Made to measure: Korbinian Ludwig Heß

Korbinian Ludwig Heß, Fotografie © Maria Dolecek

The art of tailoring occupies a special position in the German Craft Council. The tailor takes individualisation to the extreme and represents everything that runs counter to the current trend towards mechanisation and depersonalisation. Custom tailors still work very classically, they cannot multiply their business model, because they themselves are almost 100% involved in their work and cannot distribute it on workbenches — and last but not least they advise their customers personally. Often not only once, but over a longer consulting process. It goes without saying that custom-made shirts, suits or shoes have to be more expensive.

A threatened and yet stable niche

Custom tailors take measurements from the customer, draw the cut and then manufacture the respective garment. Depending on customer requirements, they use a variety of fabrics (cotton, silk, wool, etc.). Some tailors also produce series production (ready-made garments). They also repair damaged garments and make changes.

Training in Germany lasts three years and takes place in the dual training system at vocational schools and training companies. School-based training is also available as an alternative. In training, a distinction is made between the disciplines of ladies’ tailor and men’s tailor. Today there are two examination levels, the journeyman’s examination and the master craftsman’s examination. With the latter one acquires the right to train apprentices.

Korbinian Ludwig Heß, Foto © Martin Smolka

In old West Berlin

In the west of Berlin, one of the currently most sought-after tailors works: Korbinian Ludwig Heß.

Custom-made shoes by Korbinian Ludwig Heß translate the personality of their wearer into a centuries-old craft. Built to fit the feet, stature and character of the wearer, the shoes follow Heß’ claim to give an outer but above all an inner posture. Foot measurements and their condition, body size, gait, up to character traits, physiognomy and purpose for which the shoe is to be worn, all circumstances give information which criteria the custom shoe must fulfil, favour the choice of the leather used as well as the shape of the finished shoe. A pair of made-to-measure shoes from the Korbinian Ludwig Heß workshop in Berlin embody the highest standards of individuality and exclusivity and accompany you throughout your life.

Heß learnt his trade at the former k. u. k. Court shoemaker Rudolf Scheer & Sons in Vienna. A handcrafting-foundation, followed by stays with shoemakers in London, Freiburg and Munich, in order to formulate and refine his own style. This is characterised by a simple elegance and connection to minimalism. The texture and high quality of the leather used are emphasised. The quality of the craftsmanship and the workmanship are essential: a renunciation of ornamentation, which forces a structural integrity of the shoe.