My friend George Dyer, who has died suddenly of a heart attack aged 67, was one of the UK’s most celebrated bespoke tailors. George set up his tiny tailoring shop, Threadneedle Man, on Walworth Road in south London in the mid-1990s. His talent for making exceptionally stylish suits, trousers and shirts helped him attract a loyal clientele that came to include many celebrities – Paul Weller, Martin Freeman, Ray Winstone, Suggs, Bob Hoskins and David Haye all wore suits George designed for them.
Over the years George became something of a local hero: he appeared as a Listed Londoner on Robert Elms’ BBC London radio show and was interviewed by many magazines and local papers. George welcomed everyone into his shop, stating “all my clients are celebrities” when asked who his latest famous customer was.
George was born in the small town of Chocolate Hole, in Saint Elizabeth parish, Jamaica. His father left for Britain while he was a baby and his mother followed a year later, George being raised by the extended family. Aged four he was sent for and arrived in London in 1959 to live with his parents in Peckham, south London.
George’s favourite memory of his school days involved Johnny Nash and Bob Marley playing a free lunchtime concert at Peckham Manor school in March 1972. George then enjoyed kicking a football around with Marley. George shared his memory of this day in the 2020 BBC documentary When Bob Marley Came to Britain.
On leaving school, George worked for Tesco and was then apprenticed as a tailor for Dombey & Sons, a chain of men’s outfitters. He worked in their Fleet Street outlet before being sent to Brixton and then Peckham. While aware that there was less and less work for bespoke tailors, George, confident in his skills as a cutter, determined to set up shop. He opened Threadneedle Man and, for the first three years, struggled to establish himself, taking on any kind of work.
Once word got about that George knew how to make a classic “mod” suit, business began to boom and he was feted by many – in 2012 the painter Ed Gray created a large canvas of George at work alongside the writer Mark Baxter, his close friend.
George possessed a wise, kind disposition and it was a pleasure to chat with him about all manner of subjects. He was a self-confessed workaholic who loved his trade and stated that he would continue making clothes as long as he could – and so he did.
He is survived by his wife, Colline, daughter, Deniece, granddaughter, Isla, and three sisters, Shirley, Jeannette and Sherene.