A young Cavan tailor has reached the finals of a prestigious UK competition widely considered the Oscars of Savile Row.
Terry Brady from Mountain Lodge is but a thread’s width away from winning the coveted Golden Shears award, bestowed by the Merchant Taylors' Company.
He will now vie, not only for a chance at lifting the overall scissor trophy, but for a slice of a prize fund totalling £7,500. The winner will be announced following a catwalk show of entrants’ work inside the Merchant Taylors' Hall in the City of London in March.
Terry's piece is a duplicate of the uniform Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson was wearing when fatally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
It is one of just 25 selected for showcase at the star-studded event that attracts some of the most eminent names in the suit business.
“I'm over the moon, delighted, yeah,” says Terry who works at Cavan Town's DT One, having started off doing work experience with the local menswear specialist with David Molloy and the late Tommy Connolly when still a Transition Year student at St Patrick's College, Cavan.
“Nobody was in one of the days, and Tommy who was in told me to take up a pair of jeans quick. I'd never done it before, but it turned out fine, so I kept doing it," recalls Terry who paid tribute to the faith shown in him by David and Tommy.
To further himself in the craft, Terry enlisted the exemplary guidance of renowned Savile Row master tailor, Rory Duffy. The Monaghan native is himself a past Golden Shears competition winner (2009). Rory now runs the Handcraft Tailor Academy in his hometown, to which Terry has been a dedicated attendee for the past 18 months, while also apprenticing to Chris Suitor of Belfast-based Suitor Bros. Both men will travel in support of Terry to the gala awards ceremony.
Incredibly, while Terry has stitched each and every seam of Admiral Nelson's blue wool cloth uniform, from its stand-up collar to button-back lapels and gold trim, he has never seen it in real life, as it stands as a centrepiece in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich. All Terry's detailed needlework has therefore been based off images and information extracted from the internet or books. He had planned to visit the museum to see the suit on the very day he was due to submit his own replica work, but ran out of time.
“I was so far behind that I was sewing buttons on the tube the whole way there, and right up to the deadline. I was the last person to submit their project in the competition.”
Of the suit itself, Terry says: “It’s amazing. The coat itself has nine buttons either side, and then there's a cream double-breasted waistcoat, and cream britches, reaching just halfway down the calf. I just thought it would be cool, and in the back of my mind, I thought why not play to your audience a bit,” laughs Terry.
Although somewhat laidback, Terry is well aware what a win could do for his fledging career.
“After Rory won in 2009, that set him up for life. He was able to open a business. When I entered, I never thought of any of that but I suppose I just wanted to get to the final. Now that's happened I'm over the moon. So I've achieved everything I want, up to this point. It would be cool though, to win it!”