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Postby dfr9xcdy66 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:20 pm

“I never used to communicate with the home. I was outside there from country to country, but my heart was always set for home.”In his own words, he was conceived on a pressing table, delivered on a cutting table and learnt to stand by holding on to a sewing machine.That’s Hermon Bholaisingh, one of the last of a dying breed of pioneers of the local tailoring scene.In these days of readymade and brand name clothes, it’s no wonder that craftsmen like Bholaisingh are becoming extinct.His establishment, despite growing significantly over the years, is one of only two such businesses remaining on Lombard Street,Jose Altuve Astros Jersey, which was once considered the tailors’ capital of Guyana.Tailor Hermon BholaisinghBut the resolve to maintain a business started by his late parents, was born of the fact that tailoring was in his genes (his father a tailor and his mother a seamstress).He traced it way back to his great grandparents, who came to this country from India in 1869 as indentured labourers, with the skill.But although, he admitted, that tailoring was not his first choice as a career, it was inevitable that Hermon, the second of five children, would continue the tradition of the Bholaisingh’s, which was started in the late 1950s.Hermon’s is the typical country-boy-come-to-town- and-made-it story.He was born at Alness, Corentyne to Harold Bholaisingh and Julia nee Drepaul.Wellington Park Scot’s School provided the early education for Hermon.“Then I went to Chandisingh in the Corentyne. Then I came to Georgetown and I went to Indian Education Trust College, then I went to the College of Arts and Science,” Bholaisingh said.Hermon’s family was one of the big landowners on the Corentyne and life there consisted of milking cows, riding donkey carts, making coconut oil and rice farming.But like most farming parents in those days, Hermon’s parents wanted their children to pursue civil service careers, and not be confined to the daily grind of the plantation.As a matter of fact, he came from a family of academics-one of his mother’s brothers was once the ombudsman, while another was a popular doctor.For Hermon, his parents wanted him to pursue a career in medicine, a path that has been followed by his two sisters, one a doctor in the United Kingdom and the other a nurse in Canada.His brother, however, had a little more of the tailoring genes in him and he pursued a career as a designer in the United States.But it was Hermon who really threw himself into the business that his father and mother had pioneered to provide a decent life for their offspring.Back in the days: Hermon on his pedal machine.It was not like he cared much for tailoring in his early years. In fact that was far from his thoughts as he went on what he described as a journey around the world after leaving school although the circumstance that led to that was not one that he would readily recommend to others.He described that decision as a “long story” which he simplified for this particular interview.Rebellious…Stowaway“I was a bit rebellious as a young man and I travelled Guyana on motorcycles and then I joined a ship and started to go here there and everywhere, from country to country.”In fact he was a stowaway on a bauxite carrying ship, which he joined at Linden, and according to him, his parents gave him up as dead having not heard from him for between five to seven years.“I never used to communicate with the home. I was outside there from country to country,Steve Yzerman Red Wings Jersey, but my heart was always set for home. Being a young man and having the desire to explore, I stayed away for a while,” Hermon reflected.He was the only “coloured” person on the ship and his skill as a boy scout and at cooking played a great part in him remaining on the vessel.His travels took him through the entire Caribbean, North America and parts of Europe, which widened his horizons.The “long story” ended like the familiar Prodigal Son of the bible, with Hermon returning to Guyana and immediately reuniting with his father in his tailoring business.A cherished meeting with Prince Charles of England.“It’s a trade that’s in the family blood and like we didn’t had to learn it, but we knew all the weaknesses and strength of tailoring; the long cut, the short cut and the neatness. We were actually pronounced as one of the best tailors in this country- the Bholaisingh family,” he explained.Jagan’s tailorHe sewed for former President Bharrat Jagdeo while his father was the tailor of choice for the late President Cheddi Jagan.However, Hermon went back to school, a decision he said helped him to understand the business of successfully running the tailoring establishment.By that time he was in his early twenties. It was round this time that his mother died and a young Hermon went on to get married and start a family.Of course,Graham Zusi Jersey, tailoring was the vehicle to provide for his young family.“In the sixties, there were much family (tailoring) businesses around. There were tailors, yes, but people used to employ others,” Hermon said.But his family’s tailoring business was unique in that there was his father, mother, his brother and himself.They, however, still found it necessary to employ other persons who were interested in the trade.In those days, the business was located at the junction of Lombard and De Roy Streets before it was moved to its present location, also on Lombard Street.Eventually, Hermon developed his own clientele and the business was divided into two. Hermon took a part, his brother another part. His father continued to operate next door.“It was friendly competition, everybody had their own clients but we were all still family. If the work was too much for me I would send some over to my father or my brother…and the best came out of us.”A young Hermon with his father, Harold, the late patriarch of the family’s tailoring business.Hermon specialized in fat cap,Luke Glendening Red Wings Jersey, for those who are old enough to remember them.He then started to make windbreakers which were popular with the new fad of motorcycle riding in Guyana in the late sixties, early seventies.“Everybody was a motorcyclist – the boy with the lil ‘50’,” he explained. “And we introduced windbreakers, which were made from a material named ‘onion skin’.”Shortly after this period, Hermon migrated to the United States where he spent a lot of time “going and coming”.Of course, he did tailoring in the US since some of the clients he had grown to know through the local family business were over there and readily called on his services.“I had a list of names of people I know who were over there….but my family was over here and then I decided that America is not what I want,” he stated.So it was back home for Hermon where he could use his talent to help his own people.As a matter of fact, Hermon never left the local family business, since he had always maintained contact, sending materials back home.The Bholaisingh business began to specialize in sewing suits to add to the trousers and shirts that were the standard wear in Guyana then.Not surprisingly, today, Hermon still sews for himself almost every piece of garment he wears.The business also dealt with Indian and African garments.Of course, learning to sew Indian wear was made easy by the passing down of the skill that the old Bholaisingh tailors brought with them from India.Both male and female clothing were catered for.There was immense competition from other tailoring establishment on Lombard Street.“Lots of shops. You had Canadian Persaud, Paul, Bholaisingh and you had Mr. Lee. Lombard Street was tailoring. Anything you want in tailoring, it was Lombard Street, the best was always there, everybody was good in tailoring, that was no joke.”Every establishment had its own clients and the styles were varied.“They had drain pipe, bell bottom, fat pants. They had a pants name barrel baggy, it shape like a barrel and the bottom come off fine. I still have some of those trousers…pleated was always there and fold was a gentleman’s wear, if you build a suit, you make a fold pants, a cuff at the bottom,” he said.Of course,, in those days, the pedal machine was standard and according to Hermon, one had to be familiar with the sound of one’s machine to maintain good sewing techniques.“If you notice you getting a different ear sound, that mean that the thread fasten up, or a nut slack or the machine need some oiling,” he said.Challenges  Of course all tailors then had to endure the emergence of the shirt jack which replaced the shirt and tie and suits they had grown so much accustomed to sewing.According to Hermon, that is when tailoring started its slow death.It was the time of the readymade clothes and the few good tailors had started to migrate to other countries.“And there are not much tailors like me today, because people ain’t taking up the trade,” he said.He even encouraged his son to train some of the physically challenged persons.A few years ago, Hermon had embarked on a programme to train young prospects and many would have had the opportunity to learn from one of the best.“The majority of them are abroad. When they come to Guyana they always pay me a visit. Yes there are one, one around but there are not tailors in this country. You go to Linden, they ain’t got tailor, Bartica ain’t got tailor, Corentyne ain’t got tailors…tailoring has died,” Hermon declared.“The brain drain had started in those years, with everybody just getting to go away and the best of the quality of people in Guyana went abroad. They get employment because when I went up to America, I met Guyanese tailors who had they little shop and they were sewing for West Indians and people from the African countries.”Hermon strongly believes that many persons are still fond of tailor-made clothing.“There are, yes, I can tell you that. There are persons who don’t appreciate what is selling in the stores. After they buy one or two time they just discard it and come right back to the tailor.”Another factor that weighed heavily on the demise of tailoring, according to Hermon, was the “brand name” clothes.He was harsh in his description of these new types of clothing.“You could get garbage and you put on a name on it, people go for the name and then they realize that they’ve been caught up in the copyrights war. Take India and China for example; anything that America makes, China double producing it and put on a name and share it out to the world. Mass production in clothing, very, very cheap,” he explained.With this in mind, innovation was the way to go.“When you had the Amerindians coming from the interior, we were the first tailoring establishment to establish that link by making bulk work and put it in stock so when they come they just shop and the gone their way,” the tailor said.Even persons travelling by boat from Linden capitalized on the bulk service.WeddingsThat method of operation is still serving him well as today,Patric Hornqvist Penguins Jersey, he stocks suits and other garments in large quantities that one just has to choose which one fits.Many persons can attest to just walking into Hermon’s establishment and waking out with a suit in a few minutes for the last minute occasion.Entire wedding entourages have been outfitted by Hermon’s establishment in a timely manner.Members of the clergy and the judiciary still remain some of Hermon’s main clients and he boasts a clientele that includes some of the most prominent names in these two areas.His life was also strongly linked to religion, a trait inculcated by his grandparents. “You must know your God, you must say your prayers in the morning when you get up in the mornings and evenings. You must go to church…I actually grew up in the church. When they have harvest, I take the donkey cart and gone and fetch things.”To this day, Hermon is still closely associated with “churches”. He puts it modestly: “If a church need a help and I could afford it, I will support them with finance or suits. The pastoral clothing, I still sew them for churches.”He would build a fence for the church as well as participating in church feeding programmes.“Everything I do, I put God first. Even if I’m dying,, I will die with Him in my heart,” Hermon declared.He is strongly into charitable work these days wanting desperately to give to the less fortunate.Apart from running his business, Hermon spends a significant portion of his time checking the newspaper for persons who are success stories to send them congratulatory cards.Sympathy cards are also sent out to persons who are bereaved.Hermon does not know most of them but he considers what he is doing a hobby.It will take a book to chronicle the life of Hermon Bholaisingh and the contribution he has made to this country, but he insists that he is just one humble tailor who will do it all over again if he has the chance to.
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