BUSINESS FEATURE Ace Tailors Alterations shop an Austin presence for 50+ years W hen Vanessa Wilkerson moved to Austin from Brooklyn, New York, in
BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE
Wilkerson is part of a business with a long tradition in Austin. Ace Tailors was founded in 1967 by Ramon Galindo, who got his start making and altering custom suits for magicians, complete with special features such as hidden pockets. Today, Ace specializes
1996, she was hesitant at rst: With experience in clothing and costume design and a degree from the New York Fashion
Institute, she found a less robust fashion industry in Central Texas. But after stepping foot in longstanding tailoring shop Ace Tailors, her tune changed. “I was disappointed in Austin at the time, only because New York breathes fashion design,” Wilkerson said. “But when I came here, I fell in love with the tailors who were so skilled and ecient at what they were doing.” The techniques used by tailors at Ace were not taught in fashion school, she said. Wilkerson had learned a variety of skills such as pattern- making, draping and couture sewing in school, but not the ecient methods and “street artisan knowledge” she encountered at Ace. Wilkerson started as an
in both complex and standard alterations, tailoring everything from bridal gowns to denim to leather biker jackets. Ace also oers express alterations, turning around garments in a day or less, and sometimes take care of garments for local celebrities, including several country customer or the task at hand, Wilkerson said she and her sta keep standards high. “I always want to push. How far can I go? How well can we make this t?” she said. After 25 years at Ace Tailors, Wilkerson recording artists and longtime Ace Tailors patron Kendra Scott. Regardless of the
Vanessa Wilkerson is the co-owner and director of operations at Ace Tailors. (Photos by Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ace Tailors A Central Austin 724 A N. Lamar Blvd., Austin 512-478-9965 B Walsh Tarlton 2707 Walsh Tarlton Lane 512-329-0523 C Domain Northside 11909 Domain Drive, Ste. 154 512-345-7688 www.acetailors.com Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
SEWING FOR PUBLIC HEALTH While the coronavirus pandemic closed Ace Tailors’ doors to most customers for several months, tailors remained busy behind the scenes, partnering with UT Health Austin to produce masks for medical workers when they were in short supply. WEWERETAKING TAILORSAND ASKINGTHEMTOBE ALMOSTFACTORY SEAMSTRESSES, JUST SEWINGATAHIGHPACE TOGETTHEVOLUME OUT. ITWAS CRAZY, BUTTHEYDID IT. VANESSAWILKERSON, DIRECTOROFOPERATIONS
Gabriel Guevara, a tailor, works at a sewing machine.
WALSH TARLTON LN.
has come to respect Austinites’ fashion sensibilities, too.
entry-level tter and learned as many techniques as possible from her peers, eventually becoming a master tailor, and around 2010, the co-owner and director of operations for Ace Tailors.
“It’s not the same as New York, but they’re very high fashion. ... I love it,” she said. “They are very conscious of how a garment ts—from a golfer to an everyday person in a lawyer’s oce.”
Tailor Margarita Flores works on alterations.
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