Australian-born Kerry Goodrich brings a ray of Adelaide sunshine to the market town of Wokingham, having opened her bespoke tailoring shop on Bush Walk, overlooking the Town Hall on Broad Street.
Kerry was originally a Theatrical Arts and Costume student at Sydney’s world-renowned and extremely prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) which usually has an intake of just 4 costume students per year. Indeed actors Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving are alumni of the same centre of excellence. Post-graduation, Kerry worked in a tailors in Sydney, before developing a freelance career creating designs for friends and customers.
Her theatrical tailoring has extended worldwide, most recently for Madame Tussaud’s London, Blackpool, Tokyo and Australia museums. Kerry has also styled Hugo Weaving for the film Eucalyptus and also worked in tailoring departments for films such as Australia, Moulin Rouge, Mission Impossible, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Marie Antoinette. She has also created theatrical costumes for touring stage musicals such as We Will Rock You, Saturday Night Fever and The Full Monty in addition to providing tailoring for the Australian seasons 1 and 3 of celebrity dancing programme So You Think You Can Dance. To her credit, Kerry also has some internationally acclaimed opera singers from Opera Australia as clients, having provided tailoring services for their performances.
After a decade in business, Kerry relocated to the UK with her family in 2010. Initially brought about due to her husband’s work transferring to the UK, the plan was for Kerry to open up her own tailoring business in London. Her eyes lit up: “The chance came up to relocate to England and we jumped at the opportunity. One thing led to another and I ended up opening my business here instead of London.”
She adds: “I think my unique selling point is providing alternative tailoring – fashion with a twist. I also do standard tailoring too, but more original pieces are my thing. I have musicians who wear my work, and their pieces are quite distinct. One of my customers who is a local folk singer and wanted a period-style shirt and doublet. You just can’t get that sort of thing done at Savile Row and a standard dressmaker wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Her shop is also her workspace, with full-length curtained fitting area, comfortable seating area with a lovely grey velvet Chesterfield sofa, wide-set cutting benches and preparatory surfaces all in one room. Books upon books of swatches of fabrics and linings adorn shelves, rendering the customer spoilt for choice. Woollens, tweeds and twills in a variety of shades and weights are available, and the range of bespoke lining designs is astounding. “I believe in being transparent,” Kerry said. “When customers can actually see my workspace and my work, it gives them a sense of what I do and the work that goes into their pieces of tailoring.”
General clothing alterations also form part of Kerry’s service. Jackets can be reshaped, sleeves shortened or lengthened; trousers and skirts can also be shortened, lengthened, let in or out, be re-shaped and have zip replacements, in addition to a wider range of more complex alterations. “I get a lot of alteration work,” she said, “Having someone who understands tailoring doing the clothing alterations gives a much better result.”
This in-depth understanding of tailoring is exactly what Kerry brings to her customers. One said, on dropping off some alteration work for her to attend to: “The quality of her work is fantastic. I’ve always looked for somewhere local for my tailoring needs, plus I want her to still be in business for years to come – so I bring all my alteration work here.”
There’s no doubt that Kerry is passionate about her work, and the time she spends in the attention to detail illustrates her dedication. A customer arrived for his suit consultation and Kerry spent lots of time giving guidance and advice when discussing the customer’s wishes in terms of fabric suitability, weight, lining, cut, shape and all those other little extras such as venting, pleats, pockets and buttoning. “I can do whatever a customer wants,” Kerry smiles, “I take the time to talk with them about style and design and we work together to create something to meet their needs.”
Pictures: Lynda Bowyer