
Upholstery King: For over 53 years
Natalie: As young children we would have to go with you to showrooms and fabric stores that were closed to the public. I didn’t realize then what a privilege that was. Touching textiles, piping, learning about different needles to use for leather etc.
Upholstery King: I didn’t realize that you guys would learn from that! I wanted you to become something else and not a tailor I didn’t realize that you guys were watching me!
Natalie: Your very business smart and you know your worth. What’s your recipe for negotiating your price?
Upholstery King: Know the cost of what the materials are going for. Here’s an example, if the material is $20 per yard vs $5 you need to charge accordingly. It is very important to charge based on the fabric that you use. If the person doesn’t like it then bye, bye they can work with someone else I am too experienced and my time is valuable!
Natalie: Your talent speaks for itself and vendors always seek your talent for collaborations. How does it feel?
Upholstery King: I feel ok about it!
Natalie: What advice would you give young designers?
Upholstery King: Stay the course if you set your mind to something stay the course it’s a tough job but if you have the mind for it then why not!
Natalie: Dad that’s great you are going to help a lot of people with this I cannot wait to share! Congratulaions on your retirement
Upholstery King: Well that’s great I hope that you have my check!
*Photo credit Dani Blue
**Special thank you to Super K, BenjiRich, Miss Bev, Pauline and Disco
***Ken thanks for not spazzing out when I wore your clothes I was the coolest Tomboy in school because of you! I learned so much in menswear and your influence did not go unnoticed. Miss Bev thank you for teaching me everything that I know about luxury!