Golf News for Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | Products

Q on the chest is colorful rite of passage for fashionable golfers

Reflect upon your ‘first’. The first day at school, first kiss, first girlfriend, perhaps your first car. All key defining moments on the illustrious path to manhood. Albeit some more smoothly than others, we have all encountered these life-changing experiences. Indeed, they have made us who we are.

Now do not be alarmed, rather, embrace the moment, but your ‘journey’ may not be complete. There is one finite, undisclosed ‘rite of passage’ - Q’aja Couture.

Like the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle, the Q’aja experience is ultimately the most accomplishing. It tailors and redefines the concept of ‘manhood’. If you haven’t yet had that Q’aja moment, then, as their maxim states, ‘Be Prepared for Change’.

Q’aja Couture is combination of the prodigious talents of Tony Q’aja and Jamie Henfrey. Between them, they have accumulated almost fifty years industry experience. Since their late teens, they have consistently worked together in one form or another. The ensuing result is a partnership as congenial and concordant as a double-stitched seam.

A commitment to quality fabrics and flamboyant designs coupled with individuality has augmented their prominence in bespoke tailoring. A myriad of clients from within the football and entertainment worlds have found that Q’aja effortlessly bestows that much sought after yet elusive kudos. These ‘Q’ converts are religiously devout, preaching ‘the word’ on their travels.

Formal and wider recognition was destined to follow, placing Tony and Jamie’s skills and expertise before a multinational audience. As a mark of honorary approval, Q’aja was approached to measure and supply suits to Puma for Team England at the Commonwealth Games 2002. Two years later they were the preferred choice as the bespoke partner to Ben Sherman for the procurement of formalwear to Team Great Britain for the Athens Olympic Games 2004. On each occasion, the unofficial gold medal award for best dressed squad would undeniably have gone to Team Q’aja.

This year’s Winter Olympics in Turin again saw Q’aja as the selected tailor for the provision of suits for the Great Britain squad. Few of the best athletes ever get to participate in two Olympics. But it is befitting for Tony and Jamie. Their skills in design and tailoring are emblematic of the Olympian ideal – to further personal excellence.

With London as the host city for the 2012 Olympics, the British Olympic Association, despite the benefit of home soil, could gain squad members an additional advantage. In a world where positive mental attitude means everything, a yard of Q’aja cloth on your back could just be worth one extra on the track.

The recent 2006 BAFTA Awards ceremony saw one of Q’aja’s most audacious, and controversial designs. Aptly designed for and modelled by Ashley Walters - critically acclaimed actor, rising to fame and notoriety with UK music act So Solid Crew. We are presented with a hooded dinner suit - black with red trim and accompanying colour coordinated, ‘Q’ emblazoned beanie hat. It is decadent and dashing, but simultaneously deviant. The ‘hoodie’ is commonly perceived, and justifiably, as the antithesis of style. They share a paradoxical relationship. It is akin to champagne that’s not chilled or the underarm delivery in cricket. It’s just not the done thing. But, a hood is never simply a hood when it’s Q’aja. Instead, it conjures superhero connotations, mysteriously caped in evening-wear finesse. On BAFTA night, rumours ran rife of a mysterious, well dressed figure seen perched high above London’s Leicester Square. Move over Superman! The design precedent has been set. And it is, indeed, out of this world.

Long before clothing those endeavouring towards Olympic gold or those appearing on the silver screen, Tony was gathering a reputation for providing quality tailoring to the football world. Since the advent of Sky TV’s football rights, Q’aja has forged a growing client base that could easily be a representative international eleven – management included. Led by a choice between either Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger the Q’aja All-Stars team sheet reads; Dudek, Ferdinand, Hypia, Edu, Veron, Tigana, Earle, Giggs, Campbell, Saha, Wright. What a team. And the squad is ever strengthening. So, take heed Misters Mourinho and Abramovich, there’s a new outfit in town. Both footballers and television pundits alike are turning to Q’aja for advice on styling. In turn, they create a professional, stylish and individualistic image that has become synonymous with the Q’aja trademark.

A keen interest in golf and a desire to improve upon its archaic and bland clothing led Q’aja to diversify its sporting portfolio. When PGA tour professional Darren Clarke began to appear on the golf course clad in striking colours people instantly began to take notice. Tony adds, "When I first watched golf, the players wore a lot of colour. It disappeared for a while. Now colour is back again." Thanks to Q’aja, Tiger will no longer be the only thing burning brightly on the PGA circuit. Coming in an array of vibrant colours and choice of quality fabrics; cool wool or a cashmere/cotton blend the trousers are sure to attract attention. With Q’aja, however, the improvement is not merely cosmetic. Aesthetics are a key factor in the design. The Q’aja team meticulously considers both function and form when designing golf wear in much the same way a caddie will carefully select the most appropriate iron. The charismatic Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler - Clarke’s manager, emphasises the need to boost the image of the sport, contributing that, "it’s partly because of the colourful trousers and the cigars that Darren goes down so well in America." Clarke himself is quick to add praise to the Q’aja contribution, "Tony has a passion for quality and style and I feel so good wearing the clothes he makes for me, both on and off the course." We are promised that an ‘off-the-peg’ range is scheduled for later this year. Whether it will contribute to lowering your handicap is yet to be seen, but be assured, at ‘tee-off’ you will definitely look every bit as good as Richard Green, Graham McDowell, Sam Torrance and Kenneth Ferrie.

If you were regrettably assuming Q’aja to be a privilege of those adorned with either super heroic status or sporting genius then there is good news. With feet firmly planted on terra firma, you will equally find designs for those mere mortals amongst us. Business executives, professionals and the lucid smart man around town have a shared gratification in the style and cosmopolitanism that Q’aja provides. Tony and Jamie readily admit that these customers are the backbone to their longevity. This is a reflection on both their personalities - unassuming, approachable and personable with a shared penchant for taking made to measure tailoring to the next level.

A current TV advertisement boldly declares that, ‘Men Are Back’. And if Q’aja has anything to do with it, you might just care to add that ‘They Are Here to Stay.’

-- David Bonser