Ronald Biddick is the RJB of Britomart’s long-standing menswear retailer and tailor, and the man you want to go to if you want a truly killer suit.
What do you do here? We sell clothing. And we make clothing: We do bespoke leather jackets, bags, belts, ties, shirts. We’re the only 100 percent New Zealand bespoke tailor. We travel to New York in July and we have the Dormeuil showroom and we meet our clients, like Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad [Ed’s note: heart eyes!!]. He wears my suits, shirts and ties. We’ve had wonderful clients. I did Solo Mio’s suits for their last album. I did Pene’s suit for his wedding. One of the things we really specialise in is fabric and fit. So working our what the best cloth for a person is. And we have the best range of luxury fabrics here.
How did you get into it? Just a love of clothing. I became a buyer at Farmers years ago and a few other places. Then I went to London, where I used to run an Ermenegildo Zegna in New Bond Street in London and then came back and set this up.
What do you enjoy about working here? My speciality is working out what the client wants, putting all the information together to go to the pattern-cutter and to go to the tailors. I do the fittings, pinning and taking photos and I’m accurately working out what balance is perfect and then it goes back to the tailors they adjust, comes back, make sure it’s absolutely perfect, go back, finish. That way you get the best garment that lasts. If you look after a good suit properly it should last a long time.
How do you get to Britomart? The Pine Harbour ferry to Princess Wharf. We live in Whitford. I’ve been catching the ferry for 14 years. Best way to come to work. You feel so relaxed and inspired because it’s such a magnificent harbour. It’s underused. The council need to get their act together and start building more piers and more boats and use the harbour better. It would cut the traffic down. Our boat is so full every day now. This morning at 8 o’clock, nine people got left behind. Yesterday, six people got left behind.
What would you do? For example, I have a client who came up with a brilliant idea to build a carpark underneath the park in Mission Bay where all the locals could park and get on a boat, be in town in five minutes. It’s the most relaxing way to travel. The trains will get better. Out east where we are, there are no trains. They’ve built 43,000 houses in Flatbush and no railway. Our problem is that we’re still such a young country. Auckland is a magnificent city. They should get rid of the containers in the port, move the port to somewhere else and use that area for parks, luxury housing and a proper arena. Enhance the tourism.
Where’s your favourite place to dine around here? Amano. I go there every month.
I go there almost every week… Me too. I just didn’t want to admit that!
Photo and interview by Florence Noble