Chuks Ibe is catching up on a backlog of orders in the central London tailor’s shop where he works as an apprentice. Like many, now that national lockdowns imposed during the pandemic are being lifted, he is pondering what the future holds for him and the UK’s capital city.
For now, he and shop owner Paul Kitsaros, who emigrated from Cyprus in the 1960s, have their hands full assisting clients emerging from months of casualwear and tentatively heading back to the office. Yet in the longer term, if some form of working from home becomes the norm, demand for suits could dwindle.
“Everyone has changed and we have to see what the repercussions are,” says Ibe, capturing the prevailing uncertainty in the capital. “The suit hasn’t changed that much. But it might be time for it to develop.”
Something similar may be true of London itself as it emerges from more than a year of suspended animation and sets about doing what it has had to do often in its 2,000-year history: reinvent itself in times of turmoil.
Though often regarded elsewhere in the UK as privileged,…