Dublin tailor-to-the-stars Louis Copeland brings his styling tips to Belfast
Dublin tailor Louis Copeland has dressed politicians, presidents, singers, fighters, actors, musicians and sportsmen from Ireland and further afield, and he's coming north. He tells Joanne Sweeney why there's nothing like a sharp dressed man
IRISH suit maker the stars Louis Copeland is making his first foray north of the border when he brings his bespoke service to Belfast next week.
The Dublin tailor, who has dressed former US presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, dapper actor Pierce Brosnan and former Ireland rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll – for his wedding to actress Amy Huberman – is hoping that his sartorial elegance will be a hit with northern men.
To cut to the chase, he's offering two made-to-measure suits at the 'discounted price' of £1,000; discerning men of fashion and taste will be treated to an array of styles, cuts and cloths when the Copeland roadshow comes to town. And in a nod to the 1980s when business people dressed for success and opted for luxurious living, naturally the Travelling Tailor event will be held at a five-star hotel, the Merchant, on Monday and Tuesday, May 29-30.
So what has prompted the third-generation tailor, who has six retail shops, in Dublin and Galway, to travel north?
"We do have a lot of customers up in the north shopping with us, but you know the old saying, 'If Mohammed can't come to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed'. It's a way of saving our customers a trip down," he explains.
"We recently took the Travelling Tailor to Cork and it went really well so we are hoping to be up in Belfast now every six months or so."
The family business, which traces its heritage heritage to Lithuanian tailor Hyman Coplan who arrived in Ireland in the early 1900s, also counts Stan Laurel (on a visit to Ireland in 1953), Daniel Day-Lewis, Dan Aykroyd, Michael Caine, Bono, Cliff Richard, Daniel O’Donnell, The Fun Loving Criminals, Mathew McConaughey and Tom Hardy among its long list of big-name customers.
Lately Copeland has been one of those responsible for dressing UFC cage-fighting champion – and noted sharp dresser – Conor McGregor.
"He's inspired a lot of young men who probably wouldn't have been inclined to wear suits," he tells me. "We worked with him at the very start and got a lot of PR from the fact that we dressed him."
The sixty-seven-year-old says the word 'retirement' is not allowed in his vocabulary. When it comes to his own suits, Copeland describes himself as a "classic dresser" with a liking for "a fashion kind of fit, with narrow trousers and a waisted jacket".
He reckons one of the best dressed men in Ireland is television broadcaster Mark Cagney, of TV3's Ireland AM.
"He loves his cloth and he has more shoes than Imelda Marcos. I always think he looks well," the tailor says.
In terms of Northern celebrities, he rates James Nesbitt as quite the nifty dresser, someone Ulster men should take note of, sartorially speaking.
"I was watching TV the other night and I thought that Jimmy looked great as well," he says. "Irish men have definitely improved their style over the years, no doubt due to the influence of television and magazines. They take a lot inspiration from the Italians and the French – and the Italian way of dressing would be my personal inspiration."
However, he cautions Irish men about styling themselves too much like the Italians.
"Irish people know that they don't have the Italian colouring, so it's important that Irish men dress to their skin tone as bright colours don't necessarily suit Irish people unless they have a tan. Men should chose clothes from mid blue to dark blue," he advises.
The father of three adult children – one of his sons works with him in the business – and a grandfather of four, Louis Copeland senior intends to be at the helm of his business for quite a few years yet.
"My daily regime is to work out from 6.15am to 7am and then head to work. It's that important to me every day – to miss it would be like missing my breakfast," he says.
"My father and grandfather were in the business. My son Louis is now, and I have a grandson whose name is Louis, so hopefully the name and the business will go on."
:: To book a 45-minute appointment with Louis Copeland and his team in the Merchant Hotel, visit www.louis-copeland-events.appointlet.com