Mobile tailor William Irwin is a cut above the rest

By Tom Gillespie

WILLIAM Irwin is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, William, as a travelling mobile tailor.

His grandfather tailored in Ayle, and in 1927 opened a shop in Castlebar, William Irwin and Sons Ltd., which closed about 12 years ago.

“Before that he travelled the county - just as I am doing now,” William, who trades as Irwin Clothing, said. “I'm a travelling tailor so this means I travel to the customer. People don’t need to come to town.

“I can even measure a person through a window. I get them to take up a tabloid newspaper, put it beside them, and I take a photograph. Then I will have a good idea as to the required size.”

He continued: “Made-to-measure is known to be expensive and a luxury. This is not true. Whatever the price a suit is in a shop that same suit in that cloth is 30 per cent more in a made-to-measure.

“But more importantly there are people out there who will not attend events like a dinner or wedding because there is a lack of their size in the shop or online. So why not solve this problem with Irwin Clothing.”

William also caters for women’s formal wear including blazers, skirts and trousers.

He continued: “Gentlemen, how often have you been told you need a new piece of clothing? The one you have is a bit shabby, out of date and you need a new one, be it a suit, jacket, blazer, trousers, sweater or winter coat. I can make this easy by travelling to your place.”

William also carries his unique wedding suit range.

Again, he emphasised: “I can size people by looking at them. I understand where they get things and why they get things. There are three fittings in suits. Fittings means in length and widths and vary from brand to brand. Some people get into garments that they think they look well in because their peers are wearing it.

“No person should get into something that is uncomfortable. If any person doesn’t like a suit because they were uncomfortable they are wearing the wrong size.

“It is embarrassing and most guys don’t want to deal with it. I personally can deal with it because I know how people look. Young people get into styles because it’s the fashion. Fashionable doesn’t always mean comfortable.

“If you want to be looking very well, one part of looking well is that you get confidence in what you do. You look better. You deal with life better. You don’t get depressed.

“There are a lot of people out there that don’t want to go to weddings. They don’t want to dress up because they feel uncomfortable. More importantly, they cannot find what is comfortable.

“With the economic situation, peripheral sizes, small and big, are difficult to get in a selection you want. You can’t express yourself in colours you don’t like.”

RTÉ newsreader Charles Mitchel, pictured with William's grandmother, Mary Irwin, at a William Irwin fashion show in the Travellers Friend Hotel, Castlebar, many years ago.

Castlebar-based William said to get a suit made would take about a month. “But,” he added, “I do other things as well. I can get something that will fit you nearly and I can adjust it to make it fit you because not everyone wants a made-to-measure item. I can adjust things. I often get things made-to-measure and I then bring them home and adjust them again.

“I have dressed a man with a 17-inch inside leg, and also a man with a 39-inch inside leg. The 17-inch was a 40-inch waist.”

Traveling tailor William Irwin can be contacted on (085) 8491200 and will be available to travel throughout Connaught after the Covid lockdown.