The difference between stock, customisation and bespoke

First Corporate Clothing is a UK manufacturer of corporate clothing. In this article Mal Davies, managing director, explains the difference between stock clothing, customisation and bespoke.

If you are looking to create a new work uniform or purchase staff workwear for your business, you are most likely unaware of the terminology involved in the world of corporate clothing.

We have found with our 20 years of experience that the wealth of options available can be quite confusing, and we want to make sure that you are as comfortably informed as you can be when deciding how to represent your business.

Here is my simple guide to explain the difference between stock, customisation and bespoke as well as some advice to help you choose which option suits your business more.

First Corporate Clothing’s men’s lapel style waistcoat


Stock garments form a stock range that can be purchased without any commitment or minimum order – it is the core product designed by the company to be purchased by anyone.

In the corporate clothing world, it is a piece of workwear that is made by the company for anyone to purchase and use. Many businesses purchase stock garments for their uniforms without exploring other options. This can be down to convenience (readily available with a quick turnaround for orders), it can be due to cost (stock garments are the least costly out of the options available), it could be down to volume (smaller businesses may only need a limited amount of items) or it could simply be because the stock garments suit their needs.

The same waistcoat customised with a saddle stitch


A customised garment is a stock garment that you have chosen to customise. There is a variety of customisations available – you can choose from different coloured trims, or buttons, you could add saddle stitching to neckline and sleeves – essentially think of this service as adding to garments from stock!

Many businesses choose to customise their garments because it adds extra definition to the brand – if your business has a few brand colours for example, customisation can be a cost effective way of incorporating your brand colours into the chosen uniform. Customising garments adds a bit of flair or interest to the workwear.

The same waistcoat, but this time made bespoke using a contrast trim and fabric


A bespoke garment is where a garment is made specifically for the customer. This might mean one of the stock styles manufactured in a different fabric. It can even be an entirely new style made from whatever fabric you choose.
When you choose a bespoke garment, it opens up to a lot more exciting opportunities with your corporate uniform – multiple fabrics in a design, as well as more substantial trims that cannot be added post production. A bespoke uniform is a truly original and individual design for your company that gives your business a distinct identity.

The Lowry Hotel story

First Corporate Clothing recently created a bespoke uniform for the Lowry Hotel in Manchester. Here we go behind the scenes.

The brief was to create a stylish and unique uniform that captured the vibrancy of The Lowry Hotel, using key styling features that flowed throughout all roles. The uniform also had to be of a high quality, with a modern twist on the traditional to create an individual look.

The process began with CADS, to introduce concepts and colours to ultimately hone in on what The Lowry Hotel was looking to achieve. Using a mixture of bespoke print and stock fabrics, we achieved a contemporary yet classic design that captured this luxury brand.

Using its in-house design and sample room, First Corporate created samples for the decision makers to view and wear. Making small amendments to the designs along the way, the team then added extra trims to garments using bespoke teal and silver print fabric. This fabric was also used as a feature lining in the jackets to give the uniform a luxury look and feel.

The bespoke fabric theme was then utilised throughout the entire hotel, from a bespoke Merino wool overcoat for the doormen to a bespoke tunic for housekeeping.

Gold seal samples were approved and a critical path was created and quantities agreed for manufacture. All of the garments were then made in First Corporate’s factory in the UK.

Items from The Lowry Hotel’s bespoke uniform


Check Also

A wee dram and some thoughts

With the UK still on lockdown, Jas Purba, managing director of ETC Supplies, takes the …

Pinseeker on course to diversify with HP Stitch

Golf equipment specialist Pinseeker is hoping to diversify into new markets following the installation of …