April 21, 2024
Close this search box.

Disrupting Formal Tradition with Savile Row Tailor and Fashion Designer Jo Baker Waters

Disrupting Formal Tradition with Savile Row Tailor and Fashion Designer Jo Baker Waters
Sourced photo

Jo Baker Waters is a remarkable woman who has been pioneering the style of gender-neutral clothing for decades and pushing the boundaries of fluidity in menswear and womenswear.  A self-professed artist at heart who defied the odds to disrupt tradition and take on the illustrious Savile Row with progressive innovations in style and cut; claims she hand sculpts in cloth to create a unique style identity. 

Originally growing up in working-class Britain, Jo had a passion for the arts, and she knew it would be difficult, as the artists of that time in England had very little financial support. Despite her limited funds and lack of connections, she pursued with hard work and determination and made a name for herself in the highly competitive fashion industry.

After being turned down by multiple tailors on Savile Row at the beginning of her career, Jo finally landed an apprenticeship at the oldest Savile Row tailoring house, Gieves & Hawkes, in London, where she learned the intricacies of cutting and tailoring under the tutelage of Alexander McQueen’s mentor, an eccentric Spanish coat maker Andreas Gomez. This experience shaped her cutting style and taught her to appreciate the complexities and exquisite beauty of the craft.

During her ten-year residency on Savile Row, Jo crafted tailored clothes for high-profile individuals such as King Charles III, Prince William, and Prince Harry, and Hollywood celebrities including Jack Black, Russell Brand, and Jude Law. She also worked on the tailored coats and suits featured in the British film “44 Inch Chest,” tailoring clothes for Ray Winstone, Stephen Dillane, Ian McShane, and John Hurt. Her outstanding work earned her two prestigious Golden Shears awards in the Savile Row Bespoke Competition in 2005.

In 2013, Jo relocated to New York to work for Calvin Klein, designing for the CK menswear line. She remained at the brand for seven years, working through the years under the leadership of creative directors Kevin Carrigan, Raf Simons, Pieter Mulier, and Tim Coppens during the brand’s transition to visionary leadership.

As a fashion designer, Jo has collaborated with designers such as Anna Sui, Joe Casely-Hayford, Jonathan Saunders, Nicholas Oakwell Couture, and Richard Nicoll. Her work with Richard Nicoll included creating some of his most impressive showpieces at London Fashion Week, including tailored jackets with silk bows, mixing dress draping techniques with traditional tailoring, color block suits, LED dresses, and atelier custom looks for Florence Welch, Diane Kruger, and an artist collaboration with Linder Sterling. Jo remained close friends with Richard Nicoll until he died in 2016.

Disrupting Formal Tradition with Savile Row Tailor and Fashion Designer Jo Baker Waters
For “Pattern Cutting Techniques for Ladies’ Jackets” by Jo Baker Waters

In addition to her impressive career, Jo is the author of the groundbreaking book “Pattern Cutting Techniques for Ladies’ Tailored Jackets,” published by Cromwood Press in 2017. The monograph documents the design, cutting, and draping techniques required for tailored jackets, features previously unseen art jackets made for the project, and mathematical grid formulas used to create first drafts using anatomical measurements from the body.

Jo’s passion for cutting and tailoring is evident in her handmade individual clothing designs, made to order with a sustainable vision. She also shares her skills through master classes, training in-house apprentices, and collaborating with luxury designers. Her video master classes, available on a digital platform, document the design process, 3D draping, creative pattern cutting, complex mathematical formulas to draft pattern systems from measurements, and hand tailoring techniques. In addition, her work for the A R T I S A N.44  project teaches subscribers how to make their clothes, developing a unique, individual design identity not governed by trends and mass consumerism.

Jo’s narrative of triumph over adversity is an inspiration to everyone who has ever wanted to pursue a career in the arts. She proves that hard work, passion, and a relentless pursuit of excellence can take you places, regardless of your background or connections.

Share this article


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Miami Wire.