The Militant Guild of Rural Tailors
Somewhere between fact and folklore lies the tale of a secret society of tailors. The Militant Guild of Rural Tailors first came about in the early 2000s in the form of a “research depository” where various people debated if this history was real. Although the archive no longer exists, it made an impact on those who came across it and influenced many contemporary menswear designers and artists. Today the “Lost History of the Militant Guild of Rural Tailors” exists on menswhere.org, where a number of those who were influenced by the original depository have recounted what was found. Each contributor added their pieces of the story which together formed the history of this brotherhood and in turn built a brotherhood in the spirit of the guild today.
Liam Maher, a friend of MiND who discovered the guild while living in Amsterdam and now lives and works in Denmark, is the one who, with the help of Marc Haers, brought this lost history out of the dark again. He shared with us the paradox of the rural tailors and explained that when people think of tailors they think of wealth and luxury which is on the other end of the spectrum from anything rural. The existence of this secret society is thought to have begun around the same time as the Luddites but rather than fight industrialism and what that consequently meant for their trade, the Militant Guild of Rural Tailors stayed underground and rebelled in a different way. In that time, rural tailors were making clothing for the working men and in turn creating an identity of what is it to be a man that is portrayed by his clothes.
“Menswhere is about style; about the fashion industry, about the codes and signifiers of masculine identity, about image and celebrity... Menswhere is about what it really means to represent oneself as man.”
For Liam, menswhere and the lost history of the Militant Guild of Rural Tailors, is something that has lived within him before he knew what it was. This project to share this lost history has brought him together with a slew of unique men and even some women who share the same values and approach to designing menswear. Whether fact or fiction in the past, this brotherhood is alive and well today through the spirit of the guild. A brotherhood built on ethics and standards of the past that continues to grow.
Brotherhood may even be too vague for what this is. Diguisery, the proper term for multiple tailors, is a much better representation of what the guild was and what exists now between those who have taken part in telling the story and continuing to apply the ethics and standards of the past in modern times. Acting as sounding boards to each other, meetings between tailors within the disguisery have influence on the style and design and the representation of man today.
This MENSWHERE project brought to life by Liam Maher and Marc Haers is an incredible way of telling the story of “The Lost History of the Militant Guild of Rural Tailors”. Whether or not you believe in its existence in the past, there is no denying that through retelling the story and history, the creators of this project have built a modern guild mirrored from that of the past. We at MiND believe the history of the guild is still being written and will continue through the modern guild. We are excited to see where MENSWHERE goes and what it will inspire.
You can find the MENSWHERE project at menswhere.org
And on instagram @menswheremgrt