OK. Here’s a translation test for students of English studying in central London; Japanese English language students are excluded. What is the Japanese word for a “suit”. The answer is “sebiro” and it was created in 1870 when the Japanese ambassador to London decided he would like to dress like London businessmen. He was advised to go to Savile Row near Bond Street in central London where the best suits were tailored.
When he returned to Japan many were intrigued by the ambassador’s new clothing and asked him what was he wearing. He replied “Savile Row” but with the Japanese intonation the word sounded like “sebiro” and that is how the word for suit was created!
Today a suit is worn mainly by men and women working in the most formal of industries such as banking. Probably the last burst of enthusiasm for suit-wearing came in 1969 when Tommy Nutter and Edward Sexton opened their trendy tailoring shop at 35a, Savile Row in the West End of London. The most famous of their creations include the suits worn by John Lennon, Ringo Star and Paul McCartney on the cover of the LP record “Abbey Road” and the suit worn by Mick Jagger at his wedding to Bianca. In 1988 they also made the costumes for the film “Batman” including the suit worn by Jack Nicholson.
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