American Craftsmen in Britain: Raashid Hooks

Shinola and Jocks&Nerds came together to create a unique project exploring the importance of craft in the 21st century and how it can help build and shape communities both locally and globally. We met up with five Americans, all now living in the UK, to see what makes them tick and why they like to get their hands dirty.

Raashid Hooks, tailor, The Hooks Company, London

Where are you from?
New York by way of Chicago.

How did you end up working as a tailor?
I used to sell suits; I developed a real love and admiration for them so it seemed like a natural progression.

What makes your job special to you?
I really love the close interaction with people. Getting to know clients and their families is a great part of the business.

Is there a community aspect to your profession?
I’m part of a growing community of young tailors opening their own ateliers. A fine, tailored suit doesn’t necessarily have to be made on Savile Row.

Why did you come to Britain to work?
It’s the home of tailoring.

How do the UK and USA differ?
Brits tend to be more reserved and measured and Americans more bold and direct.

Any similarities?
Both are very proud of their heritage. I’d also say they are assertive and ambitious.

Why do you think there is a resurgence in craft in the 21st century and why is that important?
Everything goes in cycles. Craft never really disappeared; people just stopped paying attention. More importantly, I think we are a bit tired of mass-produced goods; people want more value for their money.

As someone dedicated to working with traditional skills, why are they important in the 21st century? 
Traditional skills lend themselves to social interaction. Technology and big corporations wield a lot of influence today. As a result, day-to-day physical interaction has diminished. Craftsmanship serves to remind us that we are capable of creating beautiful things - inspiring and connecting people. It’s important that these traditions carry on.